“Why, on the first day of our meeting, why did you, my friends, wrest
from me, in your blindness, the steel which I was preparing to plunge
into my breast? Better and more loving was the act of the man who
offered me the sword. At any rate I should have perished before I
was as yet conscious of all the disgraces of my army, while you would
have chosen a general who though he might allow my death to pass unpunished
would avenge the death of Varus and his three legions. Never indeed
may heaven suffer the Belgae, though they proffer their aid, to have
the glory and honour of having rescued the name of Rome and quelled
the tribes of Germany. It is thy spirit, Divine Augustus, now received
into heaven, thine image, father Drusus, and the remembrance of thee,
which, with these same soldiers who are now stimulated by shame and
ambition, should wipe out this blot and turn the wrath of civil strife
to the destruction of the foe. You too, in whose faces and in whose
hearts I perceive a change, if only you restore to the Senate their
envoys, to the emperor his due allegiance, to myself my wife and son,
do you stand aloof from pollution and separate the mutinous from among
you. This will be a pledge of your repentance, a guarantee of your

Thereupon, as suppliants confessing that his reproaches were true,
they implored him to punish the guilty, pardon those who had erred,
and lead them against the enemy. And he was to recall his wife, to
let the nursling of the legions return and not be handed over as a
hostage to the Gauls. As to Agrippina’s return, he made the excuse
of her approaching confinement and of winter. His son, he said, would
come, and the rest they might settle themselves. Away they hurried
hither and thither, altered men, and dragged the chief mutineers in
chains to Caius Caetronius commander of the first legion, who tried
and punished them one by one in the following fashion. In front of
the throng stood the legions with drawn swords. Each accused man was
on a raised platform and was pointed out by a tribune. If they shouted
out that he was guilty, he was thrown headlong and cut to pieces.
The soldiers gloated over the bloodshed as though it gave them absolution.
Nor did Caesar check them, seeing that without any order from himself
the same men were responsible for all the cruelty and all the odium
of the deed.

The example was followed by the veterans, who were soon afterwards
sent into Raetia, nominally to defend the province against a threatened
invasion of the Suevi but really that they might tear themselves from
a camp stamped with the horror of a dreadful remedy no less than with
the memory of guilt. Then the general revised the list of centurions.
Each, at his summons, stated his name, his rank, his birthplace, the
number of his campaigns, what brave deeds he had done in battle, his
military rewards, if any. If the tribunes and the legion commended
his energy and good behaviour, he retained his rank; where they unanimously
charged him with rapacity or cruelty, he was dismissed the service.

Quiet being thus restored for the present, a no less formidable difficulty
remained through the turbulence of the fifth and twenty-first legions,
who were in winter quarters sixty miles away at Old Camp, as the place
was called. These, in fact, had been the first to begin the mutiny,
and the most atrocious deeds had been committed by their hands. Unawed
by the punishment of their comrades, and unmoved by their contrition,
they still retained their resentment. Caesar accordingly proposed
to send an armed fleet with some of our allies down the Rhine, resolved
to make war on them should they reject his authority.

At Rome, meanwhile, when the result of affairs in Illyrium was not
yet known, and men had heard of the commotion among the German legions,
the citizens in alarm reproached Tiberius for the hypocritical irresolution
with which he was befooling the senate and the people, feeble and
disarmed as they were, while the soldiery were all the time in revolt,
and could not be quelled by the yet imperfectly-matured authority
of two striplings. “He ought to have gone himself and confronted with
his imperial majesty those who would have soon yielded, when they
once saw a sovereign of long experience, who was the supreme dispenser
of rigour or of bounty. Could Augustus, with the feebleness of age
on him, so often visit Germany, and is Tiberius, in the vigour of
life, to sit in the Senate and criticise its members’ words? He had
taken good care that there should be slavery at Rome; he should now
apply some soothing medicine to the spirit of soldiers, that they
might be willing to endure peace.”

Notwithstanding these remonstrances, it was the inflexible purpose
of Tiberius not to quit the head-quarters of empire or to imperil
himself and the State. Indeed, many conflicting thoughts troubled
him. The army in Germany was the stronger; that in Pannonia the nearer;
the first was supported by all the strength of Gaul; the latter menaced
Italy. Which was he to prefer, without the fear that those whom he
slighted would be infuriated by the affront? But his sons might alike
visit both, and not compromise the imperial dignity, which inspired
the greatest awe at a distance. There was also an excuse for mere
youths referring some matters to their father, with the possibility
that he could conciliate or crush those who resisted Germanicus or
Drusus. What resource remained, if they despised the emperor? However,
as if on the eve of departure, he selected his attendants, provided
his camp-equipage, and prepared a fleet; then winter and matters of
business were the various pretexts with which he amused, first, sensible
men, then the populace, last, and longest of all, the provinces.
The Annals by Tacitus