Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

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

It was in the country of the Leuci[126] that Valens heard the news 64 of Galba’s murder and Otho’s elevation.  The soldiers showed no emotion, neither joy nor fear:  their thoughts were all for war.  The Gauls’ doubts were now decided.  They hated Otho and Vitellius equally, but Vitellius they also feared.  They next reached the Lingones, faithful adherents of their party.  There the courtesy of the citizens was only equalled by the good behaviour of the troops.  But this did not last for long, thanks to the disorderly conduct of the Batavian auxiliaries, who, as narrated above,[127] had detached themselves from the Fourteenth legion and been drafted into Valens’ column.  A quarrel between some Batavians and legionaries led to blows:  the other soldiers quickly took sides, and a fierce battle would have ensued, had not Valens punished a few of the Batavians to remind them of the discipline they seemed to have forgotten.

Coming to the Aedui,[128] they in vain sought an excuse for fighting.  For when the natives were ordered to contribute money and arms, they brought a gratuitous present of provisions as well.  Lugdunum did gladly what the Aedui had done from fear.  But the town was deprived of the Italian legion and Taurus’ Horse.[129] Valens decided to leave the Eighteenth cohort[130] there in its old winter quarters as a garrison.  Manlius Valens, who was in command of the Italian legion, never received any distinction from Vitellius, although he deserved well of the party, the reason being that Fabius slandered him behind his back, while to avert his suspicions he praised him to his face.

The recent war[131] had served to inflame the long-standing 65 quarrel between Lugdunum and Vienne.[132] Much damage was done on both sides, and the frequency and animosity of their conflicts proved that they were not merely fighting for Nero and Galba.  Galba had made his displeasure an excuse for confiscating to the Treasury the revenues of Lugdunum, while on Vienne he had conferred various distinctions.  The result was a bitter rivalry between the towns, and the Rhone between them only formed a bond of hatred.  Consequently the inhabitants of Lugdunum began to work on the feelings of individual Roman soldiers, and to urge them to crush Vienne.  They reminded them how the Viennese had laid siege to Lugdunum, a Roman colony, had assisted the efforts of Vindex, and had lately raised troops to defend Galba.  Having supplied a pretext for bad feeling, they went on to point out the rich opportunity for plunder.  Not content with private persuasion, they presented a formal petition that the army would march to avenge them, and destroy the head-quarters of the Gallic war.  Vienne, they urged, was thoroughly un-Roman and hostile, while Lugdunum was a Roman colony,[133] contributing men to the army and sharing in its victories and reverses.  They besought them in the event of adverse fortune not to leave their city to the fury of its enemies.

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