Text #9781

Livy. History of Rome
[Liv. 5.13. Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts. J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd.. 1905]


The Volscian Anxur was recaptured owing to the laxity of the guard during a festival. The year was remarkable for such a cold and snowy winter that the roads were blocked and the Tiber rendered unnavigable. There was no change in the price of corn, owing to a previous accumulation [2] of supplies. P. Licinius had won his position without exciting any disturbance, more to the delight of the people than to the annoyance of the senate, and he discharged his office in such a way that there was a general desire to choose the consular tribunes out of the plebeians at the [3] next election. The only patrician candidate who secured a place was M. Veturius. The rest, who were plebeians, received the support of nearly all the centuries. Their names were M. Pomponius, Cnaeus Duilius, Volero Publilius, and [4] Cnaeus Genucius. In consequence either of the unhealthy weather occasioned by the sudden change from cold to heat, or from some other cause, the severe winter was followed by a pestilential summer, which proved fatal to man [5] and beast. As neither a cause nor a cure could be found for its fatal ravages, the senate ordered the Sibylline Books to be consulted. The priests who had charge of them appointed for the first time in Rome [6] a lectisternium. Apollo and Latona, Diana and Hercules, Mercury and Neptune were for eight days propitiated on three couches decked with the most magnificent coverlets that could be obtained. Solemnities were conducted also in [7] private houses. It is stated that throughout the City the front gates of the houses were thrown open and all sorts of things placed for general use in the open courts, all comers, whether acquaintances or strangers, being brought in to share [8] the hospitality. Men who had been enemies held friendly and sociable conversations with each other and abstained from all litigation, the manacles even were removed from prisoners during this period, and afterwards it seemed an act of impiety that men to whom the gods had brought such relief should be put in chains again.

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