Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Tacitus.
He summoned an assembly and laid before it the divine commands, his own and Ptolemy’s visions, and the troubles with which they were visited.  The king found the people unfavourable.  They were jealous of Egypt and fearful of their own future.  So they surged angrily round the temple.  The story now grows stranger still.  The god himself, it says, embarked unaided on one of the ships that lay beached on the shore, and by a miracle accomplished the long sea-journey and landed at Alexandria within three days.  A temple worthy of so important a city was then built in the quarter called Rhacotis, on the site of an ancient temple of Serapis and Isis.[455] This is the most widely accepted account of the god’s origin and arrival.  Some people, I am well aware, maintain that the god was brought from the Syrian town of Seleucia during the reign of Ptolemy, the third of that name.[456] Others, again, say it was this same Ptolemy, but make the place of origin the famous town of Memphis,[457] once the bulwark of ancient Egypt.  Many take the god for Aesculapius, because he cures disease:  others for Osiris, the oldest of the local gods; some, again, for Jupiter, as being the sovereign lord of the world.  But the majority of people, either judging by what are clearly attributes of the god or by an ingenious process of conjecture, identify him with Pluto.

Domitian and Mucianus were now on their way to the Alps.[458] 85 Before reaching the mountains they received the good news of the victory over the Treviri, the truth of which was fully attested by the presence of their leader Valentinus.  His courage was in no way crushed and his face still bore witness to the proud spirit he had shown.  He was allowed a hearing, merely to see what he was made of, and condemned to death.  At his execution some one cast it in his teeth that his country was conquered, to which he replied, ’Then I am reconciled to death.’

Mucianus now gave utterance to an idea which he had long cherished, though he pretended it was a sudden inspiration.  This was that, since by Heaven’s grace the forces of the enemy had been broken, it would ill befit Domitian, now that the war was practically over, to stand in the way of the other generals to whom the credit belonged.  Were the fortunes of the empire or the safety of Gaul at stake, it would be right that a Caesar should take the field; the Canninefates and Batavi might be left to minor generals.  So Domitian was to stay at Lugdunum and there show them the power and majesty of the throne at close quarters.  By abstaining from trifling risks he would be ready to cope with any greater crisis.

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