Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Tacitus.

They next came to Bononia, where Fabius Valens gave a gladiatorial 71 show, for which he had all the apparatus brought from Rome.  The nearer they drew to the city, the greater became the disorder of the march, which was now joined by troops of actors, eunuchs and the like, all in the true spirit of Nero’s court.  For Vitellius always had a great personal admiration for Nero.  He used to follow him about to hear him sing, not under compulsion—­many a decent man suffered that fate—­but because he was the slave of his stomach, and had sold himself to luxury.

To secure a few months of office for Valens and Caecina, the other consuls of the year[389] had their terms shortened, while Martius Macer’s claim was ignored as belonging to Otho’s party.  Valerius Marinus, who had been nominated by Galba, had his term postponed, not for any offence, but because he was a mild creature and too lazy to resent an injury.  The name of Pedanius Costa was omitted altogether.  Vitellius had never forgiven him for rising against Nero and instigating Verginius.  However, he alleged other reasons.  They all had to observe the servile custom of the time, and offer their thanks to Vitellius.

An imposture, received at first with great excitement, failed to 72 last more than a few days.  A man had appeared who gave out that he was Scribonianus Camerinus,[390] and that during Nero’s reign he had taken refuge in Histria, where the Crassi still had their old connexions and estates, and their name was much respected.  He accordingly took all the rascals he could find and cast them for parts.  The credulous mob and some of the soldiers, who were either victims of the imposture or anxious for a riot, eagerly flocked to join him.  However, he was taken before Vitellius and his identity examined.  When it was found that there was no truth in his pretensions, and that his master recognized him as a runaway called Geta, he suffered the execution of a slave.[391]

FOOTNOTES: 

    [329] i.e. the gladiators (cp. chap. 36).

    [330] Modena.

    [331] A famous orator and informer, who from small beginnings
          acquired great wealth and influence under Nero.  Best known as
          the prosecutor of Thrasea (cp. iv. 6, &c.).  He eventually
          conspired against Vespasian and was forced to commit suicide.

    [332] Bologna.

    [333] They would entitle him to the use of post-horses, &c.,
          as for public business.

    [334] April 12-19.

    [335] From this phrase it is not clear whether the actual news
          of his suicide had arrived.  It took place on April 17.

    [336] Vespasian’s brother (see i. 46).

    [337] See note 70.

    [338] Cp. i. 47.

    [339] By this time no one except the emperor was expected to
          address official letters referring to the general political
          situation to the consuls or the senate.  Valens’ action was
          therefore presumptuous (cp. iv. 4).

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