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Quote of the day: The dark complexion of the Silures, thei
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Ovid XV Chapter 14: 552-621 Cipus acquires horns
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This strange event amazed the nymphs, and the Amazon's son [Note 1] was no less astounded, than the Tyrrhenian ploughman when he saw a fateful clod of earth in the middle of his fields, first move by itself with no one touching it, then assume the form of a man, losing its earthy nature, and open its newly acquired mouth, to utter things to come. The native people called him Tages, he who first taught the Etruscan race to reveal future events. No less astounded than Romulus, when he saw his spear, that had once grown on the Palatine Hill, suddenly put out leaves, and stand there, not with its point driven in, but with fresh roots: now not a weapon but a tough willow-tree, giving unexpected shade to those who wondered at it. No less astounded than Cipus, the praetor, when he saw his horns in the river's water (truly he saw them) and, thinking it a false likeness of his true form, lifting his hands repeatedly to his forehead, touched what he saw. Unable now to resist the evidence of his eyes, he raised his eyes and arms to the sky, like a victor returning from a beaten enemy, and cried: 'You gods, whatever this unnatural thing portends, if it is happiness, let it be the happiness of my country, and the race of Quirinus: if it is a threat, let it be towards me.' Making a grassy altar of green turf, he appeased the gods with burning incense, and made a libation of wine, and inspected the quivering entrails of sacrificed sheep, as to what they portended for him. As soon as the Tyrrhenian seer, there, saw them, he recognised the signs of great happenings, not yet manifest, and when indeed he raised his keen eyes from the sheep's entrails to Cipus's forehead, he cried: 'Hail! O King! You, even you, Cipus, and your horns, this place, and Latium's citadels, shall obey. Only no delay: hurry and enter the open gates! So fate commands: and received in the city, you will be king, and safely possess the eternal sceptre.' Cipus drew back, and grimly turning his face away from the city's walls, he said: 'Oh, let the gods keep all such things, far, far away, from me! Far better for me to spend my life in exile, than for the Capitol to see me crowned! He spoke, and immediately called together the people and the grave senators. First however he hid his horns with the laurels of peace, then standing on a mound raised by resolute soldiers, and praying to the ancient gods as customary, he said: 'There is a man here who shall be king, unless you drive him from the city. I will show you who he is, not by name, but by a sign: he wears horns on his forehead! The augur declares that if he enters Rome, he will grant you only the rights of slaves. He could have forced his way in, through the open gates, but I opposed it, though no one is more closely connected to him than me. Quirites, keep the man out of your city, and, if he deserves it, load him with heavy chains, or end all fear, with the death of this fated tyrant!' There was a sound from the crowd, like the murmur from the pine-trees when the wild East wind whistles through them, or like the waves of the sea, heard from far off: but among the confused cries of the noisy throng, one rang out: 'Who is he?' They looked at each other's forehead looking for the horns foretold. Cipus spoke to them again: 'You have here, whom you seek,' and, taking the wreath from his head, the people trying to prevent him, he showed them his temples, conspicuous by their twin horns. They all sighed, and lowered their eyes (who could believe it?) and were reluctant to look at that distinguished head. Not allowing him any longer to be dishonoured, they replaced the festal wreath. But since you were forbidden to enter the city, Cipus, they gave you, as an honour, as much land as you could enclose, with a team of oxen, harnessed to the plough, between dawn and sunset. And they engraved horns on the bronze gateposts, recalling their marvellous nature, to remain there through the centuries.

Note 1: the Amazon's son = Hippolytus

Event: Cipus