Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Tacitus.

Such was the end of Cremona two hundred and eighty-six years after 34 its foundation.  It had been originally built in the consulship of Tiberius Sempronius and Publius Cornelius, while Hannibal was threatening to invade Italy, to serve as a bulwark against the Gauls beyond the Po,[92] and to resist any other power that might break in over the Alps.  And so it grew and flourished, aided by its large number of settlers, its conveniently situated rivers,[93] the fertility of its territory, and its connexion through alliance and intermarriage with other communities.  Foreign invasions had left it untouched only to become the victim of civil war.  Antonius, ashamed of his crime, and realizing his growing disfavour, proclaimed that no citizen of Cremona was to be kept as a prisoner of war; and, indeed, the unanimous feeling in Italy against buying such slaves had already frustrated the soldiers’ hope of profit.  So they began to kill their captives, whose relatives and friends, when this became known, covertly bought their release.  After a while, the rest of the inhabitants returned, and the squares and temples were rebuilt by the munificence of the burghers and under Vespasian’s direct patronage.

However, the soil was so foully infected by the reek of blood that 35 it was impossible for the Flavians to encamp for long on the ruins of this buried city.  They advanced along the road to the third milestone, and mustered the Vitellians, still straggling and panic-stricken, each under his own standard.  The defeated legions were then distributed through Illyricum, for the civil war was still in progress and their fidelity could not be relied on.  They then dispatched couriers to carry the news to Britain and the Spanish provinces.  To Gaul they sent an officer named Julius Calenus, to Germany Alpinius Montanus, who had commanded an auxiliary cohort.  Montanus was a Treviran and Calenus an Aeduan; both had fought for Vitellius and thus served to advertise Vespasian’s victory.  At the same time garrisons were sent to hold the passes of the Alps, for fear that Germany might rise in support of Vitellius.


     [59] See ii. 21.

     [60] i.e. the band of Otho’s old Guards whom Vitellius had
          disbanded and Vespasian re-enlisted (see ii. 67, 82).

     [61] See chap. 5.

     [62] Caecina was under arrest, Valens still on his way from
          Rome (see chaps. 14, 15).

     [63] XXI and I.

     [64] Because they had already suffered heavy losses earlier
          in the day (see chap. 18).

     [65] These shields would have Vitellius’ name on them, and
          thus conceal their identity.

     [66] Dio asserts that the moon was ’black and bloody, and
          gave off other fearsome hues’.

     [67] i.e. at the first battle of Bedriacum (see ii. 43).

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