Tacitus, Histories

LCL 249: 2-3

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Cornelii Taciti Historiarum

Cornelii TacitiHistoriarum

Liber IV

I. Interfecto Vitellio bellum magis desierat quam pax coeperat. Armati per urbem victores implacabili odio victos consectabantur: plenae caedibus viae, cruenta fora templaque, passim trucidatis, ut quemque fors1 obtulerat. Ac mox augescente licentia scrutari ac protrahere abditos; si quem procerum habitu et iuventa conspexerant, obtruncare nullo militum aut populi discrimine. Quae saevitia recentibus odiis sanguine explebatur, dein verterat in avaritiam. Nihil usquam secretum aut clausum sinebant, Vitellianos occultari simulantes. Initium id perfringendarum domuum, vel si resisteretur, causa caedis; nec deerat egentissimus quisque e plebe et pessimi servitiorum prodere ultro ditis dominos, alii ab amicis monstrabantur. Ubique lamenta, conclamationes et fortuna2 captae urbis, adeo ut Othoniani Vitellianique militis invidiosa

  • 1fors M2: sors M.
  • 2fortunae M.

Book IV

The Histories Of Tacitus


I. The death of Vitellius was rather the end of war than the beginning of peace. The victors ranged through the city in arms, pursuing their defeated foes with implacable hatred: the streets were full of carnage, the fora and temples reeked with blood; they slew right and left everyone whom chance put in their way. Presently, as their licence increased, they began to hunt out and drag into the light those who had concealed themselves; did they espy anyone who was tall and young, they cut him down, regardless whether he was soldier or civilian. Their ferocity, which found satisfaction in bloodshed while their hatred was fresh, turned then afterwards to greed. They let no place remain secret or closed, pretending that Vitellians were in hiding. This led to the forcing of private houses or, if resistance was made, became an excuse for murder. Nor was there any lack of starvelings among the mob or of the vilest slaves ready to betray their rich masters; others were pointed out by their friends. Everywhere were lamentations, cries of anguish, and the misfortunes that befall a captured city; so that the citizens actually longed for the licence of Otho’s and Vitellius’s

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.tacitus-histories.1925