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Italy, however, was prostrated under sufferings heavier and more terrible than the evils of war. The soldiers of Vitellius, dispersed through the municipal towns and colonies, were robbing and plundering and polluting every place with violence and lust. Everything, lawful or unlawful, they were ready to seize or to sell, sparing nothing, sacred or profane. Some persons under the soldiers' garb murdered their private enemies. The soldiers themselves, who knew the country well, marked out rich estates and wealthy owners for plunder, or for death in case of resistance; their commanders were in their power and dared not check them. Cæcina indeed was not so rapacious as he was fond of popularity; Valens was so notorious for his dishonest gains and peculations that he was disposed to conceal the crimes of others. The resources of Italy had long been impaired, and the presence of so vast a force of infantry and cavalry, with the outrages, the losses, and the wrongs they inflicted, was more than it could well endure.

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