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During this winter many portents occurred in Rome and the neighbourhood, or at all events, many were reported and easily gained credence, for when once men's minds have been excited by superstitious fears they easily believe these things.  A six-months-old child, of freeborn parents, is said to have shouted "Io Triumphe" in the vegetable market, whilst in the Forum [3??] Boarium an ox is reported to have climbed up of its own accord to the third story of a house, and then, frightened by the noisy crowd which gathered, it threw itself down.  A phantom navy was seen shining in the sky; the temple of Hope in the vegetable market was struck by lightning; at Lanuvium Juno's spear had moved of itself, and a crow had flown down to her temple and settled upon her couch;  in the territory of Amiternum beings in human shape and clothed in white were seen at a distance, but no one came close to them; in the neighbourhood of Picenum there was a shower of stones; at Caere the oracular tablets had shrunk in size; in Gaul a wolf had snatched a sentinel's sword from its scabbard and run off with it.  With regard to the other portents, the decemvirs were ordered to consult the Sacred Books, but in the case of the shower of stones at Picenum a nine days' sacred feast was proclaimed, at the close of which almost the whole community busied itself with the expiation of the others.  First of all the City was purified, and full-grown victims were sacrificed to the deities named in the Sacred Books; an offering of forty pounds' weight of gold was conveyed to Juno at Lanuvium, and the matrons dedicated a bronze statue of that goddess on the Aventine.  At Caere, where the tablets had shrunk, a lectisternium was enjoined, and a service of intercession was to be rendered to Fortuna on Algidus.  In Rome also a lectisternium was ordered for Juventas and a special service of intercession at the temple of Hercules, and afterwards one in which the whole population were to take part at all the shrines.  Five full-grown victims were sacrificed to the Genius of Rome, and C. Atilius Serranus, the praetor, received instructions to undertake certain vows which were to be discharged should the commonwealth remain in the same condition for ten years.  These ceremonial observances and vows, ordered in obedience to the Sacred Books, did much to allay the religious fears of the people.
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