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Vespasian, Chapter 7: Revolt of Vespasian (cont.)[AD 69]
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Therefore beginning a civil war and sending ahead generals with troops to Italia, he crossed meanwhile to Alexandria, to take possession of the key to Egypt. [The strategic importance of Egypt is shown by Tac. Ann. 2.59; cf. Jul. xxxv.1 (at the end); Aug. xviii.2]. There he dismissed all his attendants and entered the Temple of Serapis alone, to consult the auspices as to the duration of his power. And when after many propitiary offerings to the god he at length turned about, it seemed to him that his freedman Basilides [The freedman's name, connected with the Greek "Basileus", or King", was an additional omen] offered him sacred boughs, garlands and loaves, as is the custom there; and yet he knew well that no one had let him in, and that for some time he had been hardly able to walk by reason of rheumatism, and was besides far away. And immediately letters came with the news that Vitellius had been routed at Cremona and the emperor himself slain at Rome. Vespasian as yet lacked prestige and a certain divinity, so to speak, since he was an unexpected and still new-made emperor; but these also were given him. A man of the people who was blind, and another who was lame, came to him together as he sat on the tribunal, begging for the help for their disorders which Serapis had promised in a dream; for the god declared that Vespasian would restore the eyes, if he would spit upon them, and give strength to the leg, if he would deign to touch it with his heel. Though he had hardly any faith that this could possibly succeed, and therefore shrank even from making the attempt, he was at last prevailed upon by his friends and tried both things in public before a large crowd; and with success. At this same time, by the direction of certain soothsayers, some vases of antique workmanship were dug up in a consecrated spot at Tegea in Arcadia and on them was an image very like Vespasian.
Event: Revolt of Vespasian