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He governed the province during eight years, his administration being of an uncertain and capricious character. At first he was active, vigorous, and indeed excessively severe, in the punishment of offenders. For, a money-dealer having committed some fraud in the way of his business, he cut off his hands, and nailed them to his counter. Another, who had poisoned an orphan, to whom he was guardian, and next heir to the estate, he crucified. On this delinquent imploring the protection of the law, and crying out that he was a Roman citizen, he affected to afford him some alleviation, and to mitigate his punishment, by a mark of honour, ordered a cross, higher than usual, and painted white, to be erected for him But by degrees he gave himself up to a life of indolence and inactivity, from the fear of giving Nero any occasion of jealousy, and because, as he used to say, " Nobody was obliged to render an account of their leisure hours." He was holding a court of justice on the circuit at New Carthage,1 when he received intelligence of the insurrection in Gaul;2 and while the lieutenant of Aquitania was soliciting his assistance, letters were brought from Vindex, requesting him " to assert the rights of mankind, and put himself at their head to relieve them from the tyranny of Nero." Without any long demur, he accepted the invitation, from a mixture of fear and hope. For he had discovered that private orders had been sent by Nero to his procurators in the province to get him dispatched; and he was encouraged to the enterprise, as well by several auspices and omens, as by the prophecy of a young woman of good family. The more so, because the priest of Jupiter at Clunia, 3 admonished by a dream, had discovered in the recesses of the temple some verses similar to those in which she had delivered her prophecy. These had also been uttered by a girl under divine inspiration, about two hundred years before. The import of the verses was, "That in time, Spain should give the world a lord and master."
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