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On the day when the consuls entered upon office, a meeting of the senate was held in the Capitol.  The very first decree passed was that the consuls should either draw lots or arrange between themselves which of them should conduct the election of censors before he left for the army.  A second decree extended the command of the former consuls who were with their armies, and they were ordered to remain in their respective provinces; Ti. Gracchus at Luceria, where he was stationed with his army of volunteer slaves; C. Terentius Varro in the district of Picenum; Manius Pomponius in the land of the Gauls.  The praetors of the former year were to act as propraetors; Q. Mucius was to hold Sardinia, and M. Valerius was to continue in command of the coast with his headquarters at Brundisium, where he was to be on the watch against any movement on the part of Philip of Macedon.  The province of Sicily was assigned to P. Cornelius Lentulus, one of the praetors, and T. Otacilius was to command the same fleet which he had had the previous year, to act against the Carthaginians.  Many portents were announced that year, and the more readily men of simple and pious minds believed in them the more numerously were they reported.  Right in the inside of the temple of Juno Sospita at Lanuvium some crows had built a nest; in Apulia a green palm-tree had caught fire; at Mantua a pool formed by the overflow of the Mincius presented the appearance of blood;  at Cales there was a rain of chalk stones, and at Rome, in the Forum Boarium, one of blood; in the Insteian quarter a subterranean spring flowed with such violence that it carried off some casks and jars in the cellars there as though they had been swept away by a torrent;  various objects were struck by lightning, a public hall in the Capitol, the temple of Vulcan in the Campus Martius, some farm buildings in the Sabine territory; and the public road, the walls, and one of the gates of Gabii.  Then other marvels were reported; the spear of Mars at Praeneste had moved of its own accord; in Sicily an ox had spoken; amongst the Marrucini an infant had cried "Io triumphe" in its mother's womb; at Spoletum a woman had been turned into a man; at Hadria an altar had been seen in the sky with men clothed in white standing round it;  and lastly at Rome, in the very City itself, a swarm of bees was seen in the Forum and immediately afterwards some people raised the cry "To arms!"  declaring that they saw armed legions on the Janiculum, though the people who were on the hill at the time said that they saw no one except those who were usually at work in the gardens there.  These portents were expiated by victims of the larger kind in accordance with the directions of the diviners, and solemn intercessions were ordered to be made to all the deities who possessed shrines in Rome.
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