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Quote of the day: That he wondered how any general, before
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Agricola by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Chapter 41: Life in Rome[AD 82-93]
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During this time he was frequently accused before Domitian in his absence, and in his absence acquitted. The cause of his danger lay not in any crime, nor in any complaint of injury, but in a ruler who was the foe of virtue, in his own renown, and in that worst class of enemies -- the men who praise. And then followed such days for the common-wealth as would not suffer Agricola to be forgotten; days when so many of our armies were lost in Moesia, Dacia, Germany, and Pannonia, through the rashness or cowardice of our generals, when so many of our officers were besieged and captured with so many of our auxiliaries, when it was no longer the boundaries of empire and the banks of rivers which were imperilled, but the winter-quarters of our legions and the possession of our territories. And so when disaster followed upon disaster, and the entire year was marked by destruction and slaughter, the voice of the people called Agricola to the command; for they all contrasted his vigour, firmness, and experience in war, with the inertness and timidity of other generals. This talk, it is quite certain, assailed the ears of the Emperor himself, while affection and loyalty in the best of his freedmen, malice and envy in the worst, kindled the anger of a prince ever inclined to evil. And so at once, by his own excellences and by the faults of others, Agricola was hurried headlong to a perilous elevation. Crebro per eos dies apud Domitianum absens accusatus, absens absolutus est. Causa periculi non crimen ullum aut querela laesi cuiusquam, sed infensus virtutibus princeps et gloria viri ac pessimum inimicorum genus, laudantes. Et ea insecuta sunt rei publicae tempora, quae sileri Agricolam non sinerent: tot exercitus in Moesia Daciaque et Germania et Pannonia temeritate aut per ignaviam ducum amissi, tot militares viri cum tot cohortibus expugnati et capti; nec iam de limite imperii et ripa, sed de hibernis legionum et possessione dubitatum. Ita cum damna damnis continuarentur atque omnis annus funeribus et cladibus insigniretur, poscebatur ore vulgi dux Agricola, comparantibus cunctis vigorem, constantiam et expertum bellis animum cum inertia et formidine aliorum. Quibus sermonibus satis constat Domitiani quoque auris verberatas, dum optimus quisque libertorum amore et fide, pessimi malignitate et livore pronum deterioribus principem extimulabant. Sic Agricola simul suis virtutibus, simul vitiis aliorum in ipsam gloriam praeceps agebatur.