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No further severities were exercised on the persons of the opposite faction, or with property in any case; the wills of those who had fallen fighting for Otho were held to be valid, and with those who died intestate, the law was carried out. Assuredly, could Vitellius have bridled his luxurious tastes, no one need have dreaded his rapacity. He had a scandalous and insatiable passion for feasts; the provocatives of gluttony were conveyed to him from the capital and from Italy, till the roads from both seas resounded with traffic; the leading men of the various states were ruined by having to furnish his entertainments, and the states themselves reduced to beggary; the soldiers fast degenerated from their old activity and valour, through habitual indulgence and contempt of their leader. He sent on before him
to the capital an edict, by which he postponed his acceptance of the title of Augustus and refused that of Cæsar, though he relinquished nothing of his actual power. The astrologers were banished from Italy. The Roman Knights were forbidden, under severe penalties, to degrade themselves by appearing in public entertainments, or in the arena. Former Emperors had encouraged the practice by bribes, or more frequently enforced it by compulsion; and many of the towns and colonies had vied with each other in attracting by large pay the most profligate of the youth.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), ASTROLO´GIA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), AUGUSTUS
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