Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Tacitus.
raised to the supreme command of the two fleets at Ravenna and Misenum, felt aggrieved at not being immediately given the praefecture of the Guards, and sought in dastardly treachery the remedy for his unjustifiable annoyance.  It can never be known whether he influenced Caecina or whether one was as dishonest as the other.  There is seldom much to choose between rascals.  The historians[459] 101 who compiled the records of this war in the days of the Flavian dynasty were led by flattery into adducing as the causes of the rebellion patriotism and the interests of peace.  We cannot think them right.  Apart from the innate disloyalty of the rebels and the loss of character after Galba’s betrayal, they seem to have been led by jealousy and rivalry into sacrificing Vitellius himself for fear that they might lose the first place in his favour.  Thus when Caecina joined his army,[460] he used every device to undermine the staunch fidelity of the centurions and soldiers to Vitellius.  Bassus found the same task less difficult, for the fleet remembered that they had lately been in Otho’s service, and were therefore already on the brink of rebellion.


    [424] The narrative is here resumed from chap. 72.

    [425] See chap. 68.

    [426] The word ‘cockney’ may perhaps be admitted here to
          express that which is characteristic of the metropolitan
          masses.  Similarly Petronius speaks of a man as ’a fountain of
          cockney humour’ (urbanitatis vernaculae fontem).

    [427] They were cast for the part of Galba’s avengers.

    [428] Only detachments of these latter four were present, so
          they had not got their eagles.

    [429] Under the empire there were six tribunes to each legion,
          and they took command on the march and on the field, acting
          under the orders of the legatus legionis.  The ten centurions
          of the pilani or front rank each commanded his cohort.

    [430] See note 107.

    [431] The end was so near.

    [432] At Cremera, near Veii, the Fabii died like heroes, 477 B.C.,
          and on the Allia the Gauls won their victory over Rome,
          390 B.C.  The day was called Alliensis, and no work was to be
          done on it (Livy, vi. 1).

    [433] See chap. 71.  At this time the emperor had in theory
          only the right of nominating candidates for the consulships,
          but it was obviously unnecessary for him to do more.  The
          alliteration in this sentence is Tacitus’.

    [434] See iv. 4 f.

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Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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