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Though he had thus quietly divided the conquered party, there arose a disturbance among the conquerors. It began in sport, but the number of those who fell aggravated the horrors of the war. Vitellius had sat down to a banquet at Ticinum, and had invited Verginius to be his guest. The legates and tribunes always follow the character of the Emperor, and either imitate his strictness, or indulge in early conviviality. And the soldiers in like manner are either diligent or lax in their duty. About Vitellius all was disorder and drunkenness, more like a nocturnal feast and revel than a properly disciplined camp. Thus it happened that two soldiers, one of whom belonged to the 5th legion, while the other was one of the Gallic auxiliaries, challenged each other in sport to a wrestling match. The legionary was thrown, and the Gaul taunted him. The soldiers who had assembled to witness the contest took different sides, till the legionaries made a sudden and murderous attack on the auxiliary troops, and destroyed two cohorts. The first disturbance was checked only by a second. A cloud of dust and the glitter of arms were seen at a distance. A sudden cry was raised that the 14th legion had retraced its steps, and was advancing to the attack. It was in fact the rearguard of the army, and their recognition removed the cause of alarm. Meanwhile a slave of Verginius happened to come in their way. He was charged with having designed the assassination of Vitellius. The soldiers rushed to the scene of the banquet, and loudly demanded the death of Verginius. Even Vitellius, tremblingly alive as he was to all suspicions, had no doubt of his innocence. Yet he could hardly check the troops when they clamoured for the death of a man of consular rank, formerly their own general. Indeed there was no one who was more frequently the object of all kinds of outbreaks than Verginius; the man still was admired, still retained his high reputation, but they hated him with the hatred of those who are despised.

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