Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Tacitus.
if the Dacians and the Germans had broken in from opposite directions.  But here, as so often, Rome’s good fortune saved her by bringing Mucianus on the scene with the forces of the East just at the moment when we had settled matters at Cremona.  Fonteius Agrippa, who had for the last year been pro-consul in Asia, was transferred to the government of Moesia.  His forces were strengthened by a draft from the defeated Vitellian army, for in the interest of peace it seemed prudent to distribute these troops over the provinces and to keep their hands tied by a foreign war.

The other peoples soon made their voices heard.  Pontus[121] had 47 suddenly risen in a general rebellion at the instigation of a foreign menial, who was in command of what had once been the royal fleet.  He was one of Polemo’s freedmen, by name Anicetus, who had formerly been influential and resented the change which had converted the kingdom into a province of the Roman empire.  He accordingly enlisted the maritime tribes of Pontus in Vitellius’ service, attracting all the neediest ruffians with promises of plunder.  At the head of no mean force he suddenly fell upon Trapezus,[122] an ancient and famous city, founded by Greek settlers on the frontier of the Pontic kingdom.  There he cut to pieces the auxiliaries, who had once formed the king’s Body Guard, and, after receiving the Roman franchise, had adopted our ensigns and equipment, while still retaining all the inefficiency and insubordination of Greek troops.  Anicetus also set fire to the fleet[123] and thus enjoyed complete mastery of the sea, since Mucianus had moved the pick of his cruisers and all his troops to Byzantium.  The sea was overrun by natives too, who had hurriedly built themselves boats.  These, which they call ’arks’,[124] are broad-bottomed boats with low sides, built without any brass or iron rivets.  In a rough sea, as the waves rise higher and higher, the height of the sides is raised by the addition of planks which, in the end, enclose the whole boat under a sort of roof.  They are thus left to toss up and down on the waves.  They have bows at both ends and the paddles can be used on either side, since it is as easy and as safe to row in one direction as in the other.

This state of things attracting Vespasian’s attention, he was 48 obliged to send out a picked force of detachments from the legions under Virdius Geminus, a soldier of tried experience.  He attacked the enemy while they were dispersed in all directions in quest of plunder, and drove them back to their ships.  He then had some Liburnian cruisers hurriedly constructed and ran Anicetus to ground in the mouth of the river Chobus,[125] where he had taken refuge with the King of the Sedochezi tribe, whose alliance he had purchased by bribes.  At first, indeed, the king endeavoured to protect his petitioner by using threats of violence, but he soon saw that it was a choice between making war or being paid for his treachery.  The barbarian’s sense of honour was unequal to this strain.  He came to terms, surrendered Anicetus and the other fugitives, and thus put an end to ‘the slaves’ war’.

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