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My father, Suetonius Lenis, 1 was in this battle, being at that time an angusticlavian tribune in the thirteenth legion. He used frequently to say, that Otho, before his advancement to the empire, had such an abhorrence of civil war, that once, upon hearing an account given at table of the death of Cassius and Brutus, he fell into a trembling, and that he neverwould have interfered with Galba, but that he was confident of succeeding in his enterprise without a war. Moreover, that he was then encouraged to despise life by the example of a common soldier, who bringing news of the defeat of the army, and finding that he met with no credit, but was railed at for a liar and a coward, as if he had run away from the field of battle, fell upon his sword at the emperor's feet; upon the sight of which, my father said that Otho cried out, " that he would expose to no farther danger such brave men, who had deserved so well at his hands." Advising therefore his brother, his brother's son, and the rest of his friends, to provide for their security in the best manner they could, after he had embraced and kissed them, he sent them away; and them withdrawing into a private room by himself, he wrote a letter of consolation to his sister, containing two sheets. He likewise sent another to Messalina, Nero's widow, whom he had intended to marry, committing her the care of his relics and memory. He then burnt all the letters which he had by him, to prevent the danger and mischief that might otherwise befall the writers from the conqueror. What ready money he had, he distributed among his domestics.
1 Lenis was a name of similar signification with that of Tranquillus, borne by his son, the author of the present work. We find from Tacitus, that there was, among Otho's generals, in this battle, another person of the name of Suetonius, whose cognomen was Paulinus; with whom our author's father must not be confounded. Lenis was only a tribune of the thirteenth legion, the position of which in the battle is mentioned by Tacitus, Hist. xi 24, and was angusticlavias, wearing only the narrow stripe, as not being of the senatorial order; while Paulinus was a general, commanding a legion, at least, and a consular man; having filled that office A. u. c. 818. There seems no doubt that Suetonius Paulinus was the same general who distinguished himself by his successes and cruelties in Britain. NERO, c. xviii., and note. Not to extend the present note, we may shortly refer to our author's having already mentioned his grandfather (CALIGULA, c. xix.); besides other sources from which he drew his information. He tells us that he himself was then a boy. We have now arrived at the times in which his father bore a part. Such incidental notices, dropped by historical writers, have a certain value in enabling us to form a judgment on the genuineness of their narratives as to contemporaneous, or recent, events.
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