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At the beginning of the year, the commissioners who had visited Aetolia and Macedonia brought back word that no opportunity had been afforded them of meeting Perseus. Some made out that he was ill; others that he was away from home; both stories being equally false.  It was, however, quite clear that warlike preparations were on foot, and that it would not be long before Perseus resorted to arms. In Aetolia intestine quarrels were increasing in violence day by day, and the leaders of the opposing factions refused to be kept in check by their authority.  As it was fully expected that there would be war with Macedonia, it was decided that portents should be expiated and prayers offered to win "the peace of the Gods," of those deities, namely, who were mentioned in the Books of Fate.  At Lanuvium the sight of a great fleet had been witnessed in the heavens; at Privernum the earth had brought forth dark-coloured wool; at Remens in the Veientine district there had been a shower of stones;  the whole of the Pomptine country had been covered with clouds of locusts; in a field in Gaul where the plough was at work, fishes emerged from the turned-up clods.  In consequence of these portents the Books of Fate were consulted, and the Keepers announced to what deities and with what victims sacrifices were to be offered; they further ordered special intercessions for the expiation of the portents, and also others in fulfilment of the vow taken by the people the previous year on the occasion of the pestilence.  All was done as the Sacred Books ordered.
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