|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 62: Revolt of Vitellius. His character[AD 69]
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Wonderful was the contrast between the army and the Emperor. The army was all eagerness; they cried out war, while Gaul yet wavered, and Spain hesitated. "The winter," they said, "the delays of a cowardly inaction must not stop us. We must invade Italy, we must seize the capital; in civil strife, where action is more needed than deliberation, nothing is safer than haste." Vitellius, on the contrary, was sunk in sloth, and anticipated the enjoyment of supreme power in indolent luxury and prodigal festivities. By midday he was half-intoxicated, and heavy with food; yet the ardour and vigour of the soldiers themselves discharged all the duties of a general as well as if the Emperor had been present to stimulate the energetic by hope and the indolent by fear. Ready to march and eager for action, they loudly demanded the signal for starting; the title of Germanicus was at once bestowed on Vitellius, that of Caesar he refused to accept, even after his victory. It was observed as a happy omen for Fabius Valens and the forces which he was conducting to the campaign, that on the very day on which they set out an eagle moved with a gentle flight before the army as it advanced, as if to guide it on its way. And for a long distance so loudly did the soldiers shout in their joy, so calm and unterrified was the bird, that it was taken as no doubtful omen of great and successful achievements.
Event: Revolt of Vitellius