The Annals of Imperial Rome

By Cornelius Tacitus; Michael Grant | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Mutiny on the Frontiers

WHILE these events were taking place at Rome, mutiny broke out in the regular army in Pannonia. There were no fresh motives for this, except that the change of emperors offered hopes of rioting with impunity and collecting the profits afforded by civil wars. Three brigades were stationed together in a summer camp with Quintus Junius Blaesus in command. When he heard of the death of Augustus and accession of Tiberius, he suspended normal duty for public mourning (or rejoicing). This was when insubordination and altercation began.

Before long, easy living and idleness were all the troops wanted; the idea of work and discipline became distasteful. There was a man called Percennius in the camp. Having become a private soldier after being a professional applause-leader in the theatre, he was insolent of tongue, and experienced in exciting crowds to cheer actors. The soldiers, simple men, were worried -- now that Augustus was dead -- about their future terms of service. Percennius gradually worked on them. After dark or in the evening twilight, when the better elements had dispersed to their tents and the riff-raff collected, they talked with him.

Finally Percennius had acquired a team of helpers ready for mutiny. Then he made something like a public speech. 'Why', he asked, 'obey, like slaves, a few commanders of companies, fewer still of battalions? You will never be brave enough to demand better conditions if you are not prepared to petition -- or threaten -- an emperor who is new and still faltering. Inactivity has done quite enough harm in all these years. Old men, mutilated by wounds, are serving their thirtieth or fortieth year. And even after your official discharge your service is not finished; for you stay on with the colours as a reserve, still under canvas -- the same drudgery under another name! And if you manage to survive all these hazards, even then you are dragged off to a remote country and "settled" in some waterlogged swamp or untilled moun-

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The Annals of Imperial Rome
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • The Annals Of Imperial Rome 27
  • Chapter 1 - From Augustus to Tiberius 29
  • Chapter 2 - Mutiny on the Frontiers 41
  • Chapter 3 - War with the Germans 59
  • Chapter 4 - The First Treason Trials 88
  • Chapter 5 - The Death of Germanicus 102
  • Chapter 6 - Tiberius and the Senate 126
  • Chapter 7 - 'Partner of My Labours' 153
  • Chapter 8 - The Reign of Terror 193
  • Part Two - Claudius and Nero 223
  • Chapter 9 - The Fall of Messalina 225
  • Chapter 10 - The Mother of Nero 244
  • Chapter II - The Fall of Agrippina 274
  • Chapter 12 - Nero and His Helpers 310
  • Chapter 13 - Eastern Settlement 334
  • Chapter 14 - The Burning of Rome 349
  • Chapter 15 - The Plot 356
  • Chapter 16 - Innocent Victims 370
  • Notes 385
  • List of Roman Emperors 399
  • Lists of Some Eastern Monarchs 400
  • Key to Technical Terms 402
  • Key to Place-Names 410
  • Genealogical Tables 433
  • Index of Personal Names 439
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