Tacitus, Annals

LCL 249: 280-281

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The Annals Of Tacitus

fungeretur peteretque militibus missionem ab sedecim annis; cetera mandaturos, ubi prima provenissent. Profecto iuvene, modicum otium: sed superbire miles, quod filius legati orator publicae causae satis ostenderet necessitate expressa quae per modestiam non obtinuissent.

XX. Interea manipuli, ante coeptam seditionem Nauportum missi ob itinera et pontes et alios usus, postquam turbatum in castris accepere, vexilla convellunt direptisque proximis vicis ipsoque Nauporto, quod municipii instar erat, retinentis centuriones inrisu et contumeliis, postremo verberibus insectantur, praecipua in Aufidienum Rufum praefectum castrorum ira, quem dereptum vehiculo sarcinis gravant aguntque primo in agmine, per ludibrium rogitantes an tam immensa onera, tam longa itinera libenter ferret. Quippe Rufus diu manipularis, dein centurio, mox castris praefectus, antiquam duramque militiam revocabat, vetus1 operis ac laboris, et eo inmitior quia toleraverat.

XXI. Horum adventu redintegratur seditio et vagi circumiecta populabantur. Blaesus paucos, maxime praeda onustos, ad terrorem ceterorum adfici verberibus, claudi carcere iubet; nam etiam tum

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The Annals Of Tacitus

undertake the mission and ask for the discharge of all soldiers of sixteen years’ service and upwards: they would give him their other instructions when the first had borne fruit. The young man’s departure brought comparative quiet. The troops, however, were elated, as the sight of their general’s son pleading the common cause showed plainly enough that force had extracted what would never have been yielded to orderly methods.

XX. Meanwhile there were the companies dispatched to Nauportus1 before the beginning of the mutiny. They had been detailed for the repair of roads and bridges, and on other service, but the moment news came of the disturbance in camp, they tore down their ensigns and looted both the neighbouring villages and Nauportus itself, which was large enough to claim the standing of a town. The centurions resisted, only to be assailed with jeers and insults, and finally blows; the chief object of anger being the camp-marshal, Aufidienus Rufus; who, dragged from his car, loaded with baggage, and driven at the head of the column, was plied with sarcastic inquiries whether he found it pleasant to support these huge burdens, these weary marches. For Rufus, long a private, then a centurion, and latterly a camp-marshal,2 was seeking to reintroduce the iron discipline of the past, habituated as he was to work and toil, and all the more pitiless because he had endured.

XXI. The arrival of this horde gave the mutiny a fresh lease of life, and the outlying districts began to be overrun by wandering marauders. To cow the rest—for the general was still obeyed by the centurions and the respectable members of the rank

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tacitus-annals.1931