It so happened that at Rome preparations were making to repeat the Great Games.1
The reason of the repetition was as follows: at an early hour of the day appointed for the games, before the show had begun, a certain householder had driven his slave, bearing a yoke, through the midst of the circus, scourging the culprit as he went.
The games had then been begun, as though this circumstance had in no way affected their sanctity. Not long after, Titus Latinius, a plebeian, had a dream. He dreamt that Jupiter said that the leading dancer at the games2
had not been to his liking; that unless there were a sumptuous repetition of the festival the City would be in danger; that Latinius was to go and announce this to the consuls.
Though the man's conscience was by no means at ease, nevertheless the awe he felt at the majesty of the magistrates was too great; he was afraid of becoming a laughing-stock.
Heavy was the price he paid for his hesitation, for a few days later he lost his son. Lest this sudden calamity should leave any uncertainty as to its cause in the mind of the wretched man, the same phantom appeared again before him in his dreams, and asked [p. 339]
him, as he thought, whether he had been sufficiently3
repaid for spurning the gods; for a greater recompense was at hand unless he went quickly and informed the consuls.
This brought the matter nearer home. Yet he still delayed and put off going, till a violent attack of illness suddenly laid him low.
Then at last the anger of the gods taught him wisdom. And so, worn out with his sufferings, past and present, he called a council of his kinsmen and explained to them what he had seen and heard, how Jupiter had so often confronted him in his sleep, and how the threats and anger of the god had been instantly fulfilled in his own misfortunes.
Then, with the unhesitating approval of all who were present, he was carried on a litter to the consuls in the Forum; and thence, by their command, to the Curia, where he had no sooner told the same story to the Fathers, greatly to the wonder of them all, when — lo, another miracle!
For it is related that he who had been carried into the senate-house afflicted in all his members, returned home, after discharging his duty, on his own feet.