Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

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

Accordingly, on the fourteenth of March he commended the 90 government of the country to the senate, and granted to the restored exiles all the rest of the property confiscated by Nero which had not yet been sold for the imperial treasury.[198] The gift was a just one, and made a very good impression, but as a matter of fact it was nullified by the haste with which the work of collecting the money had been conducted.[199] He then summoned a public meeting, and, after extolling the majesty of Rome and praising the wholehearted adherence of the senate and people to his cause, he used very moderate language against the Vitellian party, criticizing the legions more for folly than treason, and making no mention of Vitellius himself.  This may have been due to his own moderation, or it may be that the writer of the speech felt some qualms for his own safety, and therefore refrained from insulting Vitellius.  For it was generally believed that as in strategy he took the advice of Suetonius Paulinus and Marius Celsus, so too in political matters he employed the talents of Galerius Trachalus.[200] Some people even thought they could recognize Trachalus’ style of oratory, fluent and sonorous, well adapted to tickle the ears of the crowd:  and as he was a popular pleader his style was well known.  The crowd’s loud shouts of applause were in the best style of flattery, excessive and insincere.  Men vied with each other in their enthusiasm and prayers for his success, much as though they were sending off the dictator Caesar or the emperor Augustus.  Their motive was neither fear nor affection, but a sheer passion for servility.  One can see the same in households of slaves, where each obeys his own interest and the common welfare counts for nothing.  On his departure Otho entrusted the peace of the city and the interests of the empire to his brother Salvius Titianus.


    [185] He would lead the victim, before sacrificing it, round
          the ancient boundary of the city, and thus avert the disasters
          threatened by the alarming omens detailed in the last chapter.

    [186] Cp. chaps. 6 and 37.

    [187] i.e. of becoming eventually a legion or praetorian cohort.

    [188] Cp. note 57.

    [189] The command of a cohort in the City Garrison.

    [190] He had held this post under Nero and Galba.  His
          functions were those of steward and spy combined.

    [191] He had been a rival candidate for adoption by Galba. 
          Vitellius had him killed (ii. 63).

    [192] Aquino.

    [193] It is not known what this was.

    [194] Mainly connected with the elaborate system of espionage.

    [195] Furius Camillus Scribonianus, governor of Dalmatia,
          rebelled against Claudius, A.D. 42, and was crushed within
          five days.

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