Text #1924

Dio Cassius. Roman History. Series: Dio's Roman History. Vol. 4
[DioCass. 41.14. Translated by Earnest Cary. William Heinemann. 1916. (9 Vols.) pp. 27--29]


1 Now at the very moment of coming to land at Dyrrachium he learned that he should not obtain a prosperous outcome. For thunderbolts destroyed some soldiers even as the ships were approaching; spiders occupied the army standards; and after he had left the vessel serpents followed and obliterated his footprints. 2 These were the portents which came to him personally, but for the whole capital others had occurred both that year and a short time previously; for there is no doubt that in civil wars the state is injured by both parties. Hence many wolves and owls were seen in the city itself 3 and continual earthquakes with bellowings took place, fire darted across from the west to the east, and another fire consumed the temple of Quirinus as well as of the buildings. The sun, too, suffered a total eclipse, and thunderbolts damaged a sceptre of Jupiter and a shield and a helmet of Mars that were votive offerings on the Capitol, and likewise the tables which contained the laws. 4 Many animals brought forth creatures outside of their own species, some oracles purporting to be those of the Sibyl were made known, and some men became inspired and uttered numerous divinations. No prefect of the city was chosen for the Feriae, as had been the the custom, but the praetors, at least according to some accounts, performed all his duties; others, however, say they did this in the following year. 5 That, to be sure, was an occurrence that happened again; but at this time Perperna, who had once been censor with Philippus, died, being the last, as I have stated1, of all the senators who had been alive in his censorship. This event, too, seemed to portend some political change. 6 Now the people were naturally disturbed at the portents, but as both sides thought and hoped that the calamities would all light on their opponents, they offered no expiatory sacrifices.

  1. In a book now lost. [OF]

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