The consul's speech having been warmly seconded by the indignant senators, it is recorded that in answer to the numerous supplications of the gods, whom the consuls repeatedly invoked as the witnesses of treaties, the voice of Annius was heard spurning the power of the Roman Jupiter.
at all events, as he hurried, beside himself with rage, from the entrance of the temple, he slipped on the stairs, and struck his head so hard on the lowest stone that he lost consciousness.
that he was killed is not asserted by all writers, wherefore I, too, may leave the question undecided, as also the tradition that while men were calling on the gods to witness the breaking of the treaty, there was a loud crash in the heavens, and a hurricane burst forth; for these things may be true, or they may be apt inventions to express in a [p. 21]
lively manner the wrath of Heaven.
had been sent by the senate to dismiss the envoys, saw Annius lying there, and exclaimed in a voice that was heard alike by the people and the senators: “it is well; the gods have begun a righteous war.
a heavenly power; thou dost
exist, great Jupiter; not in vain have we established thee in this holy seat, the Father of gods and men.
why do you hesitate to arm, Quirites, and you Conscript Fathers, with the gods to lead you? as you behold their ambassador brought low, even so will I cast down the Latin legions.”
The consul's words were received with approval by the people, and so enraged them, that the envoys, at their setting out, owed their protection from men's wrath and fury more to the care of the magistrates —who attended them at the consul's bidding —than to the law of nations.
The senate also agreed on war; and the consuls, enrolling two armies, marched out through the country of the Marsi and Paeligni, and having added to their forces the army of the Samnites, went into camp near Capua, where the Latins and their allies had already assembled.
there in the stillness of the night both consuls are said to have been visited by the same apparition, a man of greater than human stature and more majestic, who declared
that the commander of one side, and the army of the other, must be offered up to the Manes and to Mother Earth; and that in whichever host the general should devote to death the enemy's legions, and himself with them, that nation and that side would have the victory.
when the consuls had compared these visions of the night, they resolved that victims should be slain to tum away the wrath of Heaven; [p. 23]
and, at the same time, that if the warning of the2
entrails should coincide with what thay had seen in their dream, one or other of the consuls should fulfil the decrees of fate.
The report of the soothsayers agreed with the secret conviction which had already found lodgment in their breasts;
whereupon they sent for their lieutenants and the tribunes, and having openly declared the pleasure of the gods, that so the consul's voluntary death might not terrify the soldiers in the fray, they agreed with one another that on whichever flank the Roman army should begin to yield, there the consul should devote himself in behalf of the Roman People and Quirites.
it was also urged in the council that if ever any war had been conducted with stern authority, now was the occasion of all others for recalling military descipline to its ancient courses.
their anxiety was sharpened by the fact that they must fight against the Latins, who were like themselves in language, customs, fashion of arms, and above all in military institutions; soldiers had mingled with soldiers, centurions with centurions, tribunes with tribunes, as equals and colleagues in the same garrisons and often in the same maniples.
lest this might betray the soldiers into some blunder, the consuls proclaimed that no man should quit his place to attack the foe.