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Quote of the day: Claudius, impatient as he was of a singl
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Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 46: Revolt of Otho. Appointments[AD 69]
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Every thing was then ordered according to the will of the soldiery. The Praetorians chose their own prefects. One was Plotius Firmus, who had once been in the ranks, had afterwards commanded the watch, and who, while Galba was yet alive, had embraced the cause of Otho. With him was associated Licinius Proculus, Otho's intimate friend, and consequently suspected of having encouraged his schemes. Flavius Sabinus they appointed prefect of the city, thus adopting Nero's choice, in whose reign he had held the same office, though many in choosing him had an eye to his brother Vespasian. A demand was then made, that the fees for furloughs usually paid to the centurions should be abolished. These the common soldiers paid as a kind of annual tribute. A fourth part of every company might be scattered on furlough, or even loiter about the camp, provided that they paid the fees to the centurions. No one cared about the amount of the tax, or the way in which it was raised. It was by robbery, plunder, or the most servile occupations that the soldiers' holiday was purchased. The man with the fullest purse was worn out with toil and cruel usage till he bought his furlough. His means exhausted by this outlay, and his energies utterly relaxed by idleness, the once rich and vigorous soldier returned to his company a poor and spiritless man. One after another was ruined by the same poverty and license, and rushed into mutiny and dissension, and finally into civil war. Otho, however, not to alienate the affections of the centurions by an act of bounty to the ranks, promised that his own purse should pay these annual sums. It was undoubtedly a salutary reform, and was afterwards under good emperors established as a permanent rule of the service. Laco, prefect of the city, who had been ostensibly banished to an island, was assassinated by an enrolled pensioner, sent on by Otho to do the deed. Martianus Icelus, being but a freedman, was publicly executed.

Event: Revolt of Otho

Omnia deinde arbitrio militum acta: praetorii praefectos sibi ipsi legere, Plotium Firmum e manipularibus quondam, tum vigilibus praepositum et incolumi adhuc Galba partis Othonis secutum; adiungitur Licinius Proculus, intima familiaritate Othonis suspectus consilia eius fovisse. urbi Flavium Sabinum praefecere, iudicium Neronis secuti, sub quo eandem curam obtinuerat, plerisque Vespasianum fratrem in eo respicientibus. flagitatum ut vacationes praestari centurionibus solitae remitterentur; namque gregarius miles ut tributum annuum pendebat. quarta pars manipuli sparsa per commeatus aut in ipsis castris vaga, dum mercedem centurioni exolveret, neque modum oneris quisquam neque genus quaestus pensi habebat: per latrocinia et raptus aut servilibus ministeriis militare otium redimebant. tum locupletissimus quisque miles labore ac saevitia fatigari donec vacationem emeret. ubi sumptibus exhaustus socordia insuper elanguerat, inops pro locuplete et iners pro strenuo in manipulum redibat, ac rursus alius atque alius, eadem egestate ac licentia corrupti, ad seditiones et discordias et ad extremum bella civilia ruebant. sed Otho ne vulgi largitione centurionum animos averteret, fiscum suum vacationes annuas exoluturum promisit, rem haud dubie utilem et a bonis postea principibus perpetuitate disciplinae firmatam. Laco praefectus, tamquam in insulam seponeretur, ab evocato, quem ad caedem eius Otho praemiserat, confossus; in Marcianum Icelum ut in libertum palam animadversum.