Tacitus, Annals

LCL 249: 282-283

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The Annals Of Tacitus

legato a centurionibus et optimo quoque manipularium parebatur. Illi obniti trahentibus, prensare circumstantium genua, ciere modo nomina singulorum, modo centuriam quisque cuius manipularis erat, cohortem, legionem, eadem omnibus inminere clamitantes. Simul probra in legatum cumulant, caelum ac deos obtestantur, nihil reliqui faciunt quo minus invidiam, misericordiam, metum et iras permoverent. Adcurritur ab universis, et carcere effracto solvunt vincula desertoresque ac rerum capitalium damnatos sibi iam miscent.

XXII. Flagrantior inde vis, plures seditioni duces. Et Vibulenus quidam, gregarius miles, ante tribunal Blaesi adlevatus circumstantium umeris, apud turbatos et quid pararet intentos: “Vos quidem” inquit “his innocentibus et miserrimis lucem et spiritum reddidistis: sed quis fratri meo vitam, quis fratrem mihi reddit? quem missum ad vos a Germanico exercitu de communibus commodis nocte proxima iugulavit per gladiatores suos, quos in exitium militum habet atque armat. Responde, Blaese, ubi cadaver abieceris1: ne hostes quidem sepultura invident. Cum osculis, cum lacrimis dolorem meum implevero, me quoque trucidari iube, dum interfectos nullum ob scelus, sed quia utilitati legionum consulebamus, hi2 sepeliant.”

XXIII. Incendebat3 haec fletu et pectus atque os


The Annals Of Tacitus

and file—Blaesus ordered a few who were especially heavy-laden with booty to be lashed and thrown into the cells. As the escort dragged them away, they began to struggle, to catch at the knees of the bystanders, to call on the names of individual friends, their particular century, their cohort, their legion, clamouring that a similar fate was imminent for all. At the same time they heaped reproaches on the general and invoked high heaven,—anything and everything that could arouse odium or sympathy, alarm or indignation. The crowd flew to the rescue, forced the guard-room, unchained the prisoners, and now took into fellowship deserters and criminals condemned for capital offences.

XXII. After this the flames burned higher; sedition found fresh leaders. A common soldier, Vibulenus by name, was hoisted on the shoulders of the bystanders in front of Blaesus’ tribunal, and there addressed the turbulent and curious crowd:—“You, I grant,” he said, “have restored light and breath to these innocent and much wronged men; but who restores the life to my brother—who my brother to me? He was sent to you by the army of Germany to debate our common interest—and yesterday night he did him to death by the hands of those gladiators whom he keeps and arms for the extermination of his soldiers.1 Answer me, Blaesus:—Whither have you flung the body? The enemy himself does not grudge a grave! Then, when I have sated my sorrow with kisses, and drowned it with tears, bid them butcher me as well: only, let our comrades here lay us in earth—for we died, not for crime, but because we sought to serve the legions.”

XXIII. He added to the inflammatory effect of

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tacitus-annals.1931