Tacitus, Histories

LCL 111: 160-161

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Cornelii Taciti Historiarum

Liber II

I. Struebat iam fortuna in diversa parte terrarum initia causasque imperio, quod varia sorte1 laetum rei publicae aut atrox, ipsis principibus prosperum vel exitio fuit. Titus Vespasianus, e Iudaea incolumi adhuc Galba missus a patre, causam profectionis officium erga principem et maturam petendis honoribus iuventam ferebat, sed vulgus fingendi avidum disperserat accitum in adoptionem. Materia sermonibus senium et orbitas principis et intemperantia civitatis, donec unus eligatur, multos destinandi. Augebat famam ipsius Titi ingenium quantaecumque fortunae capax, decor oris2 cum quadam maiestate, prosperae Vespasiani res, praesaga responsa, et inclinatis ad credendum animis loco ominum etiam fortuita.3 Ubi Corinthi, Achaiae urbe, certos nuntios accepit de interitu Galbae et aderant qui arma Vitellii bellumque adfirmarent, anxius animo paucis amicorum adhibitis cuncta utrimque perlustrat: si


Book II

Book II

I. Fortune was already, in an opposite quarter of the world, founding and making ready for a new dynasty, which from its varying destinies brought to the state joy or misery, to the emperors themselves success or doom.1 Titus Vespasianus had been dispatched by his father from Judea while Galba was still alive. The reason given out for his journey was a desire to pay his respects to the emperor, and the fact that Titus was now old enough to begin his political career.2 But the common people, who are always ready to invent, had spread the report that he had been summoned to Rome to be adopted. This gossip was based on the emperor’s age and childlessness, and was due also to the popular passion for designating many successors until one is chosen. The report gained a readier hearing from the nature of Titus himself, which was equal to the highest fortune, from his personal beauty and a certain majesty which he possessed, as well as from Vespasian’s good fortune, from prophetic oracles, and even from chance occurrences which, amid the general credulity, were regarded as omens. When Titus received certain information with regard to Galba’s death he was at Corinth, a city of Achaia, and met men there who positively declared that Vitellius had taken up arms and begun war; in his anxiety he called a few of his friends and reviewed fully the two possible courses of action: if he should go on

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tacitus-histories.1925