When news was brought to Rome that Veii was taken [p. 352]
although both the prodigies had been expiated, and the answers of the prophets and the Pythian responses were well known, and though they had selected as their commander Marcus Furius, the greatest general of the day, which was doing as much to promote success as could be done by human prudence;
yet because the war had been carried on there for so many years with various success, and many losses had been sustained, their joy was unbounded, as if for an event not expected;
and before the senate could pass any decree, all the temples were crowded with Roman matrons returning thanks to the gods. The senate decrees supplications for the space of four days, a number of days greater than [was prescribed] in any former war.
The dictator's arrival also, all ranks pouring out to meet him, was better attended than that of any general before, and his triumph considerably surpassed all the ordinary style of honouring such a day.
The most conspicuous of all was himself, riding through the city in a chariot drawn by white horses; and that appeared unbecoming, not to say a citizen, but even a human being.
The people considered it an outrage on religion that the dictator's equipage should emulate that of Jupiter and Apollo; and for that single reason his triumph was rather splendid than pleasing.
He then contracted for a temple for queen Juno on Mount Aventine, and consecrated that of Mother Matuta: and, after having performed these services to the gods and to mankind, he laid down his dictatorship.
They then began to consider regarding the offering to Apollo; and when Camillus stated that he had vowed the tenth part of the spoil to him, and the pontiff declared that the people ought to discharge their own
obligation, a plan was not readily struck out of ordering the people to refund the spoil, so that the due proportion might be set aside out of it for sacred purposes.
At length they had recourse to this which seemed the easiest course, that, whoever wished to acquit himself and his family of the religious obligation, after he had made his own estimate of his portion of the plunder, should pay into the treasury the value
of the tenth part, so that out of it a golden offering worthy of the grandeur of the temple and the divinity of the god might be made, suitable to the dignity of the Roman people.
This contribution also tended to alienate the affections of the commons from Camillus. During these transactions ambassadors came from [p. 353]
the Volscians and Aequans to sue for peace; and peace was obtained, rather that the state wearied by so tedious a war might obtain repose, than that the petitioners were deserving of it.