|Do not fly Iberia
Display Latin text
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book II Chapter 87: Revolt of Vespasian. Life of Vitellius[AD 69]
Return to index
While Vespasian and the generals of his party were thus occupied in the provinces, Vitellius was daily becoming more contemptible and indolent, halting to enjoy the pleasures of every town and villa in his way, as with his cumbrous host he advanced towards the capital. He was followed by 60,000 armed soldiers demoralized by licence. Still larger was the number of camp-followers; and of all slaves, the slaves of soldiers are the most unruly. So numerous a retinue of officers and personal friends would have been difficult to keep under restraint, even if controlled by the strictest discipline. The crowd was made more unwieldy by senators and knights who came to meet him from the capital, some moved by fear, many by a spirit of adulation, others, and by degrees all, that they might not be left behind while the rest were going. From the dregs of the people there thronged buffoons, players, and charioteers, known to Vitellius from their infamous compliance with his vices; for in such disgraceful friendships he felt a strange pleasure. And now not only were the colonies and towns exhausted by having to furnish supplies, but the very cultivator of the soil and his lands, on which the harvests were now ripe, were plundered like an enemy's territory.
Event: Revolt of Vespasian