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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 79: Proposal about the water flow[AD 15]
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A question was then raised in the Senate by Arruntius and Ateius whether, in order to restrain the inundations of the Tiber, the rivers and lakes which swell its waters should be diverted from their courses. A hearing was given to embassies from the municipal towns and colonies, and the people of Florentia begged that the Clanis might not be turned out of its channel and made to flow into the Arnus, as that would bring ruin on themselves. Similar arguments were used by the inhabitants of Interamna. The most fruitful plains of Italy, they said, would be destroyed if the river Nar (for this was the plan proposed) were to be divided into several streams and overflow the country. Nor did the people of Reate remain silent. They remonstrated against the closing up of the Veline Lake where it empties itself into the Nar, as it would burst in a flood on the entire neighbourhood. Nature had admirably provided for human interests in having assigned to rivers their mouths, their channels, and their limits, as well as their sources. Regard, too, must be paid to the different religions of the allies, who had dedicated sacred rites, sacred groves and altars to the rivers of their country. Tiber himself would be altogether unwilling to be deprived of his neighbour streams and to flow with less glory. Either the entreaties of the colonies, or the difficulty of the work or superstitious motives prevailed, and they yielded to Piso's opinion, who declared himself against any change. Actum deinde in senatu ab Arruntio et Ateio an ob moderandas Tiberis exundationes verterentur flumina et lacus, per quos augescit; auditaeque municipiorum et coloniarum legationes, orantibus Florentinis ne Clanis solito alveo demotus in amnem Arnum transferretur idque ipsis perniciem adferret. congruentia his Interamnates disseruere: pessum ituros fecundissimos Italiae campos, si amnis Nar (id enim parabatur) in rivