Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

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

Thus the provinces rang from end to end with the preparations for 84 ships, soldiers and arms.  But the heaviest burden was the raising of money.  ‘Funds,’ said Mucianus, ’are the sinews of war,’[413] and in his investigations he cared for neither justice nor equity, but solely for the amount of the sum.  Informers abounded, and pounced on every rich man as their prey.  This intolerable oppression, excused by the necessities of war, was allowed to continue even in peace.  It was not so much that Vespasian at the beginning of his reign had made up his mind to maintain unjust decisions, but fortune spoilt him; he had learnt in a bad school and made a bold use of his lessons.  Mucianus also contributed from his private means, of which he was generous, as he hoped to get a high rate of interest out of the country.  Others followed his example, but very few had his opportunity of recovering their money.

In the meantime Vespasian’s progress was accelerated by the 85 enthusiasm with which the Illyrian army[414] espoused his cause.  The Third set the example to the other legions of Moesia, the Eighth and the Seventh Claudian, both strongly attached to Otho, although they had not been present at the battle.  On their arrival at Aquileia[415] they had mobbed the couriers who brought the news of Otho’s fall, and torn to pieces the standards bearing Vitellius’ name, finally looting the camp-chest and dividing the money among themselves.  These were hostile acts.  Alarmed at what they had done they began to reflect that, while their conduct needed excuse before Vitellius, they could make a merit of it with Vespasian.  Accordingly, the three Moesian legions addressed letters to the Pannonian army,[416] inviting their co-operation, and meanwhile prepared to meet refusal with force.

Aponius Saturninus, the Governor of Moesia, took this opportunity to attempt an abominable crime.  He sent a centurion to murder Tettius Julianus,[417] who commanded the Seventh legion, alleging the interests of his party as a cloak for a personal quarrel.  Julianus heard of his danger and, taking some guides who knew the country, escaped into the wilds of Moesia and got as far as Mount Haemus.[418] After that he meddled no more in civil war.  Starting to join Vespasian, he prolonged his journey by various expedients, retarding or hastening his pace according to the nature of the news he received.

In Pannonia the Thirteenth legion and the Seventh Galbian had not 86 forgotten their feelings after the battle of Bedriacum.  They lost no time in joining Vespasian’s cause, being chiefly instigated by Antonius Primus.  This man was a criminal who had been convicted of fraud[419] during Nero’s reign.  Among the many evils of the war was his recovery of senatorial rank.  Galba gave him command of the Seventh legion, and he was believed to have written repeatedly to Otho offering his services as general to the party.  But, as Otho took no notice

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