|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XIII Chapter 35: War between Armenia/Rome and Iberia/Parthia (cont.)[AD 58]
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|Corbulo however had more to struggle against in the supineness of his soldiers than in the treachery of the enemy. His legions indeed, transferred as they had been from Syria and demoralised by a long peace, endured most impatiently the duties of a Roman camp. It was well known that that army contained veterans who had never been on piquet duty or on night guard, to whom the rampart and the fosse were new and strange sights, men without helmets or breastplates, sleek money-making traders who had served all their time in towns. Corbulo having discharged all who were old or in ill-health, sought to supply their places, and levies were held in Galatia and Cappadocia, and to these were added a legion from Germany with its auxiliary cavalry and light infantry. The entire army was kept under canvas, though the winter was so severe that the ground, covered as it was with ice, did not yield a place for the tents without being dug up. Many of the men had their limbs frost-bitten through the intensity of the cold, and some perished on guard. A soldier was observed whose hands mortified as he was carrying a bundle of wood, so that sticking to their burden they dropped off from his arms, now mere stumps. The general, lightly clad, with head uncovered, was continually with his men on the march, amid their labours; he had praise for the brave, comfort for the feeble, and was a good example to all. And then as many shrank from the rigour of the climate and of the service, and deserted, he sought a remedy in strictness of discipline. Not, as in other armies, was a first or second offense condoned, but the soldier, who had quitted his colours, instantly paid the penalty with his life. This was shown by experience to be a wholesome measure, better than mercy; for there were fewer desertions in that camp than in those in which leniency was habitual.