Annals I: 17

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Postremo promptis iam et aliis seditionis ministris velut contionabundus interrogabat cur paucis centurionibus paucioribus tribunis in modum servorum oboedirent. quando ausuros exposcere remedia, nisi novum et nutantem adhuc principem precibus vel armis adirent? satis per tot annos ignavia peccatum, quod tricena aut quadragena stipendia senes et plerique truncato ex vulneribus corpore tolerent. ne dimissis quidem finem esse militiae, sed apud vexillum tendentes alio vocabulo eosdem labores perferre. ac si quis tot casus vita superaverit, trahi adhuc diversas in terras ubi per nomen agrorum uligines paludum vel inculta montium accipiant. enimvero militiam ipsam gravem, infructuosam: denis in diem assibus animam et corpus aestimari: hinc vestem arma tentoria, hinc saevitiam centurionum et vacationes munerum redimi. at hercule verbera et vulnera, duram hiemem, exercitas aestates, bellum atrox aut sterilem pacem sempiterna. nec aliud levamentum quam si certis sub legibus militia iniretur, ut singulos denarios mererent, sextus decumus stipendii annus finem adferret, ne ultra sub vexillis tenerentur, sed isdem in castris praemium pecunia solveretur. an praetorias cohortes, quae binos denarios acceperint, quae post sedecim annos penatibus suis reddantur, plus periculorum suscipere? non obtrectari a se urbanas excubias: sibi tamen apud horridas gentes e contuberniis hostem aspici.



At last, with others also now ready to be servants of the mutiny, he began to ask questions like someone delivering a public speech: why, in the manner of slaves, were they obeying a few centurions and fewer tribunes? When would they dare to demand remedies, if they would not approach a new and still wavering emperor with requests or with arms? There had been enough mistakes due to inactivity for so many years, since they were enduring thirty or forty years of service until old men, and most with their bodies mutilated with wounds. There was not even an end to military service for those who had been dismissed, but, pitching under the standard, they carried out the same tasks under a different title. And if anyone survived so many misfortunes with his life, he was dragged further to remote lands where, under the name of “fields”, they received damp bits of marshes or uncultivated bits of mountains. Indeed, military service itself was costly and fruitless: the soul and the body were valued at ten asses a day: out of this came their clothing, weapons and tents, out of this the savagery of the centurions was bought off and exemptions from duties bought. But, by Hercules, beatings and wounds, the harsh winter, gruelling summers, savage war, or barren peace, were everlasting. And no other consolation was there than if military service came under fixed conditions, so they might earn a denarius a day, the sixteenth year might bring an end to their service, that they would no longer be held under the standards, but in the same camp a reward should be paid in cash. Did the praetorian cohorts, who received two denarii a day, who were returned to their own homesteads after sixteen years, undertake more perils? The city watches were not undervalued by them: yet, among terrible peoples, the enemy was seen by them from their lodgings.