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wasted. The tumultuous praetorians poured into the Forum, killed the

Emperor and his colleague, and sent their man to the basilica of the

Caesars. The whole business was accomplished within fifteen days after the

accession of Galba to the throne.

Great was the disappointment which the death of Galba produced among the

better class of the Romans. They had fondly believed that after the

dissolute reigns of Caligula and Nero the firm rule of a military leader

would bring peace not only to the city but to the Empire. The sudden

collapse of the reformatory regime left them hopeless, and Rome was again

exposed to all the winds of profligacy.

The Senate, out of the necessity of things, accepted the situation by the

recognition of Otho. A certain degree of-order was presently restored in

the city. Those who had been banished for political offenses were permitted

to return to their homes. The old republican ghost was placated by the

appointment of consuls. Even the nobles of Rome were conciliated by

respectful treatment. Affairs in the capital seemed to favor an auspicious

reign. Not so, however, in the Spanish and Gallic armies. While the legions

in the East declared for Otho, those in the West proclaimed their general,

Aulus Vitellius, Imperator. A civil war immediately ensued between him and

Otho. Two divisions of the army of the former, led by the generals Valens

and Caecina, made their way through the passes of Mount Genevre and the

Great St. Bernard, and debauched into Italy. Meanwhile the forces of Otho

had advanced to the north, and in Cisalpine Gaul awaited the approach of

the enemy. Near the confluence of the Adda and the Po a great battle was

fought, in which Vitellius was completely victorious. Otho, in despair,

committed suicide, and his triumphant rival was proclaimed Emperor. The

latter, in traversing the battle-field, remarked to his attendants: "The

corpses of our enemies smell very sweet, especially those of citizens!"

Making his way to Rome, Vitellius was accepted by the Senate and the

people, who had now been regaled by the sight of three Emperors in a single

year. In the West no headway could be made against the claims of the new

Caesar; but in the East the case was very different. The Syrian army, so

far removed from the seat of Roman politics, was not at all disposed to

accept as final the results of these disgraceful revolutions. The soldiers

of the East, fully occupied with the Parthian war, the insubordination of

Egypt, and the great revolt in Palestine, were preserved from that

stagnation which had proved the death of all soldiery virtues among the

praetorians of Italy. The Syrian legions were at this time under command of

the two distinguished generals, Mucianus and Titus Flavius Vespasianus.

Without concerning themselves with the relative merits of the western

broils, both had acquiesced in the claims of Galba and Otho, and they now

accepted Vitellius, with little interest in the legitimacy of his


At this time Vespasianus and his son Titus