Copyright
Cassius Dio Cocceianus.

Dio's Rome; an historical narrative originally composed in Greek during the reigns of Septimus Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus: and now presented in English form online

. (page 7 of 24)
Online LibraryCassius Dio CocceianusDio's Rome; an historical narrative originally composed in Greek during the reigns of Septimus Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus: and now presented in English form → online text (page 7 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


troublous affairs.]

But people favored him greatly: his reputation won
in Britain, his fame derived from the war under way,
his kindheartedness and prudence, all led them to de-
sire to have him at their head. Likewise Mucianus
urged him strongly, hoping that Vespasian should get
the name of emperor and that he as a result of the
other's good nature should enjoy an equal share of
power. Vespasian's soldiers on ascertaining all these
facts surrounded his tent and hailed him as emperor.
Portents and dreams pointing him out as sovereign — 9— •
long before had also fallen to the lot of Vespasian, and
these will be recited in the story of his life. For the
time being he sent Mucianus to Italy against Vitellius,
while he hhnself, after taking a look at affairs in Syria
and entrusting to others the conduct of the war against
the Jews, proceeded to Egypt. There he collected
money, of which of course he needed a great deal, and
grain, which he desired to send in as large quantities as
possible to Borne. The soldiers in Moesia, hearing
how matters stood with him, would not wait for
Mucianus, — they had learned that he was en route, —
and chose as their general Antonius Primus,^ who had

1 M, Antonnu Primu$.

107



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

A. D. 69 Buffered sentence of exUe in Nero^s reign but had been

(a. u, 822)

restored by Galba and was commander of the legion
in Pannonia. This man held supreme authority, al-
though not chosen by the emperor nor by the senate.
So great was the soldiers' anger at Vitellius and their
zest for plunder. They were doing this for no other
purpose except to pillage Italy. And their intention
was realized.
— 10— Vitellius when he heard about it remained where
he was and went on with his luxurious living even to
the extent of arranging gladiatorial combats. In the
course of these it was proposed that Sporus portray
the role of a maiden being ravished, but he would not
endure the shame and committed suicide. Vitellius
gave the charge of the war to Alienus* and certain
others. Alienus reached Cremona and occupied the
town, but seeing that his own soldiers were out of
training as a result of their luxurious life in Bome
and impaired by lack of practice, whereas the others
were physically well exercised and stout of heart, he
was afraid. Subsequently, when friendly proposals
came to him from Primus, he called the soldiers to-
gether and by indicating the weakness of Vitellius and
the strength of Vespasian together with the character
of the two men he persuaded them to revolt. Then
they removed the images of Vitellius from their stand-
ards and took an oath that they would be governed by
Vespasian. But, after the meeting had broken up and
they had retired to their tents, they changed their

1 A. Ccpoina Al%enu$,

108



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

minds and suddenly gathering excitedly in force with a. d. 69
great outcry they again saluted Vitellius as emperor
and imprisoned Alienus for having betrayed them, and
they paid no heed to his consular office. Such are the
regular practices of civil wars.

The great confusion which under these conditions — ii —
prevailed in the camp of Vitellius was increased that
night by an eclipse of the moon« It was not so much
its being obscured (though even such phenomena cause
fear to men in excitement) as the fact that the luminary
appeared both blood-colored and black and reflected
still other terrifying shades. Not for this, however,
would the men change their attitude or yield : but when
they encountered each other they contended most vigor-
ously, although, as I said, the Vitellians were leader-
less ; for Alienus had been imprisoned at Cremona.

IF On the following day, when Primus through mes-
sengers tried to induce them to come to terms, the
soldiers of Vitellius sent a return message to him urg-
ing that he espouse the cause of Vitellius. When, more-
over, they joined battle with his soldiers they contended
most vigorously. The battle was not the result of any
concerted plan. Some few horsemen, as often happens
when two forces are encamped opposite each other,
were out foraging in front of the others and suddenly
made an attack. After that reinforcements came from
both armies to each of the two parties in whatever or-
der the troops happened to become aware of the situa-
tion, — first to one side, then to the other, now of one
kind of fighting force, now of another, infantry or

109



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

A. D. 69 cavalry: and the conflict was marked by vicissitudes

(a. u. 822)

until all had hastened to the front. Then they got into
some kind of regular formation and carried on the
struggle with some order even though leaderless.
Alienus, as you remember, had been imprisoned.

