9. A. CAECINA ALINUS
(called in the Fasti A. Licinius Caecina
), was quaestor in Baetica in Spain at the time of Nero's death, A. D. 68, and was one of the foremost in joining the party of Galba.
He was rewarded by Galba with the command of a legion in Upper Germany; but, being shortly afterwards detected in embezzling some of the public money, the emperor ordered him to be prosecuted. Caecina, in revenge, induced his troops to revolt to Vitellius. Caecina was a great favourite with the soldiers. His personal presence was commanding; he was tall in stature, comely in person, and upright in gait; he possessed considerable ability in speaking; and, as he was ambitious, he used every means to win the favour of his troops.
After persuading them to espouse the side of Vitellius, he set out at the beginning of the year (A. D. 69), on his march towards Italy at the head of an army of 30,000 men, the main strength of which consisted in one legion, the twenty-first.
In his march through Switzerland, he ravaged the country of the Helvetians in a frightful manner, because they had refused to own the authority of Vitellius.
He crossed the Great St. Bernard and marched through northern Italy without meeting with any opposition. Upon entering Italy, he observed greater discipline than he had done previously, and prevented his troops from plundering the country ; but his dress gave great offence to the citizens, because he wore in receiving them a military cloak of various colours, and also trowsers, which were reckoned as characteristic of barbarians. People were also scandalized at his wife Salonina riding as it were in state upon a beautiful horse, and dressed in purple.
As Placentia was garrisoned by the troops of Otho, who had now succeeded Galba, Caecina crossed the Po, and proceeded to attack that city.
He was, however, repulsed in his attack with considerable loss, and thereupon recrossed the Po and retired towards Cremona. Otho's troops were commanded by Suetonius Paullinus and Celstus, the former a general of great skill and military experience, who frustrated all the plans of Caecina. Anxious to retrieve his honour before he was joined by Fabius Valens, who was advancing with the other division of the German army, Caecina determined to make a vigorous effort to gain some decisive advantage.
He accordingly laid an ambush at place called Castorum, twelve miles from Cremona; but his plans were betrayed to the enemy, and he suffered a signal defeat. Shortly afterwards, he was joined by Fabius Valens, and their united forces then gained a victory over Otho's troops at Bedriacum, which established the power of Vitellius in Italy.
The unhappy country, however, was now exposed to pillage in every direction, as neither Caecina nor Valens attempted to restrain his soldiers, the former through desire of preserving his popularity with them, the latter because he himself took part in the plunder.
After obtaining possession of Rome, Caecina and Valens were advanced to the consulship, and entered upon the office on the 1st of September, A. D. 69. Meantime, Antonius Primus, who had declared in favour of Vespasian; was preparing to invade Italy, and Caecina was accordingly sent against him. Caecina met with Antonius in the neighbourhood of Verona, and might with his numerous army have easily crushed him; but he resolved to desert the cause of Vitellius, and concerted measures for that purpose with Lucilius Bassus, who meditated the same treachery and had the command of Vitellius's fleet.
But when he attempted to persuade his soldiers to take the oath of allegiance to Vespasian, they rose against him and put him in irons.
In this state of things, they were attacked by Antonius, who conquered them near Bedriacum, and forthwith proceeded to assault Cremona, where most of the conquered had taken refuge. Alarmed at the success of Antonius, Caecina was released by his soldiers, and sent to Antonius to intercede on their behalf. Antonius despatched Caecina to Vespasian, who treated him with great honour. When the news of his treachery reached Rome, he was deprived of his consulship, and Roscius Regulus elected in his stead. (Tac. Hist. 1.52
; D. C. 65.10
; Joseph. B. J.
Nothing more is heard of Caecina till the latter end of the reign of Vespasian (A. D. 79), when he entered into a plot against the emperor, and was slain, by order of Titus, as he rose from a banquet in the imperial palace. (D. C. 66.16
; Suet. Tit. 6
According to Aurelius Victor (Epit.
10), Caecina was put to death by Titus because he suspected him of intriguing with his mistress Berenice.