|Do not fly Iberia
Display Latin text
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book IV Chapter 2: Lucius Vitellius killed[AD 69]
Return to index
Domitian had entered into possession of the title and residence of Caesar, but not yet applying himself to business, was playing the part of a son of the throne with debauchery and intrigue. The office of prefect of the Praetorian Guard was held by Arrius Varus, but the supreme power was in the hands of Primus Antonius, who carried off money and slaves from the establishment of the Emperor [Note 1], as if they were the spoils of Cremona. The other generals, whose moderation or insignificance had shut them out from distinction in the war, had accordingly no share in its prizes. The country, terror-stricken and ready to acquiesce in servitude, urgently demanded that Lucius Vitellius with his cohorts should be intercepted on his way from Tarracina, and that the last sparks of war should be trodden out. The cavalry were sent on to Aricia, the main body of the legions halted on this side of Bovillae. Without hesitation Vitellius surrendered himself and his cohorts to the discretion of the conqueror, and the soldiers threw down their ill-starred arms in rage quite as much as in alarm. The long train of prisoners, closely guarded by armed men, passed through the capital. Not one of them wore the look of a suppliant; sullen and savage, they were unmoved by the shouts and jests of the insulting rabble. A few, who ventured to break away, were overpowered by the force that hemmed them in; the rest were thrown into prison. Not one of them uttered an unworthy word; even in disaster the honour of the soldier was preserved. After this Lucius Vitellius was executed. Equally vicious with his brother, he had yet shewn greater vigilance during that brother's reign, and may be said, not so much to have shared his elevation, as to have been dragged down by his fall.
Note 1: Emperor = Vitellius