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Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 26: Vitellius versus Antonius Primus. Considerations[AD 69]
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When they reached Cremona a fresh work of vast difficulty presented itself. During the war with Otho the legions of Germany had formed their camp round the walls of the city, round this camp had drawn an entrenchment, and had again strengthened these defences. At this sight the victorious army hesitated, while the generals doubted what orders they should give. To attempt an assault with troops exhausted by the toil of a day and a night would be difficult, and with no proper reserves might be perilous. Should they return to Bedriacum, the fatigue of so long a march would be insupportable, and their victory would result in nothing. To entrench a camp with the enemy so close at hand would be dangerous, as by a sudden sortie they might cause confusion among them while dispersed and busied with the work. Above all, they were afraid of their soldiers, who were more patient of danger than delay. Cautious measures they disliked; their rashness inspired them with hope, and eagerness for plunder outweighed all the horrors of carnage, wounds, and bloodshed. Vt Cremonam venere, novum immensumque opus occurrit. Othoniano bello Germanicus miles moenibus Cremonensium castra sua, castris vallum circumiecerat eaque munimenta rursus auxerat. quorum aspectu haesere victores, incertis ducibus quid iuberent. incipere obpugnationem fesso per diem noctemque exercitu arduum et nullo iuxta subsidio anceps: sin Bedriacum redirent, intolerandus tam longi itineris labor, et victoria ad inritum revolvebatur: munire castra, id quoque propinquis hostibus formidolosum, ne dispersos et opus molientis subita eruptione turbarent. quae super cuncta terrebat ipsorum miles periculi quam morae patientior: quippe ingrata quae tuta, ex temeritate spes; omnisque caedes et vulnera et sanguis aviditate praedae pensabantur.