It is hard to say whether the envoys from Helvetia
found the Emperor or his army less merciful.
the race," was the cry of the soldiers as they brandished
their weapons, or shook their fists in the faces of the envoys. Even
Vitellius himself did not refrain from threatening words and gestures, till
at length Claudius Cossus, one of the Helvetian envoys, a man of well-known
eloquence, but who then concealed the art of the orator under an assumption
of alarm, and was therefore more effective, soothed the rage of the
soldiers, who, like all multitudes, were liable to sudden impulses, and were
now as inclined to pity as they had been extravagant in fury. Bursting into
tears and praying with increasing earnestness for a milder sentence, they
procured pardon and protection for the state.