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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 84: Revolt of Vitellius. Speech of Otho (cont.)[AD 69]
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"You indeed did this to serve me [note 1], but in the tumult, the darkness, and the general confusion, an opportunity may well occur that may be used against me. If Vitellius and his satellites were allowed to choose, what would be the temper and what the thoughts with which they would curse us? What would they wish for us but mutiny and strife, that the private should not obey the centurion, nor the centurion the tribune, that thus we should rush, horse and foot together, on our own destruction? Comrades, it is by obeying, not by questioning the orders of commanders, that military power is kept together. And that army is the most courageous in the moment of peril, which is the most orderly before the peril comes. Keep you your arms and your courage, leave it to me to plan, and to guide your valour. A few were in fault, two will be punished. Let all the rest blot out the remembrance of that night of infamy. Never let any army hear those cries against the Senate. To clamour for the destruction of what is the head of the empire, and contains all that is distinguished in the provinces, good God! it is a thing which not even those Germans, whom Vitellius at this very moment is rousing against us, would dare to do. Shall any sons of Italy, the true youth of Rome, cry out for the massacre of an order, by whose splendid distinctions we throw into the shade the mean and obscure faction of Vitellius? Vitellius is the master of a few tribes, and has some semblance of an army. We have the Senate. The country is with us; with them, the country's enemies. What! do you imagine that this fairest of cities is made up of dwellings and edifices and piles of stones? These dumb and inanimate things may be indifferently destroyed and rebuilt. The eternal duration of empire, the peace of nations, my safety and yours, rest on the security of the Senate. This order which was instituted under due auspices by the Father and Founder of the city, and which has lasted without interruption and without decay from the kings down to the Emperors, we will bequeath to our descendants, as we have inherited it from our ancestors. For you give the state its senators, and the Senate gives it its princes." |
Note 1: me = Otho
Event: Revolt of Vitellius
Horse:a. the animal. b. cavalry.
Foot:a. part of the body (3379). b. infantry (6534).
Auspicium:Type of divination