|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 55: Vitellius versus Antonius Primus. Lucius Vitellius[AD 69]
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|Vitellius, who seemed like a man roused from slumber ordered Julius Priscus and Alfenius Varus, with fourteen of the Praetorian cohorts and the entire force of cavalry, to occupy the Apennines. A legion of troops drafted from the fleet followed. So many thousand troops, comprising the picked men and horses of the army, had they been under the direction of a different general, would have been quite equal even to aggressive operations. The rest of the Praetorian cohorts were entrusted to Lucius Vitellius, brother of the Emperor, for the defence of the capital. Vitellius, while he abated nothing of his habitual indulgence, with a precipitancy prompted by alarm, anticipated the elections, at which he appointed consuls for several years. With a profuse liberality, he granted treaties to allies, and the rights of Latin citizenship to foreigners; some he relieved by the remission of tribute, others by exemptions; in a word, utterly careless of the future, he mutilated the resources of the empire. But the mob was attracted by the magnificence of his bounties. The most foolish bought these favours with money; the wise held that to be invalid, which could neither be given nor received without ruin to the State. Yielding at length to the importunity of the army, which had taken up its position at Mevania, and accompanied by a numerous train of senators, into which many were brought by ambition and more by fear, he entered the camp, undecided in purpose and at the mercy of faithless counsels.