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Spring was now coming on; Hannibal accordingly moved out of his winter quarters. His previous attempt to cross the Apennines had been frustrated by the insupportable cold; to remain where he was would have been to court danger.  The Gauls had rallied to him through the prospect of booty and spoil, but when they found that instead of plundering other people's territory their own had become the seat of war and had to bear the burden of furnishing winter quarters for both sides, they diverted their hatred from the Romans to Hannibal.  Plots against his life were frequently hatched by their chiefs, and he owed his safety to their mutual faithlessness, for they betrayed the plots to him in the same spirit of fickleness in which they had formed them. He guarded himself from their attempts by assuming different disguises, at one time wearing a different dress, at another putting on false hair.  But these constant alarms were an additional motive for his early departure from his winter quarters. About the same time Cn. Servilius entered upon his consulship at Rome, on the 15th of March.  When he had laid before the senate the policy which he proposed to carry out, the indignation against C. Flaminius broke out afresh. "Two consuls had been elected, but as a matter of fact they only had one. What legitimate authority did this man possess? What religious sanctions?  Magistrates only take these sanctions with them from home, from the altars of the State, and from their private altars at home after they have celebrated the Latin Festival, offered the sacrifice on the Alban Mount, and duly recited the vows in the Capitol.  These sanctions do not follow a private citizen, nor if he has departed without them can he obtain them afresh in all their fulness on a foreign soil."  To add to the general feeling of apprehension, information was received of portents having occurred simultaneously in several places. In Sicily several of the soldiers' darts were covered with flames; in Sardinia the same thing happened to the staff in the hand of an officer who was going his rounds to inspect the sentinels on the wall; the shores had been lit up by numerous fires;  a couple of shields had sweated blood; some soldiers had been struck by lightning; an eclipse of the sun had been observed; at Praeneste there had been a shower of red-hot stones; at Arpi shields had been seen in the sky and the sun had appeared to be fighting with the moon;  at Capena two moons were visible in the daytime; at Caere the waters ran mingled with blood, and even the spring of Hercules had bubbled up with drops of blood on the water; at Antium the ears of corn which fell into the reapers' basket were blood-stained; at Falerii the sky seemed to be cleft asunder as with an enormous rift and all over the opening there was a blazing light;  the oracular tablets shrank and shrivelled without being touched and one [12??] had fallen out with this inscription, "MARS IS SHAKING HIS SPEAR"; and at the same time the statue of Mars on the Appian Way and the images of the Wolves sweated blood. Finally, at Capua the sight was seen of the sky on fire and the moon falling in the midst of a shower of rain.  Then credence was given to comparatively trifling portents, such as that certain people's goats were suddenly clothed with wool, a hen turned into a cock, and a cock into a hen.  After giving the details exactly as they were reported to him and bringing his informants before the senate, the consul consulted the House as to what religious observances ought to be proclaimed.  A decree was passed that to avert the evils which these portents foreboded, sacrifices should be offered, the victims to be both full-grown animals and sucklings, and also that special intercessions should be made at all the shrines for three days.  What other ceremonial was necessary was to be carried out in accordance with the instructions of the decemvirs after they had inspected the Sacred Books and ascertained the will of the gods.  On their advice it was decreed that the first votive offering should be made to Jupiter in the shape of a golden thunderbolt weighing fifty pounds, gifts of silver to Juno and Minerva, and [18??] sacrifices of full-grown victims to Queen Juno on the Aventine and Juno Sospita at Lanuvium, whilst the matrons were to contribute according to their means and bear their gift to Queen Juno on the Aventine. A lectisternium was to be held, and even the freedwomen were to contribute what they could for a gift to the temple of Feronia.  When these instructions had been carried out the decemvirs sacrificed full-grown victims in the forum at Ardea, and finally in the middle of December there was a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, a lectisternium was ordered (the senators prepared the couch), and a public banquet.  For a day and a night the cry of the Saturnalia resounded through the City, and the people were ordered to make that day a festival and observe it as such for ever.
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