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As the occupation of Mevania, and the apparent revival of the war with new vigour, had struck terror into Italy, so now did the timorous retreat of Vitellius give an unequivocal bias in favour of the Flavianists. The Samnites, the Peligni, and the Marsi, roused themselves, jealous at having been anticipated by Campania, and, as men who serve a new master, were energetic in all the duties of war. The army, however, was much distressed by bad weather in its passage over the Apennines, and since they could hardly struggle through the snow, though their march was unmolested, they perceived what danger they would have had to encounter, had not Vitellius been made to turn back by that good fortune, which, not less often than the wisdom of their counsels, helped the Flavianist generals. Here they fell in with Petilius Cerialis, who had escaped the sentries of Vitellius by a rustic disguise and by his knowledge of the country. There was a near relationship between Cerialis and Vespasian, and he was not without reputation as a soldier. He was therefore admitted to rank among the generals. It has been said by many that the means of escape were likewise open to Flavius Sabinus and to Domitian, and indeed messengers, dispatched by Antonius, contrived under various disguises to make their way to them, offering them a place of refuge and a protecting force. Sabinus pleaded his ill health, unsuited to toil and adventure. Domitian did not want the courage, but he feared that the guards whom Vitellius had set over him, though they offered to accompany him in his flight, had treacherous designs. And Vitellius himself, out of a regard for his own connexions, did not meditate any cruelty against Domitian.