Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae 25.3

When we departed from there, the Persians, since–frequently cast down–they feared pitched battles of infantry, thus with one ambush arranged after another, they secretly followed after, travelling on both sides to reconnoitre our companies from lofty mountains, so that the soldiery, constantly suspecting this every day would neither erect a rampart, nor secure a palisade. And as long as our flanks were firmly protected, and the army–by the allowance of the terrain–in squared formations, but it began in loose trains; that the backs were attacked from behind by stealthy advance against the arms of the assembled men, this was reported to the princeps, even then unarmed, proceeding first of all for looking out. Roused by that misfortune, forgetful of his cuirass, creeping with shield amidst the tumult, he hastened to bring aid to the rear, but he was called back by another fear, it was announced that the bands from where he had departed also endured the same. While this, without any regard for his own safety, he hurried to restore, from another side, a mass of Parthian cataphracts assailed the middle centuries, quickly poured over the wing inclined to the left, our men unwillingly enduring the shrill cry and smell of the elephants, the matter was decided with pikes and a multiplicity of missiles. Here, with the princeps flying to and fro between principle perils of battles, our soldiers sprang forth, well-prepared, and the flanks of the beasts and backs of the turned-back Persians were struck down. Since Julian was unmindful of taking precautions, showing openly, by shouting with hands raised, that he had scattered those restless men, and rousing the anger of those who followed, and he audaciously rushed out into the fight, his imperial guards, whom terror scattered,  were calling out, that he turn away from the mass of fleeing men, as from the ruinous fall of a column badly built, and unknown from where, an equestrian spear, coming unseen, grazed the skin of his arm, transfixed his ribs, and was stuck in the deepest fibre of his liver. This, when he tried to pull it away with his right hand, he felt the sinews of his fingers cut through by the sharpened iron of both sides, and fallen from his mount, and carried back to the camp by the swift gathering of those nearby, he was assisted with the ministries of medicine.

And there soon soothed of his pain for a short time, he ceased to fear, fighting against his demise with great spirit, he demanded arms and horse, so that by returning to battle he might restore the confidence of his men, and he seemed to be vehemently obliged with anxiety for the well-being of another, unconcerned for his own, with the same vigor, albeit in unlike circumstance, with which that renowned general, Epaminondas, lethally wounded at Mantinea and brought back from the from the front line, inquired with anxious concern for his shield. This, when he saw it nearby, perished more happily by the violence of his wound, and he who leaves his life undaunted, fears to cast away his shield. And when his strength was too little to suffice by will, he was vexed by the outflowing of his blood, he remained immobile, thus was his hope of living thereafter removed, since by inquiring he disclosed that the place where he would die was called Phrygia. For this, he had heard, was pre-written by an oracle, that he would meet his end.

When the princeps was brought back to his tent, it is incredible to say by what and how much ardor the soldiery so fervently flew to vengeance with anger and grief. Banging their spears on their shields, they were resolved, if chance should bear it, even to die. Howevermuch the depth of sand covered their eyes, and the growing heat thwarted the alacrity of their limbs, nevertheless like men discharged by the loss of their general, they threw themselves upon the iron, sparing nothing. The Persians, on the other hand, undaunted, by the thickness of their flying arrows, snatched sight from those opposing, slowly preceding whom, the elephants by the size of their bodies and by the horror of their crests, struck trembling into beasts and men. And thus the clash of arms and the groans of the dying, the snorts of horses, the ring of iron was heard from far off, for so long, with the parties wearied by an abundance of wounds, night broke off the contest, already gloomy.

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