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23. This success the Romans, although they were wont to attribute all such great events to the influence of the gods, considered to be the work of their general alone. And the first thing his soldiers were heard to say was that Publicola had delivered their enemies into their hands lame, blind, and all but imprisoned, to be dispatched by their swords. Great wealth also accrued to the people from the spoils and prisoners.

[2] But Publicola, immediately after celebrating his triumph and handing the city over to the consuls appointed to succeed him, died. So far as it can possibly be achieved by men who are regarded as honourable and good, he had brought his life to perfection. The people, as if they had done nothing to show their esteem for him while he was alive, but owed him every homage, decreed that his body should be buried at the public charge, and that every man should contribute a quadrans towards the honour. [3] The women also, by private agreement amongst themselves, mourned a whole year for him, with a mourning which was honourable and enviable.1 He was buried, too, by express vote of the citizens, within the city, near the so-called Velia,2 and all his family were to have privilege of burial there. Now, however, none of the family is actually buried there, but the body is carried thither and set down, and some one takes a burning torch and molds it under the bier for an instant, and then takes it away, attesting by this act that the deceased has the right of burial there, but relinquishes the honour. After this the body is borne away.

1 ‘In the following year, Agrippa Menemus and P. Postumius being consuls, P. Valerius, by universal consent the foremost Roman in the arts of war and peace, died, in the height of his glory, but so poor that means to defray his funeral expenses were lacking. He was therefore buried at the public charge, and the matrons mourned for him as they had done for Brutus’ (Livy, ii. 16, 7).

2 See chapter x. 2.

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