Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Tacitus.
as the first uproar began, six Liburnian cruisers slipped away with the admiral Apollinaris on board.  The rest were either captured on the beach or overweighted and sunk by the crowds that clambered over them.  Julianus was taken to Lucius Vitellius, who had him flogged till he bled and then killed before his eyes.  Some writers have accused Lucius Vitellius’ wife, Triaria,[211] of putting on a soldier’s sword, and with insolent cruelty showing herself among the horrors of the captured town.  Lucius himself sent a laurel-wreath to his brother in token of his success, and inquired whether he wished him to return at once or to continue reducing Campania.  This delay saved not only Vespasian’s party but Rome as well.  Had he marched on the city while his men were fresh from their victory, with the flush of success added to their natural intrepidity, there would have been a tremendous struggle, which must have involved the city’s destruction.  Lucius Vitellius, too, for all his evil repute, was a man of action.  Good men owe their power to their virtues; but he was one of that worst sort whose vices are their only virtue.


    [207] See chap. 58.

    [208] An Italian goddess of freedom.  The temple is mentioned
          in Horace’s Journey to Brundisium, where Anxur = Tarracina,
          which was three miles from the temple.

    [209] Chap. 57.

    [210] He was in command of the rebels from the fleet at
          Misenum, and engaged in bringing over the country-towns (see
          chap. 57).

    [211] Cp. chaps. 63 and 64.


While things[212] went thus on Vitellius’ side, the Flavian army 78 after leaving Narnia spent the days of the Saturnalian holiday[213] quietly at Ocriculum.[214] The object of this disastrous delay was to wait for Mucianus.  Antonius has been suspected of delaying treacherously after receiving a secret communication from Vitellius, offering him as the price of treason the consulship, his young daughter, and a rich dowry.  Others hold that this story was invented to gratify Mucianus.  Many consider that the policy of all the Flavian generals was rather to threaten the city than to attack it.  They realized that Vitellius had lost the best cohorts of his Guards, and now that all his forces were cut off they expected he would abdicate.  But this prospect was spoilt first by Sabinus’ precipitation and then by his cowardice, for, after very rashly taking arms, he failed to defend against three cohorts of Guards the strongly fortified castle on the Capitol, which ought to have been impregnable even to a large army.  However, it is not easy to assign to any one man the blame which they all share.  Even Mucianus helped to delay the victors’ advance by the ambiguity of his dispatches, and Antonius was also to blame for his untimely compliance with instructions—­or

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