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The catastrophe, however, caused more panic among the besieged than among the besiegers. In fact, the troops of Vitellius lacked neither skill nor courage in the midst of peril. Opposed to them were soldiers without self-possession, and a spiritless and, so to speak, infatuated commander, who had not the use of his tongue or his ears, who would not be guided by other men's counsels, and could not carry out his own, who, hurried to and fro by the shouts of the enemy, forbade what he had just ordered, and ordered what he had just forbidden. Then, as usually happens when everything is lost, all gave orders, and no one obeyed. At last, they threw away their arms, and began to look about for ways of escape and means of concealment. The Vitellianists burst in, carrying everywhere with indiscriminate ferocity the firebrand and the sword. A few of the military men, among whom the most conspicuous were Cornelius Martialis, Æmilius Pacensis, Casperius Niger, and Didius Sceva, ventured to resist, and were cut down. Flavius Sabinus, who was unarmed, and who did not attempt to fly, was surrounded, and with him the consul Quinctius Atticus, marked out by his clinging to the shadow of office, and by his folly in having scattered among the people edicts highly eulogistic of Vespasian and insulting to Vitellius. The rest escaped by various chances, some disguised as slaves, others concealed by the fidelity of dependants, and hiding among the baggage. Some caught the watchword by which the Vitellianists recognised each other, and, themselves challenging others and giving it when challenged, found in their audacity an effectual disguise.

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