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were encompassed, in the security of peace, with the perils of war."
Fortune favoured Otho in the beginning; but his troops having been defeated in a bloody battle, which lasted two days, he killed himself; and peace appeared to be restored.
6 But Italy,” says Tacitus,“ was more grievously and cruelly oppressed than by the war. The Vitellians, dispersing through the colonies and municipal towns, robbed, pillaged, and polluted every place by their fury and the gratification of the most abominable lusts. The soldiers slew their personal enemies, , and being thoroughly acquainted with the country, marked out the well-stocked farms for plunder, or, if resisted, the owners for destruction. The leaders, conscious of their own guilt, did not dare to restrain them. Italy, long since exhausted, bore with difficulty such immense numbers of cavalry and infantry, their violence, the losses and injuries they inflicted.2
Nor was the march.of Vitellius less disastrous to the provinces through which it lay. His army consisted of sixty thousand men, augmented by a still greater number of camp servants, who were the most dissolute and abandoned wretches of the whole Roman population. Tacitus
says, all with him was one general scene of drunken disorder, and more like midnight and Bacchanalian revels than the discipline of a camp; that, as he approached the city, the, multitude was augmented by the senators, knights, the populace, buffoons, players, and charioteers, who poured forth to meet him; that not only the colonies and municipal towns, but the husbandmen themselves and the fields, (the harvest being ripe) were plundered and devastated like an enemy's country.
When the army and its train of followers entered Rome, the troops were allowed to ramble about the streets, to take
their quarters in the temples, in the forums, and where they pleased, to brawl, to murder, to weaken their minds and bodies by indulging in ease and giving way to the vilest passions. Vitellius granted whatever the soldiers asked, “not only from innate sloth of mind, but conscious, if he refused, their next demand would be a donative and that there was no money."
Tacit., His. ii. c. 12.
2 Ib. His. ii. c. 56.
3 Ib. His. ii. c. 68. 87, 88. 93, 94.
But while the emperor and his armies were thus rioting in luxury and in blood, a new and more furious civil war was on the eve of bursting out: for, the forces in the west, which after Otho's death had submitted and taken the oath of allegiance to Vitellius, revolted; and, about the same time, the legions in the east made their general, Vespasian, Cæsar. The struggle for the dominion of the world now lay between Vespasian and Vitellius. The army?
12 of the latter was defeated in three battles with the loss of more than thirty thousand men.3
There was at that time a celebrated fair at Cremona, and the city was crowded with merchants and visiters from every part of Italy. The Roman general and his army thought they had now an excellent opportunity of indemnifying themselves for their toils, so they resolved to pillage the town. “ Forty thousand armed men,” says Tacitus,“ burst into Cremona, and a greater number of camp servants and suttlers, who, by their deeper depravity, are more addicted to lust and cruelty. Neither dignity nor age afforded any protection, that lust and murder, murder and lust, should not go hand in hand. Very old men, and women on the
verge of the grave, a worthless booty, were dragged about in mockery. When a full-grown virgin or a male of graceful form was met, he was torn in pieces by the ravagers, who then fell by deeds of mutual slaughter. Many, whilst they dragged forth, every one for himself, money or the gifts of the temples, massive with gold, were slain by others who were stronger than themselves. Some, despising what could be easily obtained, searched for hidden wealth by scourging and torturing its owners, and dug up the buried treasure.” They then wantonly fired the city. “ Cremona lasted four days, when every thing, sacred and profane, sunk in the fire. The temple of Mephitis alone stood before the walls, defended by the place or the deity."4
Tacitus, after giving an account of some commotions, revolts, and wars in the east, which, with those in the west, he calls a
1 Tacit. b. ii., c. 86.
2 Their leader wished to bring the Vitellians over to Vespasian, but his treachery being discovered, the soldiers imprisoned him and fought without commanders. See Tacit. His. b. iii., 13, 14, &c.
3 Josephus says the Vitellians lost nearly 31,000, and the Vespasians 4,500.- Wars b. iv., c. 11.
4 His. b iii., 33. 5Ib. iii., 49, “hac totius orbis mutatione.''
changing of the whole world,” returns to Antony, who “traversed Italy as if it had been taken from an enemy,” permitting the soldiers, without an attempt to control them, to act as they pleased.
In the meantime, the civil war, which was supposed to have ended, blazed out again at Rome. The capitol was attacked, defended, and burned to the ground; and Sabinus, the brother of Vespasian, with many of his party, was slain. Antonius now hastened to Rome. Many battles were fought with various success before the walls, but the Vespasians bursting at last into the city, the Vitellians were driven, after an obstinate resistance, into the fortified camp. The camp was now furiously attacked, fiercely defended, taken, and all the Vitellians slain.'
During the progress of the civil wars, Civilis, a German mercenary, who had been long in the imperial service, revolted; and, alluring many of his countrymen to his standard, he defeated the Roman legions in several engagements, took their winterquarters, and was, with difficulty, induced to submit to Vespasian, on securing by treaty, very advantageous terms.2
The civil wars ended with the destruction of Jerusalem, and the slaughter and dispersion of the Jews.
