Tacitus, Histories

LCL 111: 328-329

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Cornelii Taciti Historiarum

Liber III

I. Meliore fato fideque partium Flavianarum duces consilia belli tractabant. Poetovionem in hiberna tertiae decimae legionis convenerant. Illic agitavere placeretne obstrui Pannoniae Alpes, donec a tergo vires universae consurgerent, an ire comminus et certare pro Italia constantius foret. Quibus opperiri auxilia et trahere bellum videbatur, Germanicarum legionum vim famamque extollebant, et advenisse mox cum Vitellio Britannici exercitus robora: ipsis nec numerum parem pulsarum nuper legionum, et quamquam atrociter loquerentur, minorem esse apud victos animum. Sed insessis interim Alpibus venturum cum copiis Orientis Mucianum; superesse Vespasiano mare, classis, studia provinciarum, per quas velut alterius belli molem cieret. Ita salubri mora novas viris adfore, ex1 praesentibus nihil periturum.

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Book III

book iii

I. The generals of the Flavian party were planning their campaign with better fortune and greater loyalty. They had come together at Poetovio,1 the winter quarters of the Thirteenth legion. There they discussed whether they should guard the passes of the Pannonian Alps until the whole mass of their forces could be raised behind them, or whether it would not be a bolder stroke to engage the enemy at once and struggle with him for the possession of Italy. Those who favoured waiting for the auxiliaries and prolonging the war, emphasized the strength and reputation of the German legions and dwelt on the fact that the flower of the army in Britain had recently arrived with Vitellius;2 they pointed out that they had on their side an inferior number of legions, and at best legions which had lately been beaten,3 and that although the soldiers talked boldly enough, the defeated always have less courage. But while they meantime held the Alps, Mucianus, they said, would arrive with the troops from the east; Vespasian had besides full control of the sea and his fleets, and he could count on the enthusiastic support of the provinces, through whose aid he could raise the storm of almost a second war. Therefore they declared that delay would favour them, that new forces would join them, and that they would lose none of their present advantages.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tacitus-histories.1925