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The praetors left for their provinces, but the consuls were detained by religious matters; several portents had been announced, and the omens drawn from the sacrificial victims were mostly unfavourable.  News came from Campania that two temples in Capua-those of Fortune and Mars-as well as several sepulchral monuments had been struck by lightning. To such an extent does a depraved superstition see the work of the gods in the most insignificant trifles, that it was seriously reported that rats had gnawed the gold in the temple of Jupiter in Cumae.  At Casinum a swarm of bees had settled in the forum; at Ostia a gate and part of the wall had been struck by lightning; at Caere a vulture had flown into the temple of Jupiter, and at Vulsinii the waters of the lake had run with blood.  In consequence of these portents a day of special intercession was ordered. For several days full-grown victims had been sacrificed without giving any propitious indications, and it was long before the "peace of the gods" could be secured.  It was on the heads of the consuls that the direful mischance prognosticated by these portents fell, the State remained unharmed. The Games of Apollo had been celebrated for the first time in the consulship of Q. Fulvius and Appius Claudius under the superintendence of the City praetor, P. Cornelius Sulla.  Subsequently all the City praetors celebrated them in turn, but they used to vow them for one year only, and there was no fixed day for their celebration. This year a serious epidemic attacked both the City and the country districts, but it resulted more frequently in protracted than in fatal illness.  In consequence of this epidemic special intercessions were appointed at all the chapels throughout the City, and P. Licinius Varus, the City praetor, was instructed to propose a measure to the people providing that the Games of Apollo should always be celebrated on the same day. He was the first to celebrate them under this rule, and the day fixed for their celebration was July 5th, which was henceforth observed as the day.
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