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At length Vitellius, appalled by the irruption of the enemy and by the menacing intelligence from every quarter, ordered Cæcina and Valens to take the field. Cæcina was sent on in advance; Valens, who was just recovering from a severe illness, was delayed by weakness. Far different was the appearance of the Germany army as it marched out of the capital. All strength had departed from their bodies, all energy from their spirits. Slowly, and with thin ranks, the column moved along, their weapons feebly grasped, their horses spiritless. The soldiers, impatient of the heat, the dust, and the weather, in proportion as they were less capable of enduring toil, were more ready for mutiny. All this was aggravated by the old vanity of Cæcina, and by the indolence that had of late crept over him; presuming on the excessive favour of fortune, he had abandoned himself to luxury. Perhaps he meditated perfidy, and it was part of his policy to enervate the courage of the army. Many believe that his fidelity had been shaken by the suggestions of Flavius Sabinus, who employed Rubrius Gallus as the bearer of communications intimating that the conditions of desertion would be held binding by Vespasian. At the same time he was reminded of his hatred and jealously of Fabius Valens. Being inferior to his rival in influence with Vitellius, he should seek to secure favour and power with the new Emperor.

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