Upon this the captive prophet began to be held in high esteem, and Cornelius and Postumius, the military tribunes, began to employ him for the expiation of the Alban prodigy, and to appease the gods in due form.
And it was at length discovered wherein the gods found fault with the neglect of the ceremonies and the omission of the customary rites; that it was undoubtedly nothing else, than that the magistrates, having been appointed under some defect [in their election], [p. 344]
had not directed the Latin festival and the solemnities on the Alban mount with due regularity.
The only mode of expiation in the case was, that the military tribunes should resign their office, the auspices be taken anew, and an interregnum be adopted.
All these things were performed according to a decree of the senate. There were three interreges in succession, Lucius Valerius, Quintus Servilius Fidenas, Marcus Furius Camillus.
In the mean time disturbances never ceased to exist, the tribunes of the commons impeding the elections until it was previously stipulated, that the greater number of the military tribunes should be elected out of the commons.
Whilst these things are going on, assemblies of Etruria were held at the temple of Voltumna, and the Capenatians and Faliscians demanding that all the states of Etruria should by common consent and resolve aid in raising the siege of Veii, the answer given was:
“that on a former occasion they had refused that to the Veientians, because they had no right to demand aid from those from whom they had not solicited advice on so important a matter.
That for the present their own condition instead of themselves1
denied it to them, more especially in that part of Etruria. That a
strange nation, the Gauls, were become new neighbours, with whom they neither had a sufficiently secure peace, nor a certainty of war: to the blood, however, and the name and the present dangers of their kinsmen this [mark of respect] was paid, that if any of their youth were disposed to go to that war, they would not prevent them.” Hence there was a report at Rome, that a great number
of enemies had arrived, and in consequence the intestine dissensions began to subside, as is usual, through alarm for the general safety.