A letter from Quintus Minucius, the praetor in charge of the province of Bruttium, was then read in the senate: money had been stealthily removed at night from the treasure-house of Persephone at Locri, nor were there any clues as to the perpetrators of the crime.
The senate was indignant that such sacrileges should continue to be committed, and that even the case of Pleminius,1
so recent an example of crime and its punishment, did not deter criminals.
The consul Gaius Aurelius was directed to communicate to the praetor in Bruttium the senate's desire that the plundering of the treasury should be investigated in the manner adopted by the praetor Marcus Pomponius2
three years before; that any money discovered be restored; that if there was any shortage, it should be made up, and that, if he saw fit, expiatory sacrifices should be performed as the priests had prescribed in the previous case.
The concern to atone for the violation of this temple was increased by the prodigies which were reported in [p. 39]
numerous parts of the country at the same time.
Lucania, flames in the sky were reported; at Privernum, the sun shone red throughout the day in clear weather; at Lanuvium, in the temple of Juno Sospita, a mighty noise was heard during the night.
Further, dread forms of animals were reported in several places: among the Sabines, a child of uncertain sex was born, while another was found whose sex, at the age of sixteen, could not be determined. At Frusino there was born a lamb with a pig's head, at Sinuessa a pig with a man's head, on the public land in Lucania, a colt with five feet.
All these disgusting and monstrous creatures seemed to be signs that nature was confusing species; but beyond all else the hermaphrodites caused terror, and they were ordered to be carried out to sea, as had been done with a similar monstrosity not long before in the consulship of Gaius Claudius and Marcus Livius.4
Nevertheless, the decemvirs5
were ordered to consult the Books regarding the portent. They, as a result of the investigation, ordered the same rites that had been performed when such a prodigy had appeared before. In addition, they directed that a hymn be sung throughout the city by thrice nine maidens, and that an offering be made to Queen Juno.6
Gaius Aurelius the consul saw to the performance of these rites in accordance with the answer of the decemvirs. The hymn, composed in the memory of our fathers by Livius, was on this occasion written by Publius Licinius Tegula.7