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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book X Chapter 47: Various Notes.[293 BC]
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|The year having now expired, new plebeian tribunes entered upon office, but there was a flaw in their election, and five days later others took their place. The lustrum was closed this year by the censors, Publius Cornelius Arvina and Gaius Marcius Rutilus. The census returns gave the population as numbering 262,321. These were the twenty-sixth pair of censors since the first, the lustrum was the nineteenth. This year, for the first time, those who had been crowned for their deeds in war were allowed to wear their decorations at the Roman Games, and then, too, for the first time, palms were given to the victors after a custom borrowed from Greece. This year also the road from the temple of Mars to Bovillae was paved throughout its length by the curule aediles, who devoted to the purpose the fines levied on cattle-breeders. Lucius Papirius conducted the consular elections. The consuls elected were Quintus Fabius Gurgites, the son of Maximus, and Decimus Junius Brutus Scaeva. Papirius himself was made praetor. The many incidents which helped to make the year a happy one served to console the citizens for one calamity, a pestilence which raged in the City and country districts alike. The mischief it did was looked upon as a portent. The Sacred Books were consulted to see what end or what remedy would be vouchsafed by the gods. It was ascertained that Aesculapius must be sent for from Epidaurus. Nothing, however, was done that year, owing to the consuls being engrossed with the war, beyond the appointment of a day of public intercession to Aesculapius.||
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Lustrum:Lustrum, or expiation. The last act of the censors during their period of office was to offer an expiatory sacrifice for the whole people. On the appointed day the citizens assembled in military formation in the Campus Martius. The victims, a boar, a ram, and a bull -- hence the name of the sacrifice, suovetaurilia" -- were carried thrice round the assembled host, who were then declared "purified," and whilst the animals were being offered on the altar, the censor to whom the lot had fallen of conducting the ceremony recited a traditional form of prayer for the strengthening and extension of the might of the Roman people. As the censor's office was originally fixed for five years, "lustrum" was used to denote that period of time.