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Quote of the day: When he drank his destruction at Babylon
Do not display Latin text
Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 37: Revolt of Otho. Speech of Otho[AD 69]
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"Comrades, I [note 1] cannot say in what character I have presented myself to you; I refuse to call myself a subject, now that you have named me Prince, or Prince, while another reigns. Your title also will be equally uncertain, so long as it shall be a question, whether it is the Emperor of the Roman people, or a public enemy, whom you have in your camp. Mark you, how in one breath they cry for my punishment and for your execution. So evident it is, that we can neither perish, nor be saved, except together. Perhaps, with his usual clemency, Galba has already promised that we should die, like the man, who, though no one demanded it, massacred so many thousands of perfectly guiltless soldiers. A shudder comes over my soul, whenever I call to mind that ghastly entry, Galba's solitary victory, when, before the eyes of the capital he gave orders to decimate the prisoners, the suppliants, whom he had admitted to surrender. These were the auspices with which he entered the city. What is the glory that he has brought to the throne? None but that he has murdered Obultronius Sabinus and Cornelius Marcellus in Spain, Betuus Chilo in Gaul, Fonteius Capito in Germany, Clodius Macer in Africa, Cingonius on the high road, Turpilianus in the city, Nymphidius in the camp. What province, what camp in the world, but is stained with blood and foul with crime, or, as he expresses it himself, purified and chastened? For what others call crimes he calls reforms, and, by similar misnomers, he speaks of strictness instead of barbarity, of economy instead of avarice, while the cruelties and affronts inflicted upon you he calls discipline. Seven months only have passed since Nero fell, and already Icelus has seized more than the Polycleti, the Vatinii, and the Elii amassed. Vinius would not have gone so far with his rapacity and lawlessness had he been Emperor himself; as it is, he has lorded it over us as if we had been his own subjects, has held us as cheap as if we had been another's. That one house would furnish the donative, which is never given you, but with which you are daily upbraided.

Note 1: I = Otho

Event: Revolt of Otho

"Quis ad vos processerim commilitones, dicere non possum, quia nec privatum me vocare sustineo princeps a vobis nominatus, nec principem alio imperante. vestrum quoque nomen in incerto erit donec dubitabitur imperatorem populi Romani in castris an hostem habeatis. auditisne ut poena mea et supplicium vestrum simul postulentur? adeo manifestum est neque perire nos neque salvos esse nisi una posse; et cuius lenitatis est Galba, iam fortasse promisit, ut qui nullo exposcente tot milia innocentissimorum militum trucidaverit. horror animum subit quotiens recordor feralem introitum et hanc solam Galbae victoriam, cum in oculis urbis decimari deditos iuberet, quos deprecantis in fidem acceperat. his auspiciis urbem ingressus, quam gloriam ad principatum attulit nisi occisi Obultronii Sabini et Cornelii Marcelli in Hispania, Betui Cilonis in Gallia, Fontei Capitonis in Germania, Clodii Macri in Africa, Cingonii in via, Turpiliani in urbe, Nymphidii in castris? quae usquam provincia, quae castra sunt nisi cruenta et maculata aut, ut ipse praedicat, emendata et correcta? nam quae alii scelera, hic remedia vocat, dum falsis nominibus severitatem pro saevitia, parsimoniam pro avaritia, supplicia et contumelias vestras disciplinam appellat. septem a Neronis fine menses sunt, et iam plus rapuit Icelus quam quod Polycliti et Vatinii et Aegiali perdiderunt. minore avaritia ac licentia grassatus esset T. Vinius si ipse imperasset: nunc et subiectos nos habuit tamquam suos et vilis ut alienos. una illa domus sufficit donativo quod vobis numquam datur et cotidie exprobratur."