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Though it was the general opinion that it would be proper to protract the war, as the enemy were distressed by famine and the straitness of their quarters, yet he resolved with equal rashness to force them to an engagement as soon as possible; whether from impatience of prolonged anxiety, and in the hope of bringing matters to an issue before the arrival of Vitellius, or because he could not resist the ardour of the troops, who were all clamorous for battle. He was not, however, present at any of those which ensued, but stayed behind at Brixellum.1 He had the advantage in three slight engagements, near the Alps, about Placentia, and a place called Castor's;2 but was, by a fraudulent stratagem of the enemy, defeated in the last and greatest battle at Bedriacum.3 For, some hopes of a conference being given, and the soldiers being drawn up to hear the conditions of peace declared, very unexpectedly, and amidst their mutual salutations, they were obliged to stand to their arms. Immediately upon this he determined to put an end to his life, more, as many think, and not without reason, out of shame, at persisting in a struggle for the empire to the hazard of the public interest and so many lives, than from despair, or distrust of his troops. For he had still in reserve, and in full force, those whom he had kept about him for a second trial of his fortune, and others were coming up from Dalmatia, Pannonia, and Moesia; nor were the troops lately defeated so far discouraged as not to be ready, even of themselves, to run all risks in order to wipe off their recent disgrace.
3 Both Greek and Latin authors differ in the mode of spelling the name of this place, the first syllable being written Beb, Bet, and Bret. It is now a small village called Labino, between Cremona and Verona.
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