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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 55: Revolt of Vitellius. Oath of fidelity[AD 69]
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Yet it was to Galba that the legions of Lower Germany took the oath of fidelity annually administered on the first of January. It was done, however, after long delay, and then only by a few voices from the foremost ranks, while the rest preserved an absolute silence, every one waiting for some bold demonstration from his neighbour, in obedience to that innate tendency of men, which makes them quick to follow where they are slow to lead. And even in the various legions there was a difference of feeling. The soldiers of the 1st and of the 5th were so mutinous, that some of them threw stones at the images of Galba. The 15th and 16th legions ventured on nothing beyond uproar and threatening expressions. They were on the watch for something that might lead to an outbreak. In the army of Upper Germany, however, the 4th and 18th legions, which were stationed in the same winter-quarters, proceeded on this same first of January to break in pieces the images of Galba, the 4th legion being foremost, the 18th shewing some reluctance, but soon joining with the rest. Not however to seem to throw off all their reverence for the empire, they sought to dignify their oath with the now obsolete names of the Senate and people of Rome. Not a single legate or tribune exerted himself for Galba; some, as is usual in a tumult, were even conspicuously active in mutiny, though no one delivered anything like a formal harangue or spoke from a tribunal. Indeed there was as yet no one to be obliged by such services.
Event: Revolt of Vitellius