Text #8636

Obsequens. "A Book of Prodigies After the 505th year of Rome"


M. Marcello C. Sulpicio coss. AUC 588/166 BC

In Campania it rained earth in many places. In Praenestine territory showers of blood fell. At Veii wool sprouted from trees. At Tarracina in the temple of Minerva, three women, who were seated working, were killed by lightning. At the grove of Libitina water poured for a long time from the mouth and foot of a bronze equestrian statue. The Ligurian Gauls were destroyed.

There were assemblies that were overly competitive and because of this the senate was held on the Capitol, a flying kite sent a weasel that had been snatched up from the cella of Jupiter into the middle of the senator’s meeting. Around the same time the temple of Salus was struck from the sky. On the Quirinal hill blood drenched the earth. At Lanuvium a torch was seen in the night sky. Many places at Cassinum were shattered by lightning and the sun was seen at night for some hours. At Teanum Sidicinum a boy with four hands the same number of feet was born. After the city had been lustrated there was peace at home and abroad.

Text #9300

Editorial comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

The brief statement “The Ligurian Gauls were destroyed” is another furiously vague comment in Obsequens’ epitome of Livy. From the Periochae1 we get only a few additional shreds of information:

King Eumenes [II Soter of Asia], who had taken an ambiguous stance during the Macedonian war, came to Rome. To prevent him appearing to be considered an enemy, if he was not permitted to enter, or acquitted, if he was admitted, a general law was passed that no king could be permitted to enter Rome.

Consul Claudius Marcellus subdued the Alpine Gauls, consul Gaius Sulpicius Gallus the Ligurians.

Envoys of king Prusias complained that Eumenes ravaged their territory and said that he conspired with Antiochus [IV Epiphanes] against the Roman people. At their request, an alliance was concluded with the Rhodians.

From The Fasti Triumphales:2


166/5 M. Claudius M.f. M.n. Marcellus, consul, over the Contrubian Gauls, Ligurians and Eleates, k.Interk.

166/5 [C. Sulpici]us C.f. C.n. Galus, consul, over the Ligurian Ta[…]rni, 10 k.Mart. {20th February}

What seems to be certain is that some extraordinary things were going on in this years.

  1. A fourth-century excerpt. The books that were used by the maker of the Periochae appear to have been in bad condition. When we can control the text of the complete books with a summary (i.e., Books 1-10 and 21-45), sometimes the sequence of the events, as given in the Periochae, is not identical to that in the real books. At the very end, summaries of two books (136 and 137) are lacking, although it is possible that they have been integrated in the Periocha of book 141. Another remarkable aspect of the Periochae is that they tend to become shorter. There is no explanation for this phenomenon. Probably the epitomator was simply tired, but it can not be excluded that it partly reflects that Livy’s books tend to become shorter, something is evident in books 30-45.

  2. The Fasti Triumphales were published in about 12 B.C. They contain a list of triumphs from the foundation of Rome down to the reign of Augustus. They are preserved as part of a larger inscription, the Fasti Capitolini, which is now displayed at the Capitoline Museums in Rome. This translation is based on the edition by A. Degrassi {“Fasti Capitolini”, 1954}

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