Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

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

    [196] They would be taken out on the 1st of March to be used
          in the sacred dances of the Salii (the ’Dancing Priests’). 
          Their festival lasted the whole month, and Otho started on the

    [197] See chap. 70.

    [198] Cp. chap. 20.

[199] Nero had put the confiscated property of political exiles up to auction.  His treasury officials had been so prompt in selling it all off and getting the money in, that there was very little left for Otho to restore, since he could only give back those lots which had not been paid for.
[200] Cp. ii. 60.  Quintilian alludes several times to the extreme beauty of his voice and his commanding delivery—­better, he thinks, than that of any tragedian he had ever seen.  To read, his speeches were less effective.



Meanwhile, on the other side of Europe, Fortune was already sowing 1 the seeds of a dynasty, the varying fortunes of which were destined to bring at one time happiness to the country and success to its rulers, at another misery to the country and to the rulers destruction.[201] Before Galba’s fall Titus Vespasianus had been dispatched by his father from Judaea to Rome.[202] The ostensible reason of his journey was to show respect to the new emperor, and to solicit some post for which his years now fitted him.[203] However, the popular passion for invention suggested that he had been summoned to be adopted.  This rumour was based on the fact that Galba was old and childless:  the public never wearies of appointing successors until the choice is made.  The character of Titus gave still more colour to it.  He seemed capable of filling any position.  His appearance lacked neither charm nor dignity.  Vespasian’s successes also and the utterances of certain oracles further endorsed the rumour, to say nothing of the chance occurrences which pass for omens where the wish is father to the thought.  It was at Corinth in Achaia that Titus received the news of Galba’s murder, and was assured by people in the town that Vitellius had declared war.  In great perplexity he summoned a few of his friends and discussed all the possibilities of the situation.  If he continued his journey to Rome he would earn no gratitude for compliments addressed to another sovereign,[204] and would be held as a hostage either for Vitellius or for Otho:  on the other hand, if he returned to Judaea he would inevitably offend the victor.  However, the struggle was still undecided, and the father’s adherence to the successful party would excuse the conduct of the son.  Or if Vespasian himself assumed sovereignty, they would have to plan war and forget all about giving offence.

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