Containing The Interval Of About Three Years
From The Taking Of Jerusalem By Titus To The Sedition At Cyrene.
HOW VESPASIAN WAS RECEIVED AT ROME; AS ALSO HOW THE GERMANS REVOLTED FROM THE ROMANS, BUT WERE SUBDUED. THAT THE SARMATIANS OVERRAN MYSIA, BUT WERE COMPELLED TO RETIRE TO THEIR OWN COUNTRY AGAIN.
1. AND now Titus Caesar, upon the news that was brought him concerning his father, that his coming was much desired by all the Italian cities, and that Rome especially received him with great alacrity and splendor, betook himself to rejoicing and pleasures to a great degree, as now freed from the solicitude he had been under, after the most agreeable manner. For all men that were in Italy showed their respects to him in their minds before he came thither, as if he were already come, as esteeming the very expectation they had of him to be his real presence, on account of the great desires they had to see him, and because the good-will they bore him was entirely free and unconstrained; for it was, desirable thing to the senate, who well remembered the calamities they had undergone in the late changes of their governors, to receive a governor who was adorned with the gravity of old age, and with the highest skill in the actions of war, whose advancement would be, as they knew, for nothing else but for the preservation of those that were to be governed.
Moreover, the people had been so harassed by their civil miseries, that they were still more earnest for his coming immediately, as supposing they should then be firmly delivered from their calamities, and believed they should then recover their secure tranquillity and prosperity; and for the soldiery, they had the principal regard to him, for they were chiefly apprized of his great exploits in war; and since they had experienced the want of skill and want of courage in other commanders, they were very desirous to be free from that great shame they had undergone by their means, and heartily wished to receive such a prince as might be a security and an ornament to them. And as this good-will to Vespasian was universal, those that enjoyed any remarkable dignities could not have patience enough to stay in Rome, but made haste to meet him at a very great distance from it; nay, indeed, none of the rest could endure the delay of seeing him, but did all pour out of the city in such crowds, and were so universally possessed with the opinion that it was easier and better for them to go out than to stay there, that this was the very first time that the city joyfully perceived itself almost empty of its citizens; for those that staid within were fewer than those that went out.
But as soon as the news was come that he was hard by, and those that had met him at first related with what good humor he received every one that came to him, then it was that the whole multitude that had remained in the city, with their wives and children, came into the road, and waited for him there; and for those whom he passed by, they made all sorts of acclamations, on account of the joy they had to see him, and the pleasantness of his countenance, and styled him their Benefactor and Savior, and the only person who was worthy to be ruler of the city of Rome. And now the city was like a temple, full of garlands and sweet odors; nor was it easy for him to come to the royal palace, for the multitude of the people that stood about him, where yet at last he performed his sacrifices of thanksgiving to his household gods for his safe return to the city. The multitude did also betake themselves to feasting; which feasts and drink-offerings they celebrated by their tribes, and their families, and their neighborhoods, and still prayed God to grant that Vespasian, his sons, and all their posterity, might continue in the Roman government for a very long time, and that his dominion might be preserved from all opposition. And this was the manner in which Rome so joyfully received Vespasian, and thence grew immediately into a state of great prosperity.
2. But before this time, and while Vespasian was about Alexandria, and Titus was lying at the siege of Jerusalem, a great multitude of the Germans were in commotion, and tended to rebellion; and as the Gauls in their neighborhood joined with them, they conspired together, and had thereby great hopes of success, and that they should free themselves from the dominion of the Romans. The motives that induced the Germans to this attempt for a revolt, and for beginning the war, were these: In the first place, the nature [of the people], which was destitute of just reasonings, and ready to throw themselves rashly into danger, upon small hopes; in the next place, the hatred they bore to those that were their governors, while their nation had never been conscious of subjection to any but to the Romans, and that by compulsion only. Besides these motives, it was the opportunity that now offered itself, which above all the rest prevailed with them so to do; for when they saw the Roman government in a great internal disorder, by the continual changes of its rulers, and understood that every part of the habitable earth under them was in an unsettled and tottering condition, they thought this was the best opportunity that could afford itself for themselves to make a sedition, when the state of the Romans was so ill.
Classicus (6) also, and Vitellius, (6b) two of their commanders, puffed them up with such hopes. These had for a long time been openly desirous of such an innovation, and were induced by the present opportunity to venture upon the declaration of their sentiments; the multitude was also ready; and when these men told them of what they intended to attempt, that news was gladly received by them. So when a great part of the Germans had agreed to rebel, and the rest were no better disposed, Vespasian, as guided by Divine Providence, sent letters to Petilius Cerealis, who had formerly had the command of Germany, whereby he declared him to have the dignity of consul, and commanded him to take upon him the government of Britain; so he went whither he was ordered to go, and when he was informed of the revolt of the Germans, he fell upon them as soon as they were gotten together, and put his army in battle-array, and slew a great number of them in the fight, and forced them to leave off their madness, and to grow wiser; nay, had he not fallen thus suddenly upon them on the place, it had not been long ere they would however have been brought to punishment; for as soon as ever the news of their revolt was come to Rome, and Caesar Domitian was made acquainted with it, he made no delay, even at that his age, when he was exceeding young, but undertook this weighty affair.
He had a courageous mind from his father, and had made greater improvements than belonged to such an age: accordingly he marched against the barbarians immediately; whereupon their hearts failed them at the very rumor of his approach, and they submitted themselves to him with fear, and thought it a happy thing that they were brought under their old yoke again without suffering any further mischiefs. When therefore Domitian had settled all the affairs of Gaul in such good order, that it would not be easily put into disorder any more, he returned to Rome with honor and glory, as having performed such exploits as were above his own age, but worthy of so great a father.
3. At the very same time with the forementioned revolt of the Germans did the bold attempt of the Scythians against the Romans occur; for those Scythians who are called Sarmatians, being a very numerous people, transported themselves over the Danube into Mysia, without being perceived; after which, by their violence, and entirely unexpected assault, they slew a great many of the Romans that guarded the frontiers; and as the consular legate Fonteius Agrippa came to meet them, and fought courageously against them, he was slain by them. They then overran all the region that had been subject to him, tearing and rending every thing that fell in their way. But when Vespasian was informed of what had happened, and how Mysia was laid waste, he sent away Rubrius Gallus to punish these Sarmatians; by whose means many of them perished in the battles he fought against them, and that part which escaped fled with fear to their own country. So when this general had put an end to the war, he provided for the future security of the country also; for he placed more and more numerous garrisons in the place, till he made it altogether impossible for the barbarians to pass over the river any more. And thus had this war in Mysia a sudden conclusion.
(6) This Classicus, and Civilis, and Cerealis are names well known in Tacitus; the two former as moving sedition against the Romans, and the last as sent to repress them by Vespasian, just as they are here described in Josephus; which is the case also of Fontellis Agrippa and Rubrius Gallup, i, sect. 3; but as to the very favorable account presently given of Domitian, particularly as to his designs in this his Gallic and German expedition, it is not a little contrary to that in Suetonius, Vesp. sect. 7. Nor are the reasons unobvious that might occasion this great diversity: Domitian was one of Josephus's patrons, and when he published these books of the Jewish war, was very young, and had hardly begun those wicked practices which rendered him so infamous afterward; while Suetonius seems to have been too young, and too low in life, to receive any remarkable favors from him; as Domitian was certainly very lewd and cruel, and generally hated, when Puetonius wrote about him.
(6b) Civilis - Tacit.