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While these successes were being achieved on the side of Vitellius, the army of Vespasian had left Narnia, and was passing the holiday of the Saturnalia in idleness at Ocriculum. The reason alleged for so injurious a delay was that they might wait for Mucianus. Some persons indeed there were who assailed Antonius with insinuations, that he lingered with treacherous intent, after receiving private letters from Vitellius, which conveyed to him the offer of the consulship and of the Emperor's daughter in marriage with a vast dowry, as the price of treason. Others asserted that this was all a fiction, invented to please Mucianus. Some again alleged that the policy agreed upon by all the generals was to threaten rather than actually to attack the capital, as Vitellius' strongest cohorts had revolted from him, and it seemed likely that, deprived of all support, he would abdicate the throne, but that the whole plan was ruined by the impatience and subsequent cowardice of Sabinus, who, after rashly taking up arms, had not been able to defend against three cohorts the great stronghold of the Capitol, which might have defied even the mightiest armies. One cannot, however, easily fix upon one man the blame which belongs to all. Mucianus did in fact delay the conquerors by ambig-
COSTLY DELAY OF FLAVIANISTS
uously-worded dispatches; Antonius, by a perverse acquiescence, or by an attempt to throw the odium upon another, laid himself open to blame; the other generals, by imagining that the war was over, contrived a distinction for its closing scene. Even Petilius Cerialis, though he had been sent on with a thousand cavalry by cross roads through the Sabine district so as to enter Rome by the Via Salaria, had not been sufficiently prompt in his movements, when the report of the siege of the Capitol put all alike on the alert.

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