Julius Paullus and Claudius Civilis, scions
of the royal family, ranked very high above the rest of their nation.
Paullus was executed by Fonteius Capito on a false charge of rebellion.
Civilis was put in chains and sent to Nero, and though acquitted by Galba,
again stood in peril of his life in the time of Vitellius, when the army
clamoured for his execution. Here were causes of deep offence; hence arose
hopes built on our disasters. Civilis, however, was naturally politic to a
degree rarely found among barbarians. He was wont to represent himself as
Sertorius or Hannibal, on the
strength of a similar disfigurement of his countenance.
To avoid the opposition which he would encounter as a public enemy, were he
openly to revolt from Rome
, he affected a friendship
for Vespasian and a zealous attachment to his party; and indeed a letter had
been despatched to him by Primus Antonius, in which he was directed to
divert the reinforcements which Vitellius had called up, and to keep the
legions where they were by the feint of an outbreak in Germany
. The same policy was suggested by Hordeonius in
person; he had a bias towards Vespasian, and feared for the Empire, the
utter ruin of which would be very near, were a fresh war with so many
thousands of armed men to burst upon Italy