The following year diverted the consuls1
Spurius Postumius Albinus and Quintus Marcius Philippus from the army and the administration of wars and provinces to the suppression of an internal conspiracy.
The praetors drew lots for their provinces, Titus Maenius receiving the city jurisdiction, Marcus Licinius Lucullus that between citizens and aliens, Gaius Aurelius Scaurus Sardinia, Publius Cornelius Sulla Sicily, Lucius Quinctius Crispinus Nearer Spain, Gaius Calpurnius Piso Farther Spain. To both consuls the investigation of secret conspiracies was decreed.
A nameless Greek came first to Etruria, possessed of none of those many arts which the Greek people, supreme as it is in learning, brought to us in numbers for the cultivation of mind and body, but a dabbler in sacrifices and a fortune-teller;
nor was he one who, by frankly disclosing his creed and publicly proclaiming both his profession and his system, filled minds with error, but a priest of secret rites performed by night.2
There were initiatory rites which at first were imparted to a few, then began to be generally known among men and women. To the religious element in them were added the delights of wine and feasts, that the minds of a larger number might be attracted.
When wine had inflamed their minds, and night and the mingling of males with females, youth with age, had destroyed every sentiment of modesty, all varieties of corruption first began to be practised, since each one had at hand the pleasure answering to that to which his nature was more inclined.
There was not one form of vice alone, the promiscuous matings of free men and women, but perjured witnesses, forged seals and wills and evidence, all issued from this same [p. 243]
workshop: likewise poisonings and secret murders, so that at times not even the bodies were found for burial.
Much was ventured by craft, more by violence. This violence was concealed because amid the howlings and the crash of drums and cymbals no cry of the sufferers could be heard as the debauchery and murders proceeded.