Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
The posts of centurions in the legions, on which in the mode of warfare of that time the efficiency of the divisions essentially depended, and to which according to the national military constitution the soldier served his way upward with the pike, were now not merely regularly conferred according to favour, but were not unfrequently sold to the highest bidder. In consequence of the bad financial management of the government and the venality and fraud of the great majority of the magistrates, the payment of the soldiers was extremely defective and irregular.
The necessary consequence of this was, that in the ordinary course of things the Roman armies pillaged the provincials, mutinied against their officers, and ran off in presence of the enemy; instances occurred where considerable armies, such as the Macedonian army of Piso in 697,(33) were without any proper defeat utterly ruined, simply by this misconduct.
33. Cf. V. VII. Macedonia ff.
Capable leaders on the other hand, such as Pompeius, Caesar, Gabinius, formed doubtless out of the existing materials able and effective, and to some extent exemplary, armies; but these armies belonged far more to their general than to the commonwealth. The still more complete decay of the Roman marine--which, moreover, had remained an object of antipathy to the Romans and had never been fully nationalized-- scarcely requires to be mentioned. Here too, on all sides, everything that could be ruined at all had been reduced to ruin under the oligarchic government.
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