Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

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

Strange was the contrast between Vitellius and his army.  The 62 soldiers were all eagerness, clamouring for battle at once, while Gaul was still frightened and Spain still undecided.  Winter was no obstacle to them; peace and delay were for cowards:  they must invade Italy and seize Rome:  haste was the safest course in civil war, where action is better than deliberation.  Vitellius was dully apathetic, anticipating his high station by indulging in idle luxury and lavish entertainments.  At midday he would be drunk and drowsy with over-eating.  However, such was the zeal of the soldiers that they even did the general’s duties, and behaved exactly as if he had been present to encourage the alert and threaten the laggards.  They promptly fell in and began to clamour for the signal to start.  The title of Germanicus was then and there conferred on Vitellius:  Caesar he would never be called, even after his victory.


     [86] Cp. chap. 14.

     [87] At Pharsalia Caesar defeated Pompey, 48 B.C.; at Mutina
          the consul Hirtius defeated Antony, 43 B.C.; at Philippi
          Octavian defeated Brutus and Cassius, 42 B.C.; at Perusia
          Octavian defeated Antony’s brother Lucius, 40 B.C.

     [88] See note 15.

     [89] Between the provinces of Upper and Lower Germany.

     [90] In the Gallic tongue this signified ‘pot-belly’.

     [91] The Sequani had their capital at Vesontio (Besancon), the
          Aedui at Augustodunum (Autun).

     [92] Cp. chap. 8.  The land was that taken from the Treviri
          (chap. 53).

     [93] Lyons.

     [94] A.D. 68.

     [95] According to Suetonius he used to kiss the soldiers he
          met in the road; make friends with ostlers and travellers at
          wayside inns; and go about in the morning asking everybody
          ‘Have you had breakfast yet?’ demonstrating by his hiccoughs
          that he had done so himself.

     [96] Cp. chap. 7.  Caecina was in Upper Germany, Valens in Lower.

     [97] Cp. chap. 8.

     [98] He commanded the army of the Upper Province (chap. 9).

     [99] He was Claudius’ colleague twice in the consulship, and
          once in the censorship.

    [100] Andalusia and Granada.

    [101] The Treviri have given their name to Trier (Treves), the
          Lingones to Langres.

    [102] i.e. two right hands locked in friendship.

    [103] At Bonn and at Vetera.

    [104] At Vetera and at Neuss.

    [105] At Mainz.

    [106] The Ubii had been allowed by Agrippa to move their chief
          town from the right to the left bank of the Rhine.  Ten or
          twelve years later (A.D. 50) a colony of Roman veterans was
          planted there and called Colonia Claudia Augusta
, because Agrippina, the mother of Nero, had
          been born there.

Project Gutenberg
Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook