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Quote of the day: Appius Claudius was keenly alive to the
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Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 84: Vitellius versus Antonius Primus. The last battle (cont.)[AD 69]
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The most arduous struggle was the storming of the camp, which the bravest of the enemy still held as a last hope. It was, therefore, with peculiar energy that the conquerors, among whom the veteran cohorts were especially forward, brought to bear upon it at once all the appliances which have been discovered in reducing the strongest cities, the testudo, the catapult, the earthwork, and the firebrand. They repeatedly shouted "that all the toil and danger they had endured in so many conflicts would be crowned by this achievement. The capital has been restored to the Senate and people of Rome, and their temples to the Gods; but the soldier's peculiar distinction is in the camp; this is his country, and this his home; unless this be recovered forthwith, the night must be passed under arms." On the other hand the Vitellianists, though unequal in numbers and doomed to defeat, could yet disturb the victory, delay the conclusion of peace, and pollute both hearth and altar with blood; and they clung to these last consolations of the vanquished. Many, desperately wounded, breathed their last on the towers and ramparts. When the gates were torn down, the survivors threw themselves in a body on the conquerors, and fell to a man, with their wounds in front and their faces turned towards the foe, so anxious were they even in their last hours to die with honour. When the city had been taken, Vitellius caused himself to be carried in a litter through the back of the palace to the Aventine, to his wife [Note 1] dwelling, intending, if by any concealment he could escape for that day, to make his way to his brother's [Note 2] cohorts at Tarracina. Then, with characteristic weakness, and following the instincts of fear, which, dreading everything, shrinks most from what is immediately before it, he retraced his steps to the desolate and forsaken palace, whence even the meanest slaves had fled, or where they avoided his presence. The solitude and silence of the place scared him; he tried the closed doors, he shuddered in the empty chambers, till, wearied out with his miserable wanderings, he concealed himself in an unseemly hiding-place, from which he was dragged out by the tribune Julius Placidus. His hands were bound behind his back, and he was led along with tattered robes, a revolting spectacle, amidst the invectives of many, the tears of none. The degradation of his end had extinguished all pity. One of the German soldiers met the party, and aimed a deadly blow at Vitellius, perhaps in anger, perhaps wishing to release him the sooner from insult. Possibly the blow was meant for the tribune. He struck off that officer's ear, and was immediately dispatched.

Note 1: Wife = Galeria
Note 2: brother = Lucius Vitellius

Event: Vitellius versus Antonius Primus

Plurimum molis in obpugnatione castrorum fuit, quae acerrimus quisque ut novissimam spem retinebant. eo intentius victores, praecipuo veterum cohortium studio, cuncta validissimarum urbium excidiis reperta simul admovent, testudinem tormenta aggeres facesque, quidquid tot proeliis laboris ac periculi hausissent, opere illo consummari clamitantes. urbem senatui ac populo Romano, templa dis reddita: proprium esse militis decus in castris: illam patriam, illos penatis. ni statim recipiantur, noctem in armis agendam. contra Vitelliani, quamquam numero fatoque dispares, inquietare victoriam, morari pacem, domos arasque cruore foedare suprema victis solacia amplectebantur. multi semianimes super turris et propugnacula moenium expiravere: convulsis portis reliquus globus obtulit se victoribus, et cecidere omnes contrariis vulneribus, versi in hostem: ea cura etiam morientibus decori exitus fuit. Vitellius capta urbe per aversam Palatii partem Aventinum in domum uxoris sellula defertur, ut si diem latebra vitavisset, Tarracinam ad cohortis fratremque perfugeret. dein mobilitate ingenii et, quae natura pavoris est, cum omnia metuenti praesentia maxime displicerent, in Palatium regreditur vastum desertumque, dilapsis etiam infimis servitiorum aut occursum eius declinantibus. terret solitudo et tacentes loci; temptat clausa, inhorrescit vacuis; fessusque misero errore et pudenda latebra semet occultans ab Iulio Placido tribuno cohortis protrahitur. vinctae pone tergum manus; laniata veste, foedum spectaculum, ducebatur, multis increpantibus, nullo inlacrimante: deformitas exitus misericordiam abstulerat. obvius e Germanicis militibus Vitellium infesto ictu per iram, vel quo maturius ludibrio eximeret, an tribunum adpetierit, in incerto fuit: aurem tribuni amputavit ac statim confossus est.