With minds affected by these words and growing mutually suspicious,
they divided off the new troops from the old, and one legion from
another. Then by degrees the instinct of obedience returned. They
quitted the gates and restored to their places the standards which
at the beginning of the mutiny they had grouped into one spot.

At daybreak Drusus called them to an assembly, and, though not a practised
speaker, yet with natural dignity upbraided them for their past and
commended their present behaviour. He was not, he said, to be conquered
by terror or by threats. Were he to see them inclining to submission
and hear the language of entreaty, he would write to his father, that
he might be merciful and receive the legions’ petition. At their prayer,
Blaesus and Lucius Apronius, a Roman knight on Drusus’s staff, with
Justus Catonius, a first-rank centurion, were again sent to Tiberius.
Then ensued a conflict of opinion among them, some maintaining that
it was best to wait the envoys’ return and meanwhile humour the soldiers,
others, that stronger measures ought to be used, inasmuch as the rabble
knows no mean, and inspires fear, unless they are afraid, though when
they have once been overawed, they can be safely despised. “While
superstition still swayed them, the general should apply terror by
removing the leaders of the mutiny.”

Drusus’s temper was inclined to harsh measures. He summoned Vibulenus
and Percennius and ordered them to be put to death. The common account
is that they were buried in the general’s tent, though according to
some their bodies were flung outside the entrenchments for all to

Search was then made for all the chief mutineers. Some as they roamed
outside the camp were cut down by the centurions or by soldiers of
the praetorian cohorts. Some even the companies gave up in proof of
their loyalty. The men’s troubles were increased by an early winter
with continuous storms so violent that they could not go beyond their
tents or meet together or keep the standards in their places, from
which they were perpetually tom by hurricane and rain. And there still
lingered the dread of the divine wrath; nor was it without meaning,
they thought, that, hostile to an impious host, the stars grew dim
and storms burst over them. Their only relief from misery was to quit
an ill-omened and polluted camp, and, having purged themselves of
their guilt, to betake themselves again every one to his winterquarters.
First the eighth, then the fifteenth legion returned; the ninth cried
again and again that they ought to wait for the letter from Tiberius,
but soon finding themselves isolated by the departure of the rest,
they voluntarily forestalled their inevitable fate. Drusus, without
awaiting the envoys’ return, as for the present all was quiet, went
back to Rome.

About the same time, from the same causes, the legions of Germany
rose in mutiny, with a fury proportioned to their greater numbers,
in the confident hope that Germanicus Caesar would not be able to
endure another’s supremacy and offer himself to the legions, whose
strength would carry everything before it. There were two armies on
the bank of the Rhine; that named the upper army had Caius Silius
for general; the lower was under the charge of Aulus Caecina. The
supreme direction rested with Germanicus, then busily employed in
conducting the assessment of Gaul. The troops under the control of
Silius, with minds yet in suspense, watched the issue of mutiny elsewhere;
but the soldiers of the lower army fell into a frenzy, which had its
beginning in the men of the twenty-first and fifth legions, and into
which the first and twentieth were also drawn. For they were all quartered
in the same summer-camp, in the territory of the Ubii, enjoying ease
or having only light on hearing of the death of Augustus, a rabble
of city slaves, who had been enlisted under a recent levy at Rome,
habituated to laxity and impatient of hardship, filled the ignorant
minds of the other soldiers with notions that the time had come when
the veteran might demand a timely discharge, the young, more liberal
pay, all, an end of their miseries, and vengeance on the cruelty of

It was not one alone who spoke thus, as did Percennius among the legions
of Pannonia, nor was it in the ears of trembling soldiers, who looked
with apprehension to other and mightier armies, but there was sedition
in many a face and voice. “The Roman world,” they said, was in their
hand; their victories aggrandised the State; it was from them that
emperors received their titles.”

Nor did their commander check them. Indeed, the blind rage of so many
had robbed him of his resolution., In a sudden frenzy they rushed
with drawn swords on the centurions, the immemorial object of the
soldiers’ resentment and the first cause of savage fury. They threw
them to the earth and beat them sorely, sixty to one, so as to correspond
with the number of centurions. Then tearing them from the ground,
mangled, and some lifeless, they flung them outside the entrenchments
or into the river Rhine. One Septimius, who fled to the tribunal and
was grovelling at Caecina’s feet, was persistently demanded till he
was given up to destruction. Cassius Chaerea, who won for himself
a memory with posterity by the murder of Caius Caesar, being then
a youth of high spirit, cleared a passage with his sword through the
armed and opposing throng. Neither tribune nor camp-prefect maintained
authority any longer. Patrols, sentries, and whatever else the needs
of the time required, were distributed by the men themselves. To those
who could guess the temper of soldiers with some penetration, the
strongest symptom of a wide-spread and intractable commotion, was
the fact that, instead of being divided or instigated by a few persons,
they were unanimous in their fury and equally unanimous in their composure,
with so uniform a consistency that one would have thought them to
be under command.
The Annals by Tacitus