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Quote of the day: It had been the ancient policy of the fo
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Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 54: Vitellius versus Antonius Primus. Vitellius investigates[AD 69]
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Vitellius, after his power had been shattered at Cremona, endeavoured to suppress the tidings of the disaster, and by this foolish attempt at concealment he put off, not indeed his troubles, but only the application of the remedy. Had he avowed and discussed his position, he had some chance, some strength, left; whereas, on the contrary, when he pretended that all was prosperous, he aggravated his perils by falsehood. A strange silence was observed in his presence as to the war; throughout the country all discussion was prohibited, and so, many who would have told the truth had it been allowed, finding it forbidden, spread rumours exaggerating the calamity. The generals of the enemy failed not to magnify the report of their strength, for they sent back any spies of Vitellius whom they captured, after conducting them round the camp in order that they might learn the force of the victorious army. All of these persons Vitellius questioned in secret, and then ordered that they should be put to death. Singular bravery was displayed by a centurion, Julius Agrestis, who, after several interviews, in which he had in vain endeavoured to rouse Vitellius to courage, prevailed on the Emperor to send him in person to see what was the strength of the enemy's resources, and what had happened at Cremona. He did not seek to escape the notice of Antonius by making his observations in secret, but avowed the emperor's instructions and his own purpose, and asked leave to see everything. Persons were sent to shew him the field of battle, the remains of Cremona, and the captured legions. He then made his way back to Vitellius, and when the Emperor denied the truth of the intelligence which he brought, and even charged him with having been bribed, "Since," he replied, "you require some decisive proof, and I can no longer serve you in any other way either by my life or death I will give you a proof which you can believe." So he departed, and confirmed his statement by a voluntary death. Some say that he was slain by order of Vitellius, but they bear the same testimony to his loyalty and courage.

Event: Vitellius versus Antonius Primus