The senate decreed that the games should be celebrated on as grand a scale as possible. To these games a great number of Volscians came by the advice of Attius Tullus.
Before the games were commenced, Tullus, as had been concerted at home with Marcius, comes to the consuls. He tells them that there were matters on which he wished to treat with them in private concerning the commonwealth.
All witnesses being removed, he says, “With reluctance I say that of my countrymen which is rather disparaging.1
I do not however come to allege against them any thing as having been committed by them, but to guard against their committing any thing. The minds of our people are far more fickle than I could
wish. We have felt that by many disasters; seeing that we are still preserved, not through our own deserts, but through your forbearance. There is now here a great multitude of Volscians. The games are going on; the city will be intent on the
exhibition. I remember what has been committed in this city on a similar occasion by the youth of the Sabines. My mind shudders lest any thing should be committed inconsiderately and rashly. I considered, that these matters should be mentioned before-hand to you,
consuls. With regard to myself, it is my determination to depart hence home immediately, lest, if present, I may be affected by the contagion of any word or deed.” Having said this, he
departed. When the consuls laid before the senate the matter, doubtful with respect to proof, though from credible authority, the authority more than the thing its lf, as usually happens, urged them to adopt even needless precau- [p. 124]
tions; and a decree of the senate being passed, that the Volscians should quit the city, criers are sent in different directions to order them all to depart before
night. A great panic struck them at first as they ran about to their lodgings to carry away their effects. Afterwards, when setting out, indignation arose in their breasts: “that they, as if polluted with crime and contaminated, were driven away from the games, on festival days, from the converse in a manner of men and gods.”