When the indignation of the senate followed these words of the consul, it is recorded that, in reply to the frequent ap- peals to the gods, whom the consuls frequently invoked as witnesses to the treaties, an expression of Annius was heard in contempt of the divinity of the Roman Jupiter.
Certainly, when aroused with wrath he was proceeding with rapid steps from the porch of the temple, having fallen down the stairs, his head being severely struck, he was dashed against a stone at the bottom with such force, as to be deprived of sense.
As all writers do not say that he was killed, I too shall leave it in doubt; as also the circumstance, that a storm, with a dreadful noise in the heavens, took place during the appeal made in reference to the violated treaties; for they may both be true, and also invented aptly to express in a striking manner the resentment of heaven.
Torquatus, being despatched by the senate to dismiss the ambassadors, on seeing Annius lying prostrate, exclaimed, so as that his voice was heard both by the people and the senate, “It is well. The gods have excited a [p. 510]
There is a deity in heaven. Thou dost exist, great Jove; not without reason have we consecrated thee the father of gods and men in this mansion.
Why do ye hesitate, Romans, and you, conscript fathers, to take up arms under the direction of the gods? Thus will I lay low the legions of the Latins, as you now see this man lying prostrate.”
The words of the consul, received with the approbation of the people, filled their breasts with such ardour, that the ambassadors on their departure were protected from the anger and violence of the people more by the care of the magistrates, who escorted them by order of the consul, than by the law of nations.
The senate also voted for the war; and the consuls, after raising two armies, marched into the territories of the Marsians and Pelignians, the army of the Samnites having joined them, and pitched their camp near Capua, where the Latins and their allies had now assembled.
There it is said there appeared to both the consuls, during sleep, the same form of a man larger and more majestic than human, who said, “Of the one side a general, of the other an army was due to the dii Manes and to Mother Earth;
from whichever army a general should devote the legions of the enemy and himself, in addition, that the victory would belong to that nation and that party.”
When the consuls compared together these visions of the night, it was resolved that victims should be slain for the purpose of averting the anger of the gods; at the same time, that if the same portents were exhibited in the entrails as those which had been seen during sleep, either of the consuls should fulfil the fates.
When the answers of the haruspices coincided with the secret religious impression already implanted in their minds;
then, having brought together the lieutenant-generals and tribunes, and having openly expounded to them the commands of the gods, they settle among themselves, lest the consul's voluntary death should intimidate the army in the field, that on which side soever the Roman army should commence to give way, the consul in that quarter should devote himself for the Roman people and the Quirites.
In this consultation it was also suggested, that if ever on any occasion any war had been conducted with strict discipline, then indeed military discipline should be reduced to the ancient standard.
What excited their attention particularly was, that they had to contend against Latins, who coincided with themselves in lan- [p. 511]
guage, manners, in the same kind of arms, and more especially in military institutions; soldiers had been mixed with soldiers, centurions with centurions, tribunes with tribunes, as com- rades and colleagues, in the same armies, and often in the same companies.
Lest in consequence of this the soldiers should be involved in any mistake, the consuls issue orders that no one should fight against an enemy out of his post.