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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book V Chapter 23: Problems with offerings.[396 BC]
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Although the portents had been averted by due expiation and the answers given by the soothsayer and the oracle were matters of common knowledge, and all that man could do had been done by the selection of Marcus Furius, the greatest of all commanders -- notwithstanding all this, when the capture of Veii was announced in Rome, after so many years of undecided warfare and numerous defeats, the rejoicing was as great as if there had been no hope of success. Anticipating the order of the senate, all the temples were filled with Roman mothers offering offering to the gods. The senate ordered that the public thanksgivings should be continued for four days, a longer period than for any previous war. The arrival of the dictator, too, whom all classes poured out to meet, was welcomed by a greater concourse than that of any general before. His triumph went far beyond the usual mode of celebrating the day; himself the most conspicuous object of all, he was drawn into the City by a team of white horses, which men thought unbecoming even for a mortal man, let alone a Roman citizen. They saw with superstitious alarm the dictator putting himself on a level in his equipage with Jupiter and Sol, and this one circumstance made his triumph more brilliant than popular. After this he signed a contract for building the temple of queen Juno on the Aventine and dedicated one to Matuta the Mother. After having thus discharged his duties to gods and men he resigned his dictatorship. |
Subsequently a difficulty arose about the offering to Apollo. Camillus stated that he had vowed a tenth of the spoils to the deity, and the college of pontiffs decided that the people must fulfil their religious obligation (1). But it was not easy to find a way of ordering the people to restore their share of booty so that the due proportion might be set apart for sacred purposes. At length recourse was had to what seemed the smoothest plan, namely, that any one who wished to discharge the obligation for himself and his household should make a valuation of his share and contribute the value of a tenth of it to the public treasury, in order that out of the proceeds a golden crown might be made, worthy of the grandeur of the temple and the august divinity of the god, and such as the honour of the Roman people demanded. This contribution still further estranged the feelings of the plebeians from Camillus.
During these occurrences envoys from the Volscians and Aequi came to sue for peace. They succeeded in obtaining it, not so much because they deserved it as that the common-wealth, wearied with such a long war, might enjoy repose.
(1): Camillus had made his vow in the name of the State, as dictator, and so the whole people were bound to take their share in redeeming it.
|Romam ut nuntiatum est Veios captos, quamquam et prodigia procurata fuerant et uatum responsa et Pythicae sortes notae, et quantum humanis adiuuari consiliis potuerat res ducem M. Furium, maximum imperatorum omnium, legerant, tamen quia tot annis uarie ibi bellatum erat multaeque clades acceptae, uelut ex insperato immensum gaudium fuit, et priusquam senatus decerneret plena omnia templa Romanarum matrum grates dis agentium erant. Senatus in quadriduum, quot dierum nullo ante bello, supplicationes decernit. Aduentus quoque dictatoris omnibus ordinibus obuiam effusis celebratior quam ullius unquam antea fuit, triumphusque omnem consuetum honorandi diei illius modum aliquantum excessit. Maxime conspectus ipse est, curru equis albis iuncto urbem inuectus, parumque id non ciuile modo sed humanum etiam uisum. Iouis Solisque equis aequiperatum dictatorem in religionem etiam trahebant, triumphusque ob eam unam maxime rem clarior quam gratior fuit. Tum Iunoni reginae templum in Auentino locauit, dedicauitque Matutae Matris; atque his diuinis humanisque rebus gestis dictatura se abdicauit. Agi deinde de Apollinis dono coeptum. Cui se decimam uouisse praedae partem cum diceret Camillus, pontifices soluendum religione populum censerent, haud facile inibatur ratio iubendi referre praedam populum, ut ex ea pars debita in sacrum secerneretur. tandem eo quod lenissimum uidebatur decursum est, ut qui se domumque religione exsoluere uellet, cum sibimet ipse praedam aestimasset suam, decimae pretium partis in publicum deferret, ut ex eo donum aureum, dignum amplitudine templi ac numine dei, ex dignitate populi Romani fieret. Ea quoque conlatio plebis animos a Camillo alienauit. Inter haec pacificatum legati a Volscis et Aequis uenerunt, impetrataque pax, magis ut fessa tam diutino bello adquiesceret ciuitas quam quod digni peterent.|