Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

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

        The Roman mutineers return to their allegiance.


        Sextilius Felix routs Tutor near Bingen.  Cerialis defeats
        Valentinus and occupies Trier.

        The Germans surprise the Romans in Trier, but Cerialis drives
        them out and storms their camp.

        Massacre of Germans at Cologne.  Cohort of Chauci and Frisii
        entrapped and burnt.

        Leg.  XIV Gemina arrives from Britain and receives submission of
        Nervii and Tungri.

        Legs.  I Adjutrix and VI Victrix arrive from Spain.


        Civilis defeats Cerialis near Vetera, but is routed on the next
        day and retires into The Island.

        Hard fighting on the Waal.

        Germans capture Roman flotilla.

        Civilis retires northwards over the Rhine.

        Cerialis occupies The Island.

        Civilis makes overtures of peace.


The text followed is that of C.D.  Fisher (Oxford Classical Texts)
Departures from it are mentioned in the notes.



On the Flavian side the generals concerted their plans for the war 1 with greater loyalty and greater success.  They had met at Poetovio[1] at the head-quarters of the Third legion, where they debated whether they should block the passage of the Pannonian Alps and wait until their whole strength came up to reinforce them, or whether they should take a bolder line, assume the offensive, and strike for Italy.  Those who were in favour of waiting for reinforcements and prolonging the war dwelt on the strength and reputation of the German legions, and pointed out that the flower of the British army had lately arrived in Rome with Vitellius;[2] their own forces were numerically inferior and had recently suffered defeat; moreover, conquered troops, however bold their language, never show the same courage.  On the other hand, if they occupied the Alps, Mucianus would soon arrive with the forces from the East.  Besides, Vespasian still[3] commanded the sea, and could count on the support of the fleets[4] and of the provinces, where he could still raise material for a sort of second war.  A salutary delay would bring them fresh forces without in any way prejudicing their present position.

In answer to these arguments Antonius Primus,[5] who had done more 2 than any one else to stir up the war, stoutly maintained that prompt action would save them and ruin Vitellius.  ‘Their victory,’ he said, ’has not served to inspirit but to enervate them.  The men are not held in readiness in camp, but are loitering in towns all over Italy.  No one but their hosts has any call to fear them. 

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