Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

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


[79] Cn.  Pompeius Magnus was Claudius’ son-in-law, and
executed by him ‘on a vague charge’.  M. Licinius Crassus Frugi
was accused of treason to Nero by Aquilius Regulus, an
informer, whom one of Pliny’s friends calls ’the vilest of
bipeds’.  Regulus’ brother was Vipstanus Messala.  Cp. iv. 42.

[80] Scribonianus.  Cp. chap. 15

[81] Under the second triumvirate.

[82] He was governor of Pannonia under Caligula.

[83] Sabinus and his wife were prosecuted, and both committed

[84] Under Nero, says Tacitus in his Life of Agricola, ’the
wisest man was he who did least.’

[85] He had governed the upper province of Germany under
Caligula; Africa under Claudius; the Tarragona division of
Spain under Nero.  In Germany he defeated the Chatti A.D. 41.


The city was in a panic.  The alarm aroused by the recent atrocious 50 crime and by Otho’s well-known proclivities was further increased by the fresh news about Vitellius.[86] This news had been suppressed before Galba’s murder, and it was believed that only the army of Upper Germany had revolted.  Now when they saw that the two men in the world who were most notorious for immorality, indolence, and extravagance had been, as it were, appointed by Providence to ruin the empire, not only the senators and knights who had some stake and interest in the country, but the masses as well, openly deplored their fate.  Their talk was no longer of the horrors of the recent bloody peace:  they reverted to the records of the civil wars, the taking and retaking of Rome by her own troops, the devastation of Italy, the pillage of the provinces, the battles of Pharsalia, Philippi, Perusia, and Mutina,[87] those bywords of national disaster.  ’The world was turned upside down,’ they mused, ’even when good men fought for the throne:  yet the Roman Empire survived the victories of Julius Caesar and of Augustus, as the Republic would have survived had Pompey and Brutus been victorious.  But now—­are we to go and pray for Otho or for Vitellius?  To pray for either would be impious.  It would be wicked to offer vows for the success of either in a war of which we can only be sure that the winner will prove the worse.’  Some cherished hopes of Vespasian and the armies of the East:  he was preferable to either of the others; still they shuddered at the thought of a fresh war and fresh bloodshed.  Besides, Vespasian’s reputation was doubtful.  He was the first emperor who ever changed for the better.

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