This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
On the following day Cerialis entered the Colony of the Treveri. The soldiers were eager to destroy the city, "This," they said, "is the birthplace of Classicus and Tutor; it was by the treason of these men that our legions were besieged and massacred. What had Cremona done like this, Cremona which was torn from the very bosom of Italy, because it had occasioned to the conquerors the delay of a single night? Here on the borders of Germany stands unharmed a city which exults in the spoils of our armies and the blood of our generals. Let the plunder be brought into the Imperial treasury; we shall be satisfied with the fire that will destroy a rebellious colony and compensate for the overthrow of so many camps." Cerialis, fearing the disgrace of being thought to have imbued his soldiers with a spirit of licence and cruelty, checked their fury. They submitted, for, now that civil war was at an end, they were tractable enough in dealing with an enemy. Their thoughts were then diverted by the pitiable aspect of the legions which had been summoned from the Mediomatrici. They stood oppressed by the consciousness of guilt, their eyes fixed on the earth. No friendly salutations passed between the armies as they met, they made no answer to those who would console or encourage them, but hid themselves in their tents, and shrank from the very light of day. Nor was it so much their peril or their alarm that confounded them, as their shame and humiliation. Even the conquerors were struck dumb, and dared not utter a word of entreaty, but pleaded for pardon by their silent tears, till Cerialis at last soothed their minds by declaring that destiny had brought about all that had hap- pened through the discords of soldiers and generals or through the treachery of the foe. They must consider that day as the first of their military service and of their allegiance. Their past crimes would be remembered neither by the Emperor nor by himself. They were thus admitted into the same camp with the rest, and an order was read in every company, that no soldier was in any contention or altercation to reproach a comrade with mutiny or defeat.