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At first Valerius Festus, the legate, loyally seconded the zeal of the provincials. Soon he began to waver, supporting Vitellius in his public dispatches and edicts, Vespasian in his secret correspondence, and intending to hold by the one or the other according as they might succeed. Some soldiers and centurions, coming through Rhætia and
Gaul, were seized with letters and edicts from Vespasian, and on being sent to Vitellius were put to death. More, however, eluded discovery, escaping either through the faithful protection of friends or by their own tact. Thus the preparations of Vitellius became known, while the plans of Vespasian were for the most part kept secret. At first the supineness of Vitellius was in fault; afterwards the occupation of the Pannonian Alps with troops stopped all intelligence. And on the sea the prevalent Etesian winds favoured an eastward voyage, but hindered all return.

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