After the defeat of the Sabines, when the government of Tullus and the whole Roman state was in high renown, and in a very flourishing condition, word was brought to the king and senators, that it rained stones on the Alban Mount.
As this could scarcely be credited, on persons being sent to inquire into the prodigy, a thick shower of stones fell from heaven in their sight, just as when hail collected into balls is pelted down to the earth by the winds.
Besides, they imagined that they heard a loud voice from the grove on the summit of the hill, requiring the Albans to perform their religious service according to the rites of their native country, which they had consigned to oblivion, as if their gods had been abandoned together with their country; and they had either adopted the religion of Rome, or, as may happen, enraged at their evil destiny, had renounced altogether the worship of the gods.
A festival of nine days was instituted publicly by the Romans also on account of the same prodigy, either in obedience to the heavenly voice sent from the Alban mount, (for that too is stated,) or by the advice of the aruspices.
Certain it is, it continued a solemn observance, that whenever the same prodigy was announced, a festival for nine days was observed. Not long after, they were afflicted with a pestilence; and though from this there arose an aversion to military service, yet no respite from arms was granted by this warlike king, who considered that the bodies of the young men were even more healthy abroad than at home, until he himself also was seized with a lingering disease.
Then, together with his body, those fierce spirits became so broken, that he, who formerly considered nothing less worthy of a king than to devote his mind to religion, suddenly became a slave to every form of superstition, important and trifling, and filled the people's minds also with religious scruples.
The generality of persons, now wishing to recur to that state of things which had existed under king Numa, thought that the only relief left for their sickly bodies was, if peace and pardon could be obtained from the gods.
They say that the king himself, turning over the commentaries of Numa, after he had found therein that certain sacrifices of a secret and solemn nature had been performed to Jupiter Elicius, shut himself up and set about the performance of this solemnity; but that that rite was not duly undertaken or conducted, and that not only no appearance of [p. 44]
heavenly notification was presented to him, but that he was struck with lightning and burnt to ashes, together with his house, through the anger of Jupiter, exasperated at the impropriety of the ceremony. Tullus reigned two-and-thirty years with great military renown.