— 1«— From this point on the battle between them was a
well matched and evenly balanced affair, not only dur-
ing the day but at night as well. For the coming of
night did not separate them. They were thoroughly
angry and determined, although they were acquainted
with each other and talked back and forth. Hence not
hunger nor fatigue nor cold nor darkness nor wounds
nor deaths nor the r^nains of men that fell on this field
before [nor the memory of the disaster nor the num-
ber of those that perished to no purpose] mitigated
their fierceness. Such was the madness that possessed
both sides alike [and so eager were they, incited by the
very memories of the spot, which made one party re-
solved to conquer this time also, and the other not to
be conquered this time either. So they fought as
against foreigners instead of kindred, and as if all on
both sides were absolutely obliged either to perish at
once or thereafter to be slaves. Therefore, not even
when night came on, as I stated, would they yield; but
though tired out and for that reason often resting and
indulging in conversation together, they nevertheless

_ 13 _ continued to struggle] . As often as the moon shone out
(it was constantly being concealed by [numerous]
clouds [of all shapes that kept passing in front of it] ),
one might see them sometimes fighting, sometimes

UO



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY



A. D. 69
(a. II. 822)



standing and leaning on their spears, sometimes sitting
down. Now and then they would shout in unison on
one side the name of Vespasian and on the other that
of Vitellius, and again they would challenge each other
with abuse and praise of the two men. At intervals
one soldier would have a private chat with an oppo-
nent : — ** Comrade, fellow-citizen, what are we doingi
Why are we fightingf Come over to my side.*' ** Oh,
no, you come to my side. ' ' But what is there surprising
about this, considering that when the women of the
city in the course of the night brought food and drink
to give to the soldiers of Vitellius, the latter after eat-
ing and drinking themselves passed the supplies on to
their antagonists f One of them would call out the name
of his adversary (for they practically all knew one
another and were well acquainted) and would say:
** Comrade, take and eat this. I give you not a sword,
but bread. Take and drink : I hold toward you not a
shield but a cup. For whether you kill me or I you,
this will afford us a more comfortable leave-taking, and
will save from feebleness and weakness the hand with
which either you cut me down or I you. These are the
consecrated offerings that Vitellius and Vespasian give
us while we are yet alive, that they may sacrifice us to
the corpses of the past.'* That would be the style of
their conversation, after which they would rest a while,
eat a bit, and then renew the battle. Soon they would
stop again, and then once more join in conflict.

It went on this way the whole night through till —14—
dawn broke. At that time two men of the Vespasian

Ul



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

. ^' ^' o?ix party wrought a notable achievement. Their side was

{a. u, 822) ^ •^ *=»

being severely damaged by an engine of some sort, and
these two, seizing shields from among the spoils of the
iVitellian faction, mingled with the opposing ranks, and
made their way to the engine without its being noticed
that they did not belong to that side. Thus they man-
aged to cut the ropes of the affair, so that not another
missile could be discharged from it. As the sun was
rising the soldiers of the third legion, called the Gallic,
that wintered in Syria but was now by chance in the
party of Vespasian, suddenly according to custom
saluted the Sun God. The followers of Vitellius, sus-
pecting that Mucianus had arrived, underwent a revul-
sion of feeling, and panic-stricken at the shout took to
flight. (Another instance of how the smallest things
can produce great alarm in men who are completely
tired out.) They retired within the wall, from which
they stretched forth their hands and made supplica-
tions. As no one listened to them, they released the
consul, and, having arrayed him in his robe of office
with the fasces, then sent him as an intercessor. Thus
they obtained a truce, for Alienus because of his rank
and the way he had been treated easily persuaded
Primus to accept their submission.
— 15— When, however, the gates were opened and an
amnesty had been declared for all, suddenly soldiers
came rushing in from all directions and began plunder-
ing and setting fire to everything. This catastrophe
proved to be one of the greatest recorded. The city
was distinguished for the size and beauty of its build-

112



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

ings, and great sums of money belonging to natives and , ^ ^- JSlv

" 7 o ^ o «^ (o. i#. 822)

to strangers had been aocnmulated there. The larger
portion of the harm was done by the Vitellians, since
they knew exactly which were the houses of the richest
men and all about the entrances on the alleys. They
showed no scruples about destroying the persons in
whose behalf they had fought, but dealt blows, com-
mitted murder, and acted as if it were they who had
been wronged and had conquered. Thus, counting
those that fell in battle, five myriads perished alto-
gether.

