The road that mounts the Capitoline hill in Rome today, shaking off its curves, at the top opens out on the Piazza del Campidoglio. In the center is a life-size equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. The horse strides vibrantly through the air, filled with strength; its rider bearded, prim, slightly exophthalmic seem quite out of place on its back. Events that could persuade the Romans to turn from men to giants as rulers, that could so overwhelmingly remake the role of emperor into an embodiment of Herculean powers and authority, were events of no ordinary era. Palaces sprang up in Milan, Aquileia, Nicomedia, Antioch, and half-a-dozen other centers of the later third and earlier fourth centuries. Historians must piece out a picture of the times from sources obviously and deliberately false, from panegyrics and eulogies, from the contorted elegance found even in legal documents, from euphemism, servility, bias, and a sort of affected distaste for the specific.