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[36] When the consuls learned the facts they did not allow Pompey to act according to his own judgment, experienced as he was in military affairs, but urged him to traverse Italy and raise troops, as though the city were on the point of being captured. The Senate also was alarmed at Cæsar's unexpectedly swift advance, for which it was still unprepared, and in its panic repented that it had not accepted Cæsar's proposals, which it considered just at last, after fear had turned it from party rage to the counsels of prudence. Many portents and signs in the sky took place. It rained blood. Sweat issued from the statues of the gods. Lightning struck several temples. A mule gave birth to a colt.1 There were many other prodigies which betokened an overturn and change in the form of government for all time. Prayers were offered up in public as was customary in times of danger, and the people who remembered the evil times of Marius and Sulla, clamored that both Cæsar and Pompey ought to lay down their commands as the only means of averting war. Cicero proposed to send messengers to Cæsar in order to come to an arrangement.2

1 This was a favorite prodigy among the Romans. It was observed when Sulla was advancing, after his war against Mithridates (i. 83 supra). Cicero alludes to the subject in his treatise on Divination (ii. 22).

2 Plutarch (Life of Pompey, 59) says that Cicero, who had lately returned from Cilicia, labored to bring about a reconciliation, proposing that Cæsar should leave his province of Gaul and disband his army, reserving two legions only, together with the government of Illyricum, and be nominated for a second consulship. Cæsar's friends afterward reduced his claims to one legion, but even that was rejected.

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