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Quote of the day: The aspect of Italy would have struck hi
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Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book IV Chapter 1: Rome is plundered[AD 69]
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When Vitellius was dead, the war had indeed come to an end, but peace had yet to begin. Sword in hand, throughout the capital, the conquerors hunted down the conquered with merciless hatred. The streets were choked with carnage, the squares and temples reeked with blood, for men were massacred everywhere as chance threw them in the way. Soon, as their license increased, they began to search for and drag forth hidden foes. Whenever they saw a man tall and young they cut him down, making no distinction between soldiers and civilians. But the ferocity, which in the first impulse of hatred could be gratified only by blood, soon passed into the greed of gain. They let nothing be kept secret, nothing be closed; Vitellianists, they pretended, might be thus concealed. Here was the first step to breaking open private houses; here, if resistance were made, a pretext for slaughter. The most needy of the populace and the most worthless of the slaves did not fail to come forward and betray their wealthy masters; others were denounced by friends. Everywhere were lamentations, and wailings, and all the miseries of a captured city, till the license of the Vitellianist and Othonianist soldiery, once so odious, was remembered with regret. The leaders of the party, so energetic in kindling civil strife, were incapable of checking the abuse of victory. In stirring up tumult and strife the worst men can do the most, but peace and quiet cannot be established without virtue. Interfecto Vitellio bellum magis desierat quam pax coeperat. armati per urbem victores implacabili odio victos consectabantur: plenae caedibus viae, cruenta fora templaque, passim trucidatis, ut quemque fors obtulerat. ac mox augescente licentia scrutari ac protrahere abditos; si quem procerum habitu et iuventa conspexerant, obtruncare nullo militum aut populi discrimine. quae saevitia recentibus odiis sanguine explebatur, dein verterat in avaritiam. nihil usquam secretum aut clausum sinebant, Vitellianos occultari simulantes. initium id perfringendarum domuum, vel si resisteretur, causa caedis; nec deerat egentissimus quisque e plebe et pessimi servitiorum prodere ultro ditis dominos, alii ab amicis monstrabantur. ubique lamenta, conclamationes et fortuna captae urbis, adeo ut Othoniani Vitellianique militis invidiosa antea petulantia desideraretur. duces partium accendendo civili bello acres, temperandae victoriae impares, quippe inter turbas et discordias pessimo cuique plurima vis, pax et quies bonis artibus indigent.