Accordingly, he put guards at the gates, in order to keep the frightened throng from abandoning the city, and set limits of time and place to the mourning for the dead, ordering any who wished to indulge in lamentation, to do so at home for a period of thirty days; after that, all mourning must cease and the city be purified of such rites.
And since the festival of Ceres fell within these days, it was deemed better to remit entirely the sacrifices and the procession, rather than to emphasize the magnitude of their calamity by the small number and the dejection of the participants. For the gods' delight is in honours paid them by the fortunate.
However, all the rites which the augurs advocated for the propitiation of the gods, or to avert inauspicious omens, were duly performed. And besides, Pictor, a kinsman of Fabius, was sent to consult the oracle at Delphi; and when two of the vestal virgins were found to have been corrupted, one of them was buried alive, according to the custom,1
and the other slew herself.
But most of all was the gentle dignity of the city to be admired in this, that when Varro, the consul, came back from his flight, as one would come back from a most ill-starred and disgraceful experience, in humility and dejection, the senate and the whole people met him at the gates with a welcome.
The magistrates and the chief men of the senate, of whom Fabius was one, praised him, as soon as quiet was restored, because he had not despaired of the city after so great a misfortune, but was at hand to assume the reins of government, and to employ the laws and his fellow-citizens in accomplishing the salvation which lay within their power.