It was further voted that for prodigies the atonement be made before the consuls should set out from the city.
On the Alban Mount a statue of Jupiter and a tree near the temple had been struck by lightning; and at Ostia a basin,1
and at Capua the city wall and the temple of Fortune, and at Sinuessa the wall and a gate.
These were struck by lightning. Also some persons testified that the current of the outlet2
of the Alban Lake was blood-red, and that at Rome inside the cella of the Temple of Fors Fortuna3
a small image on a garland fell of itself from the head of the statue into the hand.
And at Privernum it was established that an ox spoke, and that in the crowded market-place a vulture flew down upon a shop, and that at Sinuessa [p. 251]
a child was born of uncertain sex, as between male4
and female —the
populace call them hermaphrodites, as it uses many similar terms, since the Greek language is more apt in compounding words —; also that it rained milk there, and that a child was born with the head of an elephant.
These prodigies were atoned for with full-grown victims, and prayers were ordered at all the pulvinaria,5
and entreaties for one day. And it was decreed that Gaius Hostilius, the praetor, should vow and conduct games in honour of Apollo, as they had been vowed and conducted in those years.6
About that time Quintus Fulvius, the consul, also held an election for the naming of censors.7
Marcus Cornelius Cethegus and Publius Sempronius Tuditanus, both of whom had not yet been consuls, were named censors.
That these censors should lease lands in the Campanian region was proposed to the commons on the authority of the senate, and the commons so ordered.
The revision of the list of the senate was delayed by a dispute between the censors in regard to the choice of a princeps senatus.
The choice belonged to Sempronius; but Cornelius said that they must follow the traditional custom of the senate, namely, to choose as princeps
the man who, among the living, had been censor first. That was Titus Manlius Torquatus.
Sempronius claimed that if the gods had given a man the choice by lot, they also gave him an unrestricted right; he would make the choice according to his own judgment, and would choose Quintus Fabius Maximus, whom he could prove, even with Hannibal as judge, to be at that time the first citizen of the Roman state.
After the war of words had [p. 253]
lasted long, his colleague was giving way, and8
Sempronius chose Quintus Fabius Maximus, the consul, as princeps senatus.
Then the rest of the list of the senate was made up, with eight men ignored, among whom was Marcus Caecilius Metellus, notorious as having advised the desertion of Italy after the disaster at Cannae.9
In attaching their nota
to knights also the same principle was maintained, but very few were the men to whom that notoriety applied.
From all of those who, as horsemen belonging to the legions from Cannae, were in Sicily —and there were many of them —their horses were taken away.
To this severity the censors added also prolonged service —that the years previously served with horses furnished by the state should not be reckoned, but that they must serve ten years, furnishing their own mounts.
Furthermore they sought out a great number of the men who were bound to serve in the cavalry, and reduced to the grade of aerarii10
all those who at the beginning of the war had been seventeen years old and had not served.
They then contracted for the rebuilding of what had been destroyed by fire around the Forum, namely, seven shops, the market, the Atrium Regium.11