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Quote of the day: Our ancestors wanted Janus Quirinus to b
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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book XII Chapter 56: A tunnel between Lake Fucinus and the Liris[AD 52]
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About the same time, the mountain between Lake Fucinus and the river Liris was bored through, and that this grand work might be seen by a multitude of visitors, preparations were made for a naval battle on the lake, just as formerly Augustus exhibited such a spectacle, in a basin he had made this side the Tiber, though with light vessels, and on a smaller scale. Claudius equipped galleys with three and four banks of oars, and nineteen thousand men; he lined the circumference of the lake with rafts, that there might be no means of escape at various points, but he still left full space for the strength of the crews, the skill of the pilots, the impact of the vessels, and the usual operations of a sea-fight. On the raft stood companies of the praetorian cohorts and cavalry, with a breastwork in front of them, from which catapults and balistas might be worked. The rest of the lake was occupied by marines on decked vessels. An immense multitude from the neighbouring towns, others from Rome itself, eager to see the sight or to show respect to the emperor, crowded the banks, the hills, and mountain tops, which thus resembled a theatre. The emperor, with Agrippina seated near him, presided; he wore a splendid military cloak, she, a mantle of cloth of gold. A battle was fought with all the courage of brave men, though it was between condemned criminals. After much bloodshed they were released from the necessity of mutual slaughter. Sub idem tempus inter lacum Fucinum amnemque Lirim perrupto monte, quo magnificentia operis a pluribus viseretur, lacu in ipso navale proelium adornatur, ut quondam Augustus structo trans Tiberim stagno, sed levibus navigiis et minore copia ediderat. Claudius triremis quadriremisque et undeviginti hominum milia armavit, cincto ratibus ambitu, ne vaga effugia forent, ac tamen spatium amplexus ad vim remigii, gubernantium artes, impetus navium et proelio solita. in ratibus praetoriarum cohortium manipuli turmaeque adstiterant, antepositis propugnaculis ex quis catapultae ballistaeque tenderentur. reliqua lacus classiarii tectis navibus obtinebant. ripas et collis montiumque edita in modum theatri multitudo innumera complevit, proximis e municipiis et alii urbe ex ipsa, visendi cupidine aut officio in principem. ipse insigni paludamento neque procul Agrippina chlamyde aurata praesedere. pugnatum quamquam inter sontis