Vitellius, on learning of the defeat, was for a time —16—
quite disturbed. Omens had contributed to make him
uneasy. He had been oflfering a certain sacrifice, and
after it was addressing the soldiers, when a lot of vul-
tures swooped down, scattered the sacred meats, and
nearly knocked him from the platform. Accordingly,
the news of the defeat troubled him still more, and he
quietly sent his brother to Tarracina, a strong city,
which the latter occupied. But when the generals of
Vespasian approached Rome he became alarmed and
took his departure. Hef did nothing and formed no plan,
but in a state of terror was carried back and forth on
the billows of chance. One moment he was for clinging
to the sovereignty and he was making definite prepara-
tions for warfare: the next he was quite willing to give
it up and was definitely getting ready to live as a pri-
vate person. At times he wore the purple chlamys and
girded on a sword : again he assumed dark colored cloth-
ing. His public addresses both in the palace and in the
VOL. 5—8 113



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

A. D. 69 Pomm were now of one tenor, now of another, first
urging battle and next terms of peace. At times he
was inclined to surrender himself for the public wel-
fare, and later he would clasp his diild in his arms, kiss
him, and hold him out to the people as if to arouse their
pity. Similarly he would dismiss the Pretorians and
then send for them again, would leave the palace to
retire to his brother's house and then return: in this
way he dulled the enthusiasm of almost everybody in-
terested in him. Seeing him dashing hither and thither
so frenziedly they ceased to carry out commands with
their usual diligence, and began to consider their own
interests as well as his. They ridiculed him a great
deal, especially when in the assemblies he proffered his
sword to the consuls and to the senators present as if
to show that by this act he had divested himself of the
imperial ofiSce. No one of the above persons dared to
take it, and the bystanders jeered.

^ X7 «. In view of these conditions, when Primus at last drew
near, the consuls. Gains Quintius Atticus and Gnseus
Caecilius Simplex, together with Sabinus (a relative of
iVespasian) and the other foremost men held a consulta-
tion, the result of which was that they set out for the
palace in company with the soldiers that favored their
cause, intending to either persuade or force Vitellius to
resign his position as emperor. They encountered,
however, the Celt» who were guarding him, and getting
decidedly the worst of the encounter they fled to the
Capitol. Arrived there they s«it for Domitian, son of
Vespasian, and his relatives, and put themselves in a

114



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

state of defence. The following day, when their ad- ^ i>- ««

(a. i». 822)

versaries assailed them, they managed for a time to
repulse them; but when the environs of the Capitol
were set on fire, its defenders were beaten back by the
flame. In this way the soldiers of Vitellius forced
their way up, slaughtered many of the resisting party,
and after plundering the whole stock of votive offerings
burned down with other structures the great temple.
Sabinus and Atticus they arrested and sent them to
Vitellius. Domitian and the junior Sabinus had made
their escape from the Capitol at the first noise of con-
flict and by concealing themselves in houses had suc-
ceeded in eluding observation.

Those soldiers of Vespasian that were led by Quintus — 18 —
Petilius Cerialis* (one of the foremost senators and a
relative of Vespasian by marriage) and by Antonius
Primus — for Mucianus had not yet overtaken them —
were by this time close at hand, and Vitellius fell into
the depths of terror. The oncoming leaders through
the medium of certain messengers and by placing their
letters in coffins with dead bodies, in baskets full of
fruit, or the reed traps of bird-catchers, learned all that
was being done in the city and formed their plans ac-
cordingly. Now, when they saw the blaze rising from
the Capitol as from a beacon, they made haste. The
first of the two to approach the city with his cavalry
was Cerialis, [and he was defeated at the very entrance
by being cut off with horsemen in a narrow spot. How-
ever, he prevented any harm being done by his oppo-

1 The epitome of Dio spells unif onnly OereaXm9*

115



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

(^'^'^\ ^^^*^' ^^^ Vitellius, hoping that his proved superior-
ity would aflford him an opportunity to make terms,
restrained his soldiers]. And having convened the
senate he sent envoys chosen from that hody together
with the vestal virgins to Cerialis as envoys.
— 19 — Since no one would listen to them and they came very
near losing their lives, the emissaries visited Primus,
who was also at last approaching; from him they se-
cured an audience, but accomplished nothing. For at
this juncture his soldiers came angrily toward him and
overcame with ease the guard at the Tiber bridge.
(When the latter took their stand upon it and disputed
their passage, the horsemen forded the stream and
fell upon them from the rear.) After this various
bodies of men made assaults at various points and com-
mitted some of the most atrocious deeds. All the be-
havior for which they censured Vitellius and his fol-
lowers, behavior which they pretended was the cause
of the war between them, thej themselves repeated,
slajdng great numbers. Many of those killed were
struck with pieces of tiling from the roof or cut down
in alleyways while jostled about by a throng of adver-
saries. Thus as many as fifty thousand human beings
were destroyed during those days of carnage.
^M— So the city was being pillaged, and the men were
some fighting, some fleeing, some actually plundering
and murdering by themselves in order that they might
be taken for the invaders and so preserve their lives.
Vitellius in dread put on a ragged, dirty, little tunic and
concealed himself in an obscure alcove where dogs were

116



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

kept, intending to run off during the night to Tarracina , ^ ^ -S^i
and join his brother. But the soldiers found him after
a short search, for he could not long be sure of remain-
ing hid, seeing that he had been emperor. They seized
him, a mass of shavings and blood — for the dogs had
done him some harm already — and stripping off his
clothes they bound his hands behind his back, put a
rope around his ne(^ and dragged from the palace the
CaBsar who had reveled there. Down the Sacred Way
they hauled the emperor who had frequently paraded
past in his chair of state. Then they conducted the
Augustus to the Forum, where he had often addressed
the people. Some buffeted him, some plucked at his
beard, all ridiculed him, all insulted him, laying es-
pecial stress in their remarks on his intemperance,
since he had an expansive paunch. When in shame at
this treatment he kept his eyes lowered, the soldiers
would prick him under the chin with their daggers,
to make him look up even against his will. A certain
Celt who saw this would not endure it, but taking pity
on him cried: ** I will help you, as well as I can
alone. ' ' Then he wounded Vitellius and killed himself.
However, Vitellius did not die of the wound but was
haled to the prison, as were also his statues, while many
amusing and many disgraceful remarks were made
about them. Finally, grieved to the heart at the way
he had been treated and what he was compelled to hear,
he was heard to exclaim : ** Yet I was once your em-
TperoT ! " At that the soldiers flew into a rage and took
him to the top of the Scalse Gemonise, where they struck

117



— «i —



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

^ ^' iiv him down. His head was cut off and carried about all

(a. u. 822T

over the city.
— «>— Subsequently his wife saw to his buriaL He had
lived fifty-four years [and eighty-nine days] and had
reigned for a year lacking ten days. His brother had
started from Tarracina to come to his assistance, but
learned while en route that he was dead. He also en-
countered a detachment of men sent against him and
made terms with them on condition that his life should
be spared. In spite of this he was murdered not long
afterward. The son of Vitellius, too, i)erished soon
after his father, notwithstanding that Vitellius had
killed no relative either of Otho or of Vespasian. After
all these various events had taken place, Mucianus
came up and administered necessary details in con-
junction with Domitian, whom he also presented to the
soldiers and had him make a speech, boy though he
was. Each of the soldiers received twenty-five denariL



118



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S

ROMAN HISTORY

66



119



Digit!



zed by Google



Yetpatian is made Emperor: it alio dengnated at fnoh by
portents (obapter 1).

The arroganoe of Muoianiis and Bomitian (cliapter 2).

BoTolt of the Germans (chapter 3).

About the taking of Jerusalem by Titns (chapters 4-7).

Vespasian levies money in Egypt (chapter 8).

He treats the Bomans considerately: driyes philosophers from
the capital (chapters 9-13).

He gathers money by the efforts of his concubine Cenis^ as
well as by his own (chapter 14).

The Temple of Peace and the Colossus are erected: Berenice
is dismissed: the Cynics are punished (chapter 16).

The pumshment of Julius Sabinus: likewise of the oonspira-
torsi Alienus and Marcellus (chapter 16).

How Vespasian met his death (chapter 17) •

The mildness of character of Titus Cesar Augustus (chapters
18, 19).

War in Britain, which is ascertained to be an island (chapter
20).

How Hount Vesuyius flamed forth: conflagration at Bome
(chapters 21-24).

Spectacles: death of Titus (chapters 26, 26).

DURATION OF TIME.

n. Vespasianus Aug. (11), Titus Cesar. (A. B. 70 = a. u.
823 = Second of Vespasian, from July 1st.)

Fl. Vespasianus Aug. (m), M. Cocceius Nenra. (A. B. 71 =
a. u. 824 = Second of Vespasian.)

Fl. Vespasianus Aug. (IV), Titus Cesar (11). (A. B. 72 =
a. u. 826 = Third of Vespasian.)

Bomitianus Cesar (11), H. Valerius Messalinuf. (A. B. 73 =
a. u. 826 = Fourth of Vespasian.)

Fl. Vespasianus Aug. (V), Titus Csesar (m). A. B. 74=
a. u. 827 = Fifth of Vespasian.)

Fl. Vespasianus Aug. (VI), Titus Cesar (IV). (A. B. 76 =
a. u. 828 = Sixth of Vespasian.)

Fl. Vespasianus (VII), Titus Cesar (V). (A. B. 76 = ay u.
828 = SeTenth of Vespasian.)



Digiti



zed by Google



7L Yeipatiaiiiu (Vm), Titiu Cmat (VI). (A. D. 77 =3
A. TL 830 = Eiglitli of VefpaiiaiL.)
L Ceioniiu Commodiu, D. Noyins Friseni. (A. D. 78 = a. a.

831 =3 Hintli of VespatiaiL)

FL Vespasianiu (IX) ^ Titut CsMar (VII). ( A. D. 79 = a. u.

832 =: First of Titus, from June 23rd.)

T. VoipasiaiLiis (VIII), SomitiaiLiis (VII). (A. D. 80 = a. u.
883=;SeooiLd of Titus.)

L. FL Silva Noniiu Bassns, Asiniiu FoUio Verraoosiu. (A. D.
81 = a, u. 834=Tlurd of Titniy to September ISth.)



Digiti



zed by Google



Digiti



zed by Google



(BOOK 66, BOISSEVAIN.)

Snch was the course of events on the heels of which ^d."70
Vespasian was declared emperor by the senate and -i®* ^- ^^^^
Titos and Domitian were given the title of Csesars.
The consular oflfice was assumed by Vespasian and
Titus while the former was in Egypt and the latter in
Palestine. Vespasian had seen portents and dreams
that long beforehand indicated that he was destined to
rule. As he was eating dinner in the country, where
most of his time was spent, a cow approached him,
knelt down, and put her head beneath his feet. An-
other time, when he was taking food, a dog threw a
human hand under the table. And a conspicuous
cypress tree, which had been uprooted and overthrown
by a violent wind, on the next day stood upright again
by its own power and continued to flourish. From a
dream he learned that when Nero Csesar should lose
a tooth, he should be emperor: and this matter of the
tooth became a reality on the following day. Nero
himself in his slumbers thought he was bringing the
chariot of Jupiter to Vespasian's house. These oc-
currences, of course, needed interpretation. But in ad-
dition a Jew named Josephus, who had previously been
disliked by him and imprisoned, gave a laugh and said :
** You may imprison me now, but a year later when
you become emperor you will release me.'*

Thus had Vespasian, like some others, been bom for —2 —

123



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

.^- ^ol^x til® position. While he was as yet absent in Egypt
Mncianns administered all the details of government
with the helg of Domitian. Mncianns feeling that he
had himself given the sovereignty to Vespasian exnlted
greatly at these facts above all, — that he was called
** brother '* by him, and that he had authority to de-
cide every question that he liked without the emperor's
express approval and could issue written orders by
merely adding his superior's name. For this purpose,
too, he wore a finger ring that had been sent him, which
was intended to impress the imperial seal upon docu-
ments requiring authorization. [Indeed, Domitian
himself gave offices and procuratorships to many per-
sons, appointing prefect after prefect and even con-
suls.] In fine, they behaved in every way so much like
absolute rulers that Vespasian once sent the following
message to Domitian : ** I thank you, my child, for let-
ting me hold office and that you have not yet de-
throned me."

UNow Mncianns gathered into the public treasury
from every possible quarter vast sums of money, show-
ing an entire readiness to relieve Vespasian of the
censure which such a proceeding caused. He was for-
ever declaring that money was the sinews of sover-
eignty ; and in accordance with this belief he was con-
stantly urging Vespasian to obtain funds from every
quarter, and for his own part he continued from the
outset to collect revenue, thus providing a large amount
of money for the empire and acquiring a large amount
himself.

124



Digiti



zed by Google



DIO'S ROMAN HISTORY

In Germany various uprisings against the Bomans — a—
took place which are not worth mentioning for my (a. i»/823)
purposes, but there was one incident that must cause
us surprise. A certain Julius Sabinus, one of the



Online LibraryCassius Dio CocceianusDio's Rome; an historical narrative originally composed in Greek during the reigns of Septimus Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus: and now presented in English form → online text (page 7 of 24)