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Quote of the day: The Britons themselves bear cheerfully t
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Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book IV Chapter 46: Nearly a mutiny[AD 70]
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Amidst all this a mutiny in the army all but broke out. The troops who, having been disbanded by Vitellius, had flocked to support Vespasian, asked leave to serve again in the Praetorian Guard, and the soldiers who had been selected from the legions with the same prospect now clamoured for their promised pay. Even the Vitellianists could not be got rid of without much bloodshed. But the money required for retaining in the service so vast a body of men was immensely large. Mucianus entered the camp to examine more accurately the individual claims. The victorious army, wearing their proper decorations and arms, he drew up with moderate intervals of space between the divisions; then the Vitellianists, whose capitulation at Bovillae I have already related, and the other troops of the party, who had been collected from the capital and its neighbourhood, were brought forth almost naked. Mucianus ordered these men to be drawn up apart, making the British, the German, and any other troops that there were belonging to other armies, take up separate positions. The very first view of their situation paralysed them. They saw opposed to them what seemed a hostile array, threatening them with javelin and sword. They saw themselves hemmed in, without arms, filthy and squalid. And when they began to be separated, some to be marched to one spot, and some to another, a thrill of terror ran through them all. Among the troops from Germany the panic was particularly great; for they believed that this separation marked them out for slaughter. They embraced their fellow soldiers, clung to their necks, begged for parting kisses, and entreated that they might not be deserted, or doomed in a common cause to suffer a different lot. They invoked now Mucianus, now the absent Emperor, and, as a last resource, heaven and the Gods, till Mucianus came forward, and calling them "soldiers bound by the same oath and servants of the same Emperor," stopped the groundless panic. And indeed the victorious army seconded the tears of the vanquished with their approving shouts. This terminated the proceedings for that day. But when Domitian harangued them a few days afterwards, they received him with increased confidence. The land that was offered them they contemptuously rejected, and begged for regular service and pay. Theirs were prayers indeed, but such as it was impossible to reject. They were therefore received into the Praetorian camp. Then such as had reached the prescribed age, or had served the proper number of campaigns, received an honourable discharge; others were dismissed for misconduct; but this was done by degrees and in detail, always the safest mode of reducing the united strength of a multitude. Inter quae militaris seditio prope exarsit. praetorianam militiam repetebant a Vitellio dimissi, pro Vespasiano congregati; et lectus in eandem spem e legionibus miles promissa stipendia flagitabat. ne Vitelliani quidem sine multa caede pelli poterant: sed immensa pecunia tanta vis hominum retinenda erat. ingressus castra Mucianus, quo rectius stipendia singulorum spectaret, suis cum insignibus armisque victores constituit, modicis inter se spatiis discretos. tum Vitelliani, quos apud Bovillas in deditionem acceptos memoravimus, ceterique per urbem et urbi vicina conquisiti producuntur prope intecto corpore. eos Mucianus diduci et Germanicum Britannicumque militem, ac si qui aliorum exercituum, separatim adsistere iubet. illos primus statim aspectus obstupefecerat, cum ex diverso velut aciem telis et armis trucem, semet clausos nudosque et inluvie deformis aspicerent: ut vero huc illuc distrahi coepere, metus per omnis et praecipua Germanici militis formido, tamquam ea separatione ad caedem destinaretur. prensare commanipularium pectora, cervicibus innecti, suprema oscula petere, ne desererentur soli neu pari causa disparem fortunam paterentur; modo Mucianum, modo absentem principem, postremum caelum ac deos obtestari, donec Mucianus cunctos eiusdem sacramenti, eiusdem imperatoris milites appellans, falso timori obviam iret; namque et victor exercitus clamore lacrimas eorum iuvabat. isque finis illa die. paucis post diebus adloquentem Domitianum firmati iam excepere: spernunt oblatos agros, militiam et stipendia orant. preces erant, sed quibus contra dici non posset; igitur in praetorium accepti. dein quibus aetas et iusta stipendia, dimissi cum honore, alii ob culpam, sed carptim ac singuli, quo tutissimo remedio consensus multitudinis extenuatur.