Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

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


    [212] The narrative is continued from chap. 63.

    [213] December 17-23.

    [214] Otricoli.

    [215] i.e. for the delay which gave time for the burning of
          the Capitol.  The fact that he tried to shift the
          responsibility seemed to argue an uncomfortable conscience.

    [216] i.e. through the Colline Gate.

    [217] Grotta Rosa.

    [218] A well-known member of the Stoic opposition, executed by
          Domitian’s order, A.D. 94.

    [219] The historian.  They now belonged to the emperor.

    [220] 88 and 82 B.C.

    [221] 87 B.C.

    [222] The Saturnalia.

    [223] See chap. 27, note 77.

    [224] Cp. note 205.

    [225] The words are uncertain.  There is probably a lacuna.

    [226] Cp. vol. i, note 99.

    [227] He had taken refuge with a humble friend (see chap. 74).



(January-July, A.D. 70)

The death of Vitellius ended the war without inaugurating peace. 1 The victors remained under arms, and the defeated Vitellians were hunted through the city with implacable hatred, and butchered promiscuously wherever they were found.  The streets were choked with corpses; squares and temples ran with blood.  Soon the riot knew no restraint; they began to hunt for those who were in hiding and to drag them out.  All who were tall and of youthful appearance, whether soldiers or civilians, were cut down indiscriminately.[228] While their rage was fresh they sated their savage cravings with blood; then suddenly the instinct of greed prevailed.  On the pretext of hunting for hidden enemies, they would leave no door unopened and regard no privacy.  Thus they began to rifle private houses or else made resistance an excuse for murder.  There were plenty of needy citizens, too, and of rascally slaves, who were perfectly ready to betray wealthy householders:  others were indicated by their friends.  From all sides came cries of mourning and misery.  Rome was like a captured city.  People even longed to have the insolent soldiery of Otho and Vitellius back again, much as they had been hated.  The Flavian generals, who had fanned the flame of civil war with such energy, were incapable of using their victory temperately.  In riot and disorder the worst characters take the lead; peace and quiet call for the highest qualities.

Domitian having secured the title and the official residence of a 2 Caesar,[229] did not as yet busy himself with serious matters, but in his character of emperor’s son devoted himself to dissolute intrigues.  Arrius Varus[230] took command of the Guards, but the supreme authority rested with Antonius Primus.  He removed money and slaves from the emperor’s house as though he were plundering Cremona.  The other generals, from excess of modesty or lack of spirit, shared neither the distinctions of the war nor the profits of peace.

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