This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
He had advanced to the command of the Prætorian Guard Publius Sabinus, a prefect of the cohort, and Julius Priscus, then only a centurion. It was through the influence of Cæcina and Valens that they respectively rose to power. Though always at variance, these two men left no authority to Vitellius. The functions of Empire were discharged by Cæcina and Valens. They had long before been led to suspect each other by animosities scarcely concealed amid the cares of the campaign and the camp, and aggravated by unprincipled friends and a state of society calculated to produce such feuds. In their struggles for popularity, in their long retinues, and in the vast crowds at their levees, they vied with each other and challenged comparison, while the favour of Vitellius inclined first to one, and then to the other. There can never be complete confidence in a power which is excessive. Vitellius himself, who was ever varying between sudden irritation and unseasonable fondness, they at once despised and feared. Still this had not made them less keen to seize on palaces and gardens and all the wealth of the Empire, while a sad and needy throng of nobles, whom with their children Galba had restored to their country, received no relief from the compassion of the Emperor. By an edict which gratified the leading men of the State, while it approved itself even to the populace, Vitellius gave back to the returned exiles their rights over their freedmen, although servile ingenuity sought in every way to neutralise the boon, concealing money in quarters which either obscurity or rank rendered secure. Some freedmen had made their way into the palace of the Emperor, and thus became more powerful even than their patrons.