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Paullinus had collected all the troops who, having been disbanded by Vitellius, were now spontaneously taking up arms, and was holding with this force the colony of Forum Julii, which commanded the sea. His influence was all the greater, because Forum Julii was his native place, and because he was respected by the Prætorians, in which force he had once been a tribune. The inhabitants themselves, favouring a fellow-townsman, and anticipating his future greatness, did their best to promote the cause. When these preparations, which were really formidable and were exaggerated by report, became known among the now distracted Vitellianists, Fabius Valens returned to his ships with four soldiers of the body-guard, three personal friends, and as many centurions, while Maturus and the rest chose to remain behind and swear allegiance to Vespasian. For Valens indeed the open sea was safer than the coast or the towns, yet, all uncertain about the future, and knowing rather what he must avoid than what he could trust, he was thrown by adverse weather on the Stœchades, islands off Massilia. There he was captured by some Liburnian ships, dispatched by Paullinus.