|Do not fly Iberia
Display Latin text
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 10: Vitellius versus Antonius Primus. Flavianus attacked[AD 69]
Return to index
|On the subsequent arrival of two legions, the third commanded by Dillius Aponianus, the eighth by Numisius Lupus, it was resolved to make a demonstration of their strength, and to surround Verona with military lines. It so happened that the legion " Galbiana" had had their work allotted to them on that side the lines which faced the enemy, and that some of the allied cavalry appearing in the distance were taken for the enemy, and excited a groundless panic. They flew to arms, and as the rage of the soldiers at the supposed treachery fell upon Titus Ampius Flavianus, not from any proof of his guilt, but because he had been long unpopular, they clamoured for his death in a very whirlwind of passion, vociferating that he was the kinsman of Vitellius, that he had betrayed Otho, that he had embezzled the donative. He could get no opportunity of defending himself, even though he stretched out his hands in entreaty, repeatedly prostrating himself on the ground, his garments torn, his breast and features convulsed with sobs. This very conduct provoked afresh these furious men, for fear so excessive seemed to argue a consciousness of guilt. Aponius was clamoured down by the shouts of the soldiers, when he attempted to address them; every one else was repulsed with noisy cries. To Antonius alone the soldiers' ears were open; for he had eloquence, the art of soothing an angry crowd, and personal influence. As the mutiny grew fiercer, and the soldiers went on from abuse and taunts to use their hands and their weapons, he ordered that Flavianus should be put in irons. The soldiers saw what a mockery it was, and pushing aside those who were guarding the tribunal, were about to commit the most outrageous violence. Antonius threw himself in the way with his sword drawn, protesting that he would die either by the soldiers' hands or by his own; whenever he saw any one who was known to him, or who was distinguished by any military decoration, he summoned him by name to his assistance. Then he turned to the standards, and prayed to the gods of war, that they would inspire the armies of the enemy, rather than his own, with such madness and such strife. So the mutiny began to abate, and at the close of the day the men dispersed to their tents. The same night Flavianus set out, and being met by letters from Vespasian, was relieved from his perilous position.