The consul Titus Quinctius, when he had conducted his levy in such a way as to select generally soldiers of tried courage who had served in Spain or Africa, and was hastening his departure for his province, was detained by reports of prodigies and by their expiation.
Lightning struck a public highway at Veii, the forum and temple of Jupiter at Lanuvium, the temple of Hercules at Ardea, the wall and towers and the so-called “White Temple” at Capua; flames were seen in the sky at Arretium;
the earth subsided in a great cavern three iugera
in extent at Velitrae; at Suessa Aurunca men said that a two-headed lamb was born, and at Sinuessa [p. 179]
a pig with a man's head.
By reason of these prodigies1
a day of prayer was proclaimed, and the consuls attended to the sacrifices and, having appeased the gods, departed to their provinces, Aelius with the praetor Helvius to Gaul;
and the army which he received from Lucius Lentulus, and which he was under obligation to discharge, he turned over to the praetor, intending himself to conduct the war with the new legions which he had brought with him. Nor did he accomplish anything noteworthy.
When the other consul, Titus Quinctius, had crossed from Brundisium earlier than previous consuls had been wont to leave, he proceeded to Corcyra with eight thousand infantry and eight hundred cavalry.2
From Corcyra he crossed in a quinquereme to the nearest parts of Epirus and hastened rapidly to the Roman camp.
There he delayed a few days after sending Villius home, until the troops from Corcyra overtook him, and
held a council, whether to attempt to force a passage straight through the enemy's camp or, without even trying so difficult and dangerous a feat, to proceed into Macedonia rather by the safe but longer route through the Dassaretii and by way of Lyncus.
And this latter view would have prevailed had there not been the fear that, when he had moved farther from the
sea, he would let the enemy slip from his grasp, if, as had happened before, the king preferred to safeguard himself in wildernesses and forests, and the summer would be spent in vain. Whatever might then be the result, it was decided to attack the enemy, even on this very unfavourable terrain.
But the council was firmer in its resolution to do this than clear as to how to accomplish it. [p. 181]