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Vitellius then directed his course to Cremona, and after witnessing the spectacle exhibited by Cæcina, he conceived a desire to visit the plains of Bedriacum and to survey the scene of the recent victory. It was a hideous and terrible sight. Not forty days had passed since the battle, and there lay mangled corpses, severed limbs, the putrefying forms of men and horses; the soil was saturated with gore, and, what with levelled trees and crops, horrible was the desolation. Not less revolting was that portion of the road which the people of Cremona had strewed with laurel leaves and roses, and on which they had raised altars, and sacrificed victims as if to greet some barbarous despot, festivities in which they delighted for the moment, but which were afterwards to work their ruin. Valens and Cæcina were present, and pointed out the various localities of the field of battle; shewing how from one point the columns of the legions had rushed to the attack; how from another the cavalry had charged; how from a third the auxiliary troops had turned the flank of the enemy. The tribunes and prefects extolled their individual achievements, and mixed together fictions, facts, and exaggerations. The common soldiers also turned aside from the line of march with joyful shouts, and recognized the various scenes of conflict, and gazed with wonder on the piles of weapons and the heaps of slain. Some indeed there were whom all this moved to thoughts of the mutability of fortune, to pity, and to tears. Vitellius did not turn away his eyes, did not shudder to behold the unburied corpses of so many thousands of his countrymen; nay, in his exultation, in his ignorance of the doom which was so close upon himself, he actually instituted a religious ceremony in honour of the tutelary gods of the place.

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