Cornelii Taciti Historiarum

religio adnuere et prioris templi magnificentiae defuisse credebatur.1

LIV. Audita interim per Gallias Germaniasque mors Vitellii duplicaverat bellum. Nam Civilis omissa dissimulatione in populum Romanum ruere, Vitellianae legiones vel externum servitium quam imperatorem Vespasianum malle. Galli sustulerant animos, eandem ubique exercituum nostrorum fortunam rati, vulgato rumore a Sarmatis Dacisque Moesica ac Pannonica hiberna circumsederi; paria de Britannia fingebantur. Sed nihil aeque quam incendium Capitolii, ut finem imperio adesse crederent, impulerat. Captam olim a Gallis urbem, sed integra Iovis sede mansisse imperium: fatali nunc igne signum caelestis irae datum et possessionem rerum humanarum Transalpinis gentibus portendi superstitione vana Druidae canebant. Incesseratque fama primores Galliarum ab Othone adversus Vitellium missos, antequam digrederentur, pepigisse ne deessent libertati, si populum Romanum continua civilium bellorum series et interna mala fregissent.

LV. Ante Flacci Hordeonii caedem nihil prorupit quo coniuratio intellegeretur: interfecto Hordeonio commeavere nuntii inter Civilem Classicumque


Book IV

and the only feature that was thought wanting in the magnificence of the old structure.

LIV. In the meantime1 the news of the death of Vitellius, spreading through the Gallic and German provinces, had started a second war; for Civilis, now dropping all pretence, openly attacked the Roman people, and the legions of Vitellius preferred to be subject even to foreign domination rather than to obey Vespasian as emperor. The Gauls had plucked up fresh courage, believing that all our armies were everywhere in the same case, for the rumour had spread that our winter quarters in Moesia and Pannonia were being besieged by the Sarmatae and Dacians; similar stories were invented about Britain. But nothing had encouraged them to believe that the end of our rule was at hand so much as the burning of the Capitol. “Once long ago Rome was captured by the Gauls, but since Jove’s home was unharmed, the Roman power stood firm: now this fatal conflagration has given a proof from heaven of the divine wrath and presages the passage of the sovereignty of the world to the peoples beyond the Alps.” Such were the vain and superstitious prophecies of the Druids. Moreover, the report had gone abroad that the Gallic chiefs, when sent by Otho to oppose Vitellius, had pledged themselves before their departure not to fail the cause of freedom in case an unbroken series of civil wars and internal troubles destroyed the power of the Roman people.

LV. Before the murder of Hordeonius Flaccus nothing came to the surface to make the conspiracy known: but after Hordeonius had been killed, messengers passed between Civilis and Classicus,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tacitus-histories.1925