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[17] Let these two instances serve as examples of the prevailing insubordination. The cause was that the generals, for the most part, as is usually the case in civil wars, were not regularly chosen; that their armies were not drawn from the enrolment according to the custom of the fathers, nor for the benefit of their country; that they did not serve the public so much as they did the individuals who brought them together; and that they served these not by the force of law, but by reason of private promises; not against the common enemy, but against private foes; not against foreigners, but against fellow-citizens, their equals in rank. All these things impaired military discipline, and the soldiers thought that they were not so much serving in the army as lending assistance, by their own favor and judgment, to leaders who needed them for their own personal ends. Desertion, which had formerly been unpardonable, was now rewarded with gifts, and whole armies resorted to it, including some illustrious men, who did not consider it desertion to change to a similar cause, for all parties were alike, since neither of them could be distinguished as battling against the common enemy of the Roman people. The common pretence of the generals that they were all striving for the good of the country made desertion easy in the thought that one could serve his country in any party. Understanding these facts the generals tolerated this behavior, for they knew that their authority over their armies depended on donatives rather than on law. Thus, everything was torn in factions, and the armies indulged in insubordination toward the leaders of the factions.

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