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Notes
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Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book IV Chapter 58: The Batavian Uprise. Speech of Vocula[AD 70]
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"Never, when I [Note 1] have addressed you, have I felt more anxious for your welfare, never more indifferent about my own. Of the destruction that threatens me I can hear with cheerfulness; and amid so many evils I look forward to death as the end of my sufferings. For you I feel shame and compassion. Against you indeed no hostile ranks are gathering. That would be but the lawful course of war, and the right which an enemy may claim. But Classicus hopes to wage with your strength his war against Rome, and proudly offers to your allegiance an empire of Gaul. Though our fortune and courage have for the moment failed us, have we so utterly forgotten the old memories of those many times when the legions of Rome resolved to perish but not to be driven from their post? Often have our allies endured to see their cities destroyed, and with their wives and children to die in the flames, with only this reward in their death, the glory of untarnished loyalty. At this very moment our legions at the Castra Vetera are suffering the horrors of famine and of siege, and cannot be shaken by threats or by promises. We, besides our arms, our numbers, and the singular strength of our fortifications, have corn and supplies sufficient for a campaign however protracted. We had lately money enough even to furnish a donative; and, whether you choose to refer the bounty to Vitellius or Vespasian, it was at any rate from a Roman Emperor that you received it. If you, who have been victorious in so many campaigns, who have so often routed the enemy at Gelduba and at Castra Vetera, yet shrink from battle, this indeed is an unworthy fear. Still you have an entrenched camp; you have fortifications and the means of prolonging the war, till succouring armies pour in from the neighbouring provinces. It may be that I do not satisfy you; you may fall back on other legates or tribunes, on some centurion, even on some common soldier. Let not this monstrous news go forth to the whole world, that with you in their train Civilis and Classicus are about to invade Italy. Should the Germans and the Gaulslead you to the walls of the capital, will you lift up arms against your country? My soul shudders at the imagination of so horrible a crime. Will you mount guard for Tutor, the Trever? Shall a Batavian give the signal for battle? Will you serve as recruits in the German battalions? What will be the issue of your wickedness when the Roman legions are marshalled against you? Will you be a second time deserters, a second time traitors, and brave the anger of heaven while you waver between your old and your new allegiance? I implore and entreat thee, O Jupiter, supremely good and great, to whom through eight hundred and twenty years we have paid the honours of so many triumphs, and thou, Quirinus, father of Rome, that, if it be not your pleasure that this camp should be preserved pure and inviolate under my command, you will at least not suffer it to be polluted and defiled by a Tutor and a Classicus. Grant that the soldiers of Rome may either be innocent of crime, or at least experience a repentance speedy and without remorse."

Note 1: I = Vocula

Event: The Batavian Uprise

'Numquam apud vos verba feci aut pro vobis sollicitior aut pro me securior. nam mihi exitium parari libens audio mortemque in tot malis [hostium] ut finem miseriarum expecto: vestri me pudet miseretque, adversus quos non proelium et acies parantur; id enim fas armorum et ius hostium est: bellum cum populo Romano vestris se manibus gesturum Classicus sperat imperiumque et sacramentum Galliarum ostentat. adeo nos, si fortuna in praesens virtusque deseruit, etiam vetera exempla deficiunt, quotiens Romanae legiones perire praeoptaverint ne loco pellerentur? socii saepe nostri excindi urbis suas seque cum coniugibus ac liberis cremari pertulerunt, neque aliud pretium exitus quam fides famaque. tolerant cum maxime inopiam obsidiumque apud Vetera legiones nec terrore aut promissis demoventur: nobis super arma et viros et egregia castrorum munimenta frumentum et commeatus quamvis longo bello pares. pecunia nuper etiam donativo suffecit, quod sive a Vespasiano sive a Vitellio datum interpretari mavultis, ab imperatore certe Romano accepistis. tot bellorum victores, apud Geldubam, apud Vetera, fuso totiens hoste, si pavetis aciem, indignum id quidem, sed est vallum murique et trahendi artes, donec e proximis provinciis auxilia exercitusque concurrant. sane ego displiceam: sunt alii legati, tribuni, centurio denique aut miles. ne hoc prodigium toto terrarum orbe vulgetur, vobis satellitibus Civilem et Classicum Italiam invasuros. an, si ad moenia urbis Germani Gallique duxerint, arma patriae inferetis? horret animus tanti flagitii imagine. Tutorine Treviro agentur excubiae? signum belli Batavus dabit, et Germanorum catervas supplebitis? quis deinde sceleris exitus, cum Romanae legiones contra derexerint? transfugae e transfugis et proditores e proditoribus inter recens et vetus sacramentum invisi deis errabitis? te, Iuppiter optime maxime, quem per octingentos viginti annos tot triumphis coluimus, te, Quirine Romanae parens urbis, precor venerorque ut, si vobis non fuit cordi me duce haec castra incorrupta et intemerata servari, at certe pollui foedarique a Tutore et Classico ne sinatis, militibus Romanis aut innocentiam detis aut maturam et sine noxa paenitentiam.'