|Do not fly Iberia
Do not display Latin text
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book IV Chapter 25: The Batavian Uprise. Problems with the legions[AD 69]
Return to index
With feelings somewhat appeased, they arrived at Bonna, the winter-camp of the first legion. The troops there were even more enraged against Hordeonius, and laid on him the blame of the late disaster. They said that it was by his orders that they had offered battle to the Batavians, supposing that the legions from Mogontiacum were following them; that it was through his treachery that they had been slaughtered, no reinforcements coming up; that all these events were unknown to the other legions, and were not told to their Emperor, though the sudden outburst of treason might have been crushed by the prompt action of so many provinces. Hordeonius read to the army copies of all the letters which he had sent about Gaul, begging for reinforcements, and established as a precedent a most disgraceful practice, namely, the handing over the despatches to the standard-bearers of the legions, through whose means they were read by the soldiers sooner than by the generals. He then ordered one of the mutineers to be put in irons, more for the sake of asserting his authority than because any one man was in fault. The army was then moved from Bonna to the Colonia Agrippinensis, while auxiliaries from Gaul continued to flow in; for at first that nation zealously supported the cause of Rome. Soon indeed as the Germans increased in power, many of the states took up arms against us, moved by the hope of freedom and, could they once shake off the yoke, even by the lust of empire. The irritation of the legions still increased, nor had the imprisonment of a single soldier struck them with terror. This fellow indeed actually charged the general with complicity; he had, he said, acted as a messenger between Civilis and Flaccus, and because he might tell the truth he was now being crushed under a false charge. With wonderful firmness Vocula ascended the tribunal, and ordered the man, who had been seized by the lictors, and was loudly remonstrating, to be led off to execution. All the best men acquiesced in the order, while the ill-affected were struck with terror. Then, as all with common consent demanded that Vocula should be their general, Hordeonius handed over to him the supreme command.
Event: The Batavian Uprise
|Sic mitigatis animis Bonnam, hiberna primae legionis, ventum. infensior illic miles culpam cladis in Hordeonium vertebat: eius iussu derectam adversus Batavos aciem, tamquam a Mogontiaco legiones sequerentur; eiusdem proditione caesos, nullis supervenientibus auxiliis: ignota haec ceteris exercitibus neque imperatori suo nuntiari, cum adcursu tot provinciarum extingui repens perfidia potuerit. Hordeonius exemplaris omnium litterarum, quibus per Gallias Britanniamque et Hispanias auxilia orabat, exercitui recitavit instituitque pessimum facinus, ut epistulae aquiliferis legionum traderentur, a quis ante militi quam ducibus legebantur. tum e seditiosis unum vinciri iubet, magis usurpandi iuris, quam quia unius culpa foret. motusque Bonna exercitus in coloniam Agrippinensem, adfluentibus auxiliis Gallorum, qui primo rem Romanam enixe iuvabant: mox valescentibus Germanis pleraeque civitates adversum nos arma <sumpsere> spe libertatis et, si exuissent servitium, cupidine imperitandi. gliscebat iracundia legionum, nec terrorem unius militis vincula indiderant: quin idem ille arguebat ultro conscientiam ducis, tamquam nuntius inter Civilem Flaccumque falso crimine testis veri opprimeretur. conscendit tribunal Vocula mira constantia, prensumque militem ac vociferantem duci ad supplicium iussit: et dum mali pavent, optimus quisque iussis paruere. exim consensu ducem Voculam poscentibus, Flaccus summam rerum ei permisit.