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Quote of the day: It is a disagreeable task in the case of
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Historiae by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 52: Revolt of Vitellius. Preparations[AD 68-9]
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Just before December 1 in the preceding year, Aulus Vitellius had visited Lower Germany, and had carefully inspected the winter-quarters of the legions. Many had their rank restored to them, sentences of degradation were cancelled, and marks of disgrace partially removed. In most cases he did but court popularity, in some he exercised a sound discretion, making a salutary change from the meanness and rapacity which Fonteius Capito had shown in bestowing and withdrawing promotion. But he seemed a greater personage than a simple consular legate, and all his acts were invested with an unusual importance. Though sterner judges pronounced Vitellius to be a man of low tastes, those who were partial to him attributed to geniality and good nature the immoderate and indiscriminate prodigality, with which he gave away what was his own, and squandered what did not belong to him. Besides this, men themselves eager for power were ready to represent his very vices as virtues. As there were in both armies many of obedient and quiet habits, so there were many who were as unprincipled as they were energetic; but distinguished above all for boundless ambition and singular daring were the legates of the legions, Fabius Valens and Alienus Caecina. One of these men, Valens, had taken offence against Galba, under the notion that he had not shewn proper gratitude for his services in discovering to him the hesitation of Verginius and crushing the plans of Capito. He now began to urge Vitellius to action. He enlarged on the zeal of the soldiery. "You have," he said, "everywhere a great reputation; you will find nothing to stop you in Hordeonius Flaccus; Britain will be with you; the German auxiliaries will follow your standard. All the provinces waver in their allegiance. The empire is held on the precarious tenure of an aged life, and must shortly pass into other hands. You have only to open your arms, and to meet the advances of fortune. It was well for Verginius to hesitate, the scion of a mere Equestrian family, and son of a father unknown to fame: he would have been unequal to empire, had he accepted it, and yet been safe though he refused it. But from the honours of a father who was thrice consul, was censor and colleague of Caesar, Vitellius has long since derived an imperial rank, while he has lost the security that belongs to a subject."

Event: Revolt of Vitellius