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His first intention was, immediately after the departure of Piso, to seize the camp, and fall upon Galba whilst he was at supper in the palace; but he was restrained by a regard for the cohort at that time on duty, lest he should bring too great an odium upon it; because it happened that the same cohort was on guard before, both when Caius was slain, and Nero deserted. For some time afterwards, he was restrained also by scruples about the omens, and by the advice of Seleucus. Upon the day fixed at last for the enterprise, having given his accomplices notice to wait for him in the forum near the temple of Saturn, at the gilded mile-stone, 1 he went in the morning to pay his respects to Galba; and being received with a kiss as usual, he attended him at sacrifice, and heard the predictions of the augur. 2 A freedman of his, then bringing him word that the architects were come, which was the signal agreed upon, he withdrew, as if it were with a design to view a house upon sale, and went out by a back-door of the palace to the place appointed. Some say he pretended to be seized with an ague fit, and ordered those about him to make that excuse for him, if he was inquired after. Being then quickly concealed in a woman's litter, he made the best of his way for the camp. But the bearers growing tired, he got out, and began to run. His shoe becoming loose, he stopped again, but being immediately raised by his attendants upon their shoulders, and unanimously saluted by the fitle of EMPEROR, he came amidst auspicious acclamations and drawn swords into the Principia3 in the camp; all who met him joining in the cavalcade, as if they had been privy to the design. Upon this, sending some soldiers to dispatch Galba and Piso, he said nothing else in his address to the soldiery, to secure their affections, than these few words: ",I shall be content with whatever ye think fit to leave me."
1 The Milliare Aureum was a pillar of stone set up at the top of the forum, from which all the great military roads throughout Italy started, the distances to the principal towns being marked upon it. Dio (lib. liv.) says that it was erected by the emperor Augustus, when he was curator of the roads.
2 Haruspex, Auspex, or Augur, denoted any person who foretold futurity, or interpreted omens. There was at Rome a body of priests, or college, under this title, whose office it was to foretell future events, chiefly from the flight, chirping, or feeding of birds, and from other appearances. They were of the greatest authority in the Roman state; for nothing of importance was done in public affairs, either at home or abroad, in peace or war, without consulting them. The Romans derived the practice of augury chiefly from the Tuscans; and anciently their youth used to be instructed as carefully in this art, as afterwards they were in the Greek literature. For this purpose, by a decree of the senate, a certain number of the sons of the leading men at Rome was sent to the twelve states of Etruria for instruction.
3 See before, note, c. i. The Principia was a broad open space, which separated the lower part of the Roman camp from the upper, and extended the whole breadth of the camp. In this place was erected the tribunal of the general, when he either administered justice or harangued the army. Here likewise the tribunes held their courts, and punishments were inflicted. The principal standards of the army, as it has been already mentioned, were deposited in the Principia; and in it also stood the altars of the gods, and the images of the emperors, by which the soldiers swore.
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