On the day on which the consuls entered on their office, the senate was assembled in the Capitol, and in the first place [p. 908]
was passed to the effect that the consuls should draw lots, and settle between themselves which should hold the election for the creation of censors, before they proceeded to join the army.
Next, all those who had the command of armies were continued in their offices, and ordered to remain in their provinces; Tiberius Gracchus at Luceria, where he was with an army of volunteer slaves; Caius Terentius Varro in the Picenian, and Manius Pomponius in the Gallic territory.
Of the praetors of the former year, it was settled that Quintus Mucius should have the government of Sardinia as proprietor, Marcus Valerius the command of the sea-coast near Brundusium, watchful against all the movements of Philip, king of the Macedonians.
To Publius Cornelius Lentulus, the praetor, the province of Sicily was assigned. Titus Otacilius received the same fleet which he had employed the year before against the Carthaginians. Many prodigies were reported to have happened this year, which increased in proportion as they were believed by the credulous and superstitious.
That crows had built a nest within the temple of Juno Sospita at Lanuvium;
that a green palm-tree had taken fire in Apulia; that a pool at Mantua, formed by the overflowing of the river Mincius, had assumed the appearance of blood; that it had rained chalk at Cales, and blood at Rome in the cattle market;
that a fountain under ground in the Istrian street had discharged so violent a stream of water, that rolling along with the impetuosity of a torrent, it carried away the butts and casks which were near it;
that the public court in the Capitol had been struck by lightning; also the temple of Vulcan in the Campus Martius, a nut-tree in the Sabine territory, a wall and gate at Gabii.
Now other miracles were published: that the spear of Mars at Praeneste moved forward of its own accord; that in Sicily an ox had spoken; that a child in the womb of its mother cried out Io Triumphe! in the country of the Marrucinians; at Spoletum, that a woman was transformed into a man; at Hadria, that an altar, with appearances as of men surrounding it in white clothing, was seen in the heavens.
Nay, even in the city of Rome itself, after a swarm of bees had been seen in the forum, some persons roused the citizens to arms, affirming that they saw armed legions on the Janiculum;
but those who were on the Janiculum at the time, declared that they had seen no person there besides the usual cultivators [p. 909]
of the hill.
These prodigies were expiated by victims of the larger kind, according to the response of the aruspices; and a supplication was ordered to all the deities who had shrines at Rome.