Text #9190History of Rome. Vol. 5 .
[Liv. 22.1.5--22.1.18. Translated by B. O. Foster. Harvard University Press. (14 Vols.) pp. 201--205]
Men’s fears were augmented by the prodigies reported simultaneously from many places: that in Sicily the javelins of several soldiers had taken fire, and that in Sardinia, as a horseman was making the round of the night-watch, the same thing had happened to the truncheon which he held in his hand; that many fires had blazed up on the shore; that two shields had sweated blood; that certain soldiers had been struck with lightning; that the sun’s disk had seemed to be contracted; that glowing stones had fallen from the sky at Praeneste; that at Arpi bucklers had appeared in the sky and the sun had seemed to be fighting with the moon; that at Capena two moons had risen in the daytime; that the waters of Caere had flowed mixed with blood, and that bloodstains had appeared in the water that trickled from the spring of Hercules itself; that at Antium, when some men were reaping, bloody ears of corn had fallen into their basket; that at Falerii the sky had seemed to be rent as it were with a great fissure, and through the opening a bright light had shone; and that lots had shrunk and that one had fallen out without being touched, on which was written, “Mavors brandishes his spear”; that in Rome, about the same time, the statue of Mars on the Appian Way and the images of the wolves had sweated; that at Capua there had been the appearance of a sky on fire and of a moon that fell in the midst of a shower of rain. …
Finally the month was now December - victims were slain at the temple of Saturn in Rome and a lectisternium was ordered - this time senators administered the rite - and a public feast, and throughout the City for a day and a night “Saturnalia” was cried, and the people were bidden to keep that day as a holiday and observe it in perpetuity.1
The Saturnalia had been established as an annual festival in connexion with the dedication of the temple of Saturn on December 19th, 497 BC. Now the public feast was added to the former rites, and in course of time the festival was prolonged for several days. ↩