Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Tacitus.

It happened by chance that the news of the death of Clodius Macer 7 and of Fonteius Capito arrived in Rome simultaneously.  Macer,[16] who was undoubtedly raising a disturbance in Africa, was put to death by the imperial agent Trebonius Garutianus, acting under Galba’s orders:  Capito[17] had made a similar attempt in Germany and was killed by two officers, Cornelius Aquinus and Fabius Valens, without waiting for instructions.  While Capito had a foul reputation for extortion and loose living, some people yet believed that he had withheld his hand from treason.  His officers, they supposed, had urged him to declare war, and, when they could not persuade him, had gone on to charge him falsely with their own offence,[18] while Galba from weakness of character, or perhaps because he was afraid to inquire too far, approved what had happened for good or for ill, since it was past alteration.  At any rate both executions were unpopular.  Now that Galba was disliked, everything he did, whether right or wrong, made him more unpopular.  His freedmen were all-powerful:  money could do anything:  the slaves were thirsting for an upheaval, and with so elderly an emperor were naturally expecting to see one soon.  The evils of the new court were those of the old, and while equally oppressive were not so easily excused.  Even Galba’s age seemed comic and despicable to a populace that was used to the young Nero and compared the emperors, as such people will, in point of looks and personal attraction.


[11] i.e. the marines, whom Nero had formed into a reserve
force (Legio I Adiutrix).  They had met Galba at the Mulvian
Bridge, probably with a petition for service in the Line.

[12] Legio VII Galbiana, sent later to Pannonia.

[13] Illyricum included all the Danube provinces.

[14] The Pass of Dariel over the centre of the Caucasus.  The
Albanians lay to the east of its southern end, on the
south-west coast of the Caspian.

[15] Vindex, Pro-praetor in the Lyons division of Gaul, had
revolted against Nero early in the year 68 and offered his
support to Galba, then governor of the Tarragona division of
Spain.  He was defeated by Verginius Rufus, commanding the
forces in Upper Germany, and committed suicide.  Verginius
afterwards declared for Galba, though his troops wanted to
make him emperor.  Cp. chap. 8.

[16] Clodius Macer commanded Legio III Augusta and governed
Numidia, which Tiberius at the end of his reign had detached
from the pro-consulate of Africa.

[17] Governor of Lower Germany.  See chap. 58 and iii. 62.

[18] Cp. chap. 58.


Project Gutenberg
Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook