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Lives of the Caesars, II

summisso caput interdum foribus illideret vociferans: “Quintili Vare, legiones redde!” diemque cladis quotannis maestum habuerit ac lugubrem.

XXIV. In re militari et commutavit multa et instituit atque etiam ad antiquum morem nonnulla revocavit. Disciplinam severissime rexit. Ne legatorum quidem cuiquam, nisi gravate hibernisque demum mensibus, permisit uxorem intervisere. Equitem R., quod duobus filiis adulescentibus causa detrectandi sacramenti pollices amputasset, ipsum bonaque subiecit hastae; quem tamen, quod inminere emptioni publicanos videbat, liberto suo addixit, 2 ut relegatum in agros pro libero esse sineret. Decimam legionem contumacius parentem cum ignominia totam dimisit, item alias immodeste missionem postulantes citra commoda emeritorum praemiorum exauctoravit. Cohortes, si quae cessissent loco, decimatas hordeo pavit. Centuriones statione deserta, itidem ut manipulares, capitali animadversione puniit, pro cetero delictorum genere variis ignominiis adfecit, ut stare per totum diem iuberet ante praetorium, interdum tunicatos discinctosque, nonnumquam cum decempedis vel etiam caespitem portantes.

XXV. Neque post bella civilia aut in contione aut per edictum ullos militum commilitones appellabat, sed milites, ac ne a filiis quidem aut privignis suis imperio praeditis aliter appellari passus est, ambitiosius id existi­mans,

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The Deified Augustus

his head against a door, crying: “Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!” And he observed the day of the disaster each year as one of sorrow and mourning.

XXIV. He made many changes and innovations in the army, besides reviving some usages of former times. He exacted the strictest discipline. It was with great reluctance that he allowed even his generals to visit their wives, and then only in the winter season. He sold a Roman knight and his property at public auction, because he had cut off the thumbs of two young sons, to make them unfit for military service; but when he saw that some tax-gatherers were intent upon buying him, he knocked him down to a freeman of his own, with the understanding that he should be banished to the country districts, but allowed to live in freedom. He dismissed the entire tenth legion in disgrace, because they were insubordinate, and others, too, that demanded their discharge in an insolent fashion, he disbanded without the rewards which would have been due for faithful service. If any cohorts gave way in battle, he decimated them,35 and fed the rest on barley.36 When centurions left their posts, he punished them with death, just as he did the rank and file; for faults of other kinds he imposed various ignominious penalties, such as ordering them to stand all day long before the general’s tent, sometimes in their tunics without their sword-belts, or again holding ten-foot poles or even a clod of earth.37

XXV. After the civil wars he never called any of the troops “comrades,” either in the assembly or in an edict, but always “soldiers”;38 and he would not allow them to be addressed otherwise, even by those of his sons or stepsons who held military commands, thinking the former term too flattering for the requirements of discipline, the peaceful

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.suetonius-lives_caesars_book_ii_deified_augustus.1914