with Publius Decius for the Gallic war, thus, later on,2
Papirius and Carvilius against the Samnites and Bruttians and the people of Lucania and of Tarentum.
Marcellus was made consul in his absence, being with the army; for Fabius, who was present and himself conducted the election, his consulship was continued.
The times and the straits of war and danger to the existence of the state deterred any one from searching for a precedent for that,3
and from suspecting the consul of greed for power.
On the contrary they praised his high-mindedness, in that, knowing the state had need of a great commander, and that he was himself undoubtedly that man, he counted his own unpopularity, should any be the consequence, as of less moment than the advantage of the state.
X. On the day on which the consuls entered upon office the senate met on the Capitol, and it was decreed first of all that the consuls should decide by lot or by mutual arrangement which of them should hold the election for naming the censors before leaving for the army.
Then for all who were with [p. 207]
the army their commands were continued, and they4
were ordered to remain in their assignments, Tiberius Gracchus at Luceria, where he was with the army of slave-volunteers,5
Gaius Terentius Varro in the Picene district, Marcus Pomponius in the Gallic;
and that of the praetors of the previous year, now as propraetors, Quintus Mucius should govern Sardinia and Marcus Valerius should be in command of the sea-coast at Brundisium, watchful against all movements of Philip, King of the Macedonians.
Sicily was assigned as his province to Publius Cornelius Lentulus, the praetor, and to Titus Otacilius the same fleet which he had had against the Carthaginians the previous year.
in large numbers —and the more they were believed by men simple and devout, the more of them used to be reported —were reported that year: that at Lanuvium ravens had made a nest inside the temple of Juno Sospita; that in Apulia a green palm took fire; that at Mantua a lake, the overflow of the river Mincius, appeared bloody;
and at Cales it rained chalk, and at Rome in the Cattle Market blood; and that on the Vicus Insteius7
an underground spring flowed with such a volume of water that the force of a torrent, as it were, overturned the jars, great and small, that were there and carried them along;
that the Atrium Publicum on the Capitol, the temple of Vulcan in the Campus, that of Vacuna8
and a public street in the Sabine country, the wall and a gate at Gabii were struck by lightning. Moreover other marvels were widely [p. 209]
circulated: that the spear of Mars at Praeneste moved9
of itself; that an ox in Sicily spoke; that among the Marrucini an infant in its mother's womb shouted “Hail, triumph!”;
that at Spoletium a woman was changed into a man; that at Hadria an altar was seen in the sky, and about it the forms of men in white garments.
In fact at Rome also, actually in the city, directly after the appearance of a swarm of bees in the Forum —a wonder because it is rare —certain men, asserting that they saw armed legions on the Janiculum, aroused the city to arms, whereas those who were on the Janiculum denied that anyone had been seen there except the usual dwellers on that hill.
Atonement was made for these prodigies with full-grown victims on the advice of the soothsayers, and a season of prayer to all the gods who had festal couches10
at Rome was proclaimed.