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IN a distant part of the world fortune was now preparing the origin and rise of a new dynasty, whose varied destinies brought happiness or misery on the State, prosperity or destruction on the Princes of its line. Titus Vespasian had been sent from Judæa by his father while Galba still lived, and alleged as a reason for his journey the homage due to the Emperor, and his age, which now qualified him to compete for office. But the vulgar, ever eager to invent, had spread the report that he was sent for to be adopted. The advanced years and childless condition of the Emperor furnished matter for such gossip, and the country never can refrain from naming many persons until one be chosen. The report gained the more credit from the genius of Titus himself, equal as it was to the most exalted fortune, from the mingled beauty and majesty of his countenance, from the prosperous fortunes of Vespasian, from the prophetic responses of oracles, and even from accidental occurrences which, in the general disposition to belief, were accepted as omens. At Corinth, the capital of Achaia, he received positive information of the death of Galba, and found men who spoke confidently of the revolt of Vitellius and of the fact of war. In the anxiety of his mind, he sent for a few of his friends, and carefully surveyed his position from both points of view. He considered that if he should proceed to Rome, he should get no thanks for a civility intended for another, while his person would be a hostage in the hands either of Vitellius or of Otho; that should he turn back, the conqueror would certainly be offended, but with the issue of the struggle still doubtful, and the father joining the party, the son would be excused; on the other hand, if Vespasian should assume the direc-
TITUS' MISSION TO ROME
tion of the state, men who had to think of war would have to forget such causes of offence.

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