|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 25: Vitellius versus Antonius Primus. The battle goes on[AD 69]
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|A vague rumour thus arose, or was intentionally suggested by the general, that Mucianus had arrived, and that the two armies had exchanged salutations. The men then charged as confidently as if they had been strengthened by fresh reinforcements, while the enemy's array was now less compact; for, as there was no one to command, it was now contracted, now extended, as the courage or fear of individual soldiers might prompt. Antonius, seeing that they gave way, charged them with a heavy column; the loose ranks were at once broken, and, entangled as they were among their wagons and artillery, could not be reformed. The conquerors, in the eagerness of pursuit, dispersed themselves over the entire line of road. The slaughter that followed was made particularly memorable through the murder of a father by his son. I will record the incident with the names, on the authority of Vipstanus Messalla. Julius Mansuetus, a Spaniard, enlisting in the legion Rapax, had left at home a son of tender age. The lad grew up to manhood, and was enrolled by Galba in the 7th legion. Now chancing to meet his father, he brought him to the ground with a wound, and, as he rifled his dying foe, recognized him, and was himself recognized. Clasping the expiring man in his arms, in piteous accents he implored the spirit of his father to be propitious to him, and not to turn from him with loathing as from a parricide. "This guilt," he said, "is shared by all; how small a part of a civil war is a single soldier!" With these words he raised the body, opened a grave, and discharged the last duties for his father. This was noticed by those who were on the spot, then by many others; astonishment and indignation ran through the whole army, and they cursed this most horrible war. Yet as eagerly as ever they stripped the bodies of slaughtered kinsfolk, connexions, and brothers. They talk of an impious act having been done, and they do it themselves.