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Much however as Vitellius indulged his generals, his soldiers enjoyed yet greater licence. Every one chose his own service. However unfit, he might, if he preferred it, be enrolled among the soldiers of the capital. Soldiers again of good character were allowed, if they so wished, to remain with the legions, or in the cavalry; and this was the choice of many who were worn out with disease, or who shrank from the unhealthiness of the climate. But the main strength of the legions and cavalry was drafted from them, while the old glory of the Prætorian camp was destroyed by these
HIS ARMY DEMORALIZED
20,000 men indiscriminately taken rather than chosen out of the whole army. While Vitellius was haranguing the troops, the men called out for the execution of Asiaticus, and of Flavius and Rufinus, the Gallic chieftains, because they had fought for Vindex. He never checked these cries: for to say nothing of the cowardice natural to that feeble soul, he was aware that the distribution of a donative was imminent, and, having no money, he lavished every thing else on the soldiers. A contribution in the form of a tax was exacted from the freedmen of former Emperors in proportion to the number of their slaves. Vitellius himself, thinking only how to squander, was building a stable for his charioteers, was filling the circus with shows of gladiators and wild beasts, and fooling away his money as if he had the most abundant supplies.

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