|Do not fly Iberia
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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 80: Vitellius versus Antonius Primus. Call for peace[AD 69]
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|By this success the zeal of the people was increased. The mob of the city armed itself. Some few had military shields, the greater part seized such arms as came to hand, and loudly demanded the signal of battle. Vitellius expressed his thanks to them, and bade them sally forth to defend the capital. Then the Senate was called together, and envoys were selected to meet the armies and urge them in the name of the Common-wealth to union and peace. The reception of these envoys was not everywhere the same. Those who fell in with Petilius Cerialis were exposed to extreme peril, for the troops disdained all offers of peace. The praetor Arulenus Rusticus was wounded. This deed seemed all the more atrocious, when, over and above the insult offered to the dignity of the envoy and praetor, men considered the private worth of the man. His companions were dispersed, and the lictor that stood next to him, venturing to push aside the crowd, was killed. Had they not been protected by an escort provided by the general, the dignity of the ambassador, respected even by foreign nations, would have been profaned with fatal violence by the madness of Roman citizens before the very walls of their country. The envoys who met Antonius were more favourably received, not because the troops were of quieter temper, but because the general had more authority.