When the senate had passed these resolutions, the praetor consulted the college, and Lucius Cornelius Lentulus, the Pontifex Maximus, gave his opinion that first of all a popular vote must [p. 233]
be taken about the Sacred Spring; for it could1
not be vowed without the authorization of the people.
The question was put to them in this form: “Do you will and so order that these things be done in the manner following? If the Republic of the Roman People, the Quirites, shall be preserved for the next five years2
—as I would wish it preserved —in
these wars, to wit, the war of the Roman People with the People of Carthage and the wars with the Gauls on this side of the Alps, let the Roman People, the Quirites, offer up in indefeasible sacrifice to Jupiter what the spring shall have produced of swine, sheep, goats and cattle —which shall not have been consecrated to some other deity —beginning with the day which the senate and the People shall have designated.3
Let him who shall make a sacrifice do so at such time and by such rite as shall seem good to him; in what manner soever he does it, let it be accounted duly done.
If the animal which he ought to sacrifice dies, let it be deemed unconsecrate and let no guilt attach to him; if any shall hurt it or slay it unawares, let it be no sin; if any shall steal it, let no guilt attach to the People nor to him from whom it shall have been stolen;
if he shall sacrifice unwittingly on a black day,4
let the sacrifice be deemed to have been duly made; by night or by day, if slave or freeman perform the sacrifice, let it be deemed to have been duly made; if sacrifice shall be performed before the senate and the People [p. 235]
shall have ordered it to be performed, let the People5
be absolved therefrom and free
For the same cause great games were vowed, to cost three hundred and thirty-three thousand, three hundred and thirty-three and a third bronze asses,6
and, besides, a sacrifice to Jupiter of three hundred oxen, and of white oxen and the other customary victims to many other gods. When the vows had been duly pronounced, a supplication was decreed, and was performed not only by the urban population, with their wives and children, but by such country folk besides, as, having some fortune of their own, were beginning to feel concern for
the Commonwealth. A lectisternium
was then celebrated during three days under the supervision of the decemvirs who had charge of sacrifices. Six couches were displayed: one for Jupiter and Juno, a second for Neptune and Minerva, a third for Mars and Venus, a fourth for Apollo and Diana, a fifth for Vulcan and Vesta, a sixth for Mercury
The temples were then vowed —that to Venus Erycina by Quintus Fabius Maximus the dictator, because the Books of Fate had given out that he whose authority in the state was paramount should make the vow; and the temple to Mens by the praetor Titus Otacilius.