In the seal" the peace" is taken from the earth. The earth is the provinces of the Roman empire, which are called by Josephus “the habitable earth," and by the Latin writers “the. world,” and “ the earth.” Tacitus thus describes the course and extent of these wars. “ The civil arms taken up by the Spains and Gauls, the Germans, then Illyricum, having been stirred up to engage in the war, seemed to have ended, after that they had passed through Ægypt, Syria, and all the provinces and armies, as if the world had been expiated by a sacrifice.”3
It is easy to imagine that the losses of the empire in these dreadful civil wars, pervading all her armies and every province, must have been immense. Every battle was worse than a defeat
1 The Vitellians fought with the greatest bravery. Tacitus—His. b. iii., c. 84– says, “all fell with their wounds before, and facing the enemy."
Josephus—Wars, b. iv., c. 11—and Dion Cassius, say, 50,000 were killed at Rome in these last conflicts. 2 His. V., c. 26. Gibbon.
3 Ib. iv., 3.
in a foreign war, because Roman was opposed to Roman, and each side fought with Roman' skill and bravery; the victors pursued the victory with the exasperated feelings of personal rivalry and animosity; and, whatever party conquered, the wounds, sustained and inflicted, were alike the wounds of the state, fatal to her strength and to her legions. The bands, moreover, of civil government, being dissolved, the unarmed population of the cities, the villages, and the open country, were the prey of the soldiers, the camp servant, and the vilest of the people: who pillaged the towns, devastated the country, robbed, insulted, tortured and murdered, without mercy or pity, the defenceless inhabitants. The damage of such a war cannot be estimated: but all the miseries and losses it caused were perhaps trifling in comparison with another evil, the power of the sword, which was then brought to light, and fully developed. For it was now clear, that the army could control the civil government—that an army in Spain, on the Rhine, at Rome, or any where else, could make or unmake an emperor, and kindle in a moment the flames of civil war.
A SWORD WAS GIVEN TO HIM.
A SWORD is the symbol of judicial authority or of military violence; as it is here evidently the symbol of the latter, it is to be shown, that at the opening of the seal a power or principle (besides the civil wars) was developed, producing a state of things which corresponds with the symbolical representation of a horseman on a red horse, to whom a sword is given. Since the theatre of these events is the Roman empire, and in the time of the sixth head of the beast, it is necessary to ascertain accurately the nature of the imperial government. The imperial system, as instituted by Augustus, was a military and absolute monarchy, the real nature of which was concealed from the armies, the people, and the provinces, by republican names and the forms of an elective monarchy: the first emperors pretending to be consuls, prætors, tribunes, and to hold their office by the nomination and election of the people and senate.
| Romanæ utrimque artes. - Tac. His. b. iji. c. 27.
This is Mr. Gibbon's representation, and it is confirmed by Tacitus. “ After the battle of Actium," the latter says, "all power centred in the hands of the prince, all regarded the republic (ut alienæ) as belonging to another, and looked to the orders of the prince, (jussa principis aspectare,) but the names of the magistrates were the same." 3Tiberius cautiously maintained the same artful system.
By these means, “ the pretext of the senate and the name of the City," the armies and provinces were made to believe the emperor was elected by the senate and people, and that an emperor could be made no where else than at Rome. Hence, Rufus, who defeated Vindex, refused the purple when it was offered to him by his soldiers, because, (as he said,) the right to make an emperor “ belonged to the senate and people."5 And the same legions, when they revolted from Galba, at first referred the choice of the emperor to the senate and Roman people. But, by the death of Nero and those events which so rapidly followed, as Tacitus says,
" the secret of the empire was disclosed, that the prince might be made elsewhere than at Rome." It now and at once became a subject of public display, of talk, and of boasting, that the soldiers could confer the empire on whom they pleased. And Galba openly asserted its military tenure, assumed the symbol, and realized the imagery of the seal: for he8 marched from Spain to Rome, at the head of his army, equipped in his military dress, “ with a sword suspended all the way from his neck;" and he entered the city in the same warlike manner, having first slain seven thousand prætorians.
Dion Cassiusio writes, “Otho was hated, because he made the
1 Decline and Fall, c. iii. pp. 81, 87, 126, (viii. vols. octavo.)
4 Tacit. His. b. i. c. 76, “Sed erat grande momentum in nomine Urbis ac prætextu senatûs.” “But there was great weight in the name of the City and the pretext of the senate."
Γερουσια και δημο προσηκειν τουτ ελεγεν. Dion. Cass. b. 63. 6 Tacit. Hist. b. i. c. 12. c. 4. 7 Evulgato imperii arcano posse principem alibi, quam Romæ fieri.
8 Galba in Suet. 11 Dion. Cassius, lxiv. 3, őri de čipos dia macons ons odov εξηρτάτο.
9 Dion. Cassius. 10 ότι αποκτείναι Καισαρα και ποιησαι δυνανται, b. Ixiv. C. 8.