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Quote of the day: Able but contemptuously indifferent
Notes
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 70: War with the Germans. Vitellius in problems[AD 15]
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Of the legions which he had conveyed by ship, Germanicus gave the second and fourteenth to Publius Vitellius, to be marched by land, so that the fleet might sail more easily over a sea full of shoals, or take the ground more lightly at the ebb-tide. Vitellius at first pursued his route without interruption, having a dry shore, or the waves coming in gently. After a while, through the force of the north wind and the equinoctial season, when the sea swells to its highest, his army was driven and tossed hither and thither. The country too was flooded; sea, shore, fields presented one aspect, nor could the treacherous quicksands be distinguished from solid ground or shallows from deep water. Men were swept away by the waves or sucked under by eddies; beasts of burden, baggage, lifeless bodies floated about and blocked their way. The companies were mingled in confusion, now with the breast, now with the head only above water, sometimes losing their footing and parted from their comrades or drowned. The voice of mutual encouragement availed not against the adverse force of the waves. There was nothing to distinguish the brave from the coward, the prudent from the careless, forethought from chance; the same strong power swept everything before it. At last Vitellius struggled out to higher ground and led his men up to it. There they passed the night, without necessary food, without fire, many of them with bare or bruised limbs, in a plight as pitiable as that of men besieged by an enemy. For such, at least, have the opportunity of a glorious death, while here was destruction without honour. Daylight restored land to their sight, and they pushed their way to the river Visurgis , where Caesar had arrived with the fleet. The legions then embarked, while a rumour was flying about that they were drowned. Nor was there a belief in their safety till they saw Caesar and the army returned.

Event: War with the Germans

At Germanicus legionum, quas navibus vexerat, secundam et quartam decimam itinere terrestri P. Vitellio ducendas tradit, quo levior classis vadoso mari innaret vel reciproco sideret. Vitellius primum iter sicca humo aut modice adlabente aestu quietum habuit: mox inpulsu aquilonis, simul sidere aequinoctii, quo maxime tumescit Oceanus, rapi agique agmen. et opplebantur terrae: eadem freto litori campis facies, neque discemi poterant incerta ab solidis, brevia a profundis. sternuntur fluctibus, hauriuntur gurgitibus; iumenta, sarcinae, corpora exanima interfluunt, occursant. permiscentur inter se manipuli, modo pectore, modo ore tenus extantes, aliquando subtracto solo disiecti aut obruti. non vox et mutui hortatus iuvabant adversante unda; nihil strenuus ab ignavo, sapiens ab inprudenti, consilia a casu differre: cuncta pari violentia involvebantur. tandem Vitellius in editiora enisus eodem agmen subduxit. pernoctavere sine utensilibus, sine igni, magna pars nudo aut mulcato corpore, haud minus miserabiles quam quos hostis circumsidet: quippe illic etiam honestae mortis usus, his inglorium exitium. Iux reddidit terram, penetratumque ad amnem [Visurgin], quo Caesar classe contenderat. in positae dein legiones, vagante fama submersas; nec fides salutis, antequam Caesarem exercitumque reducem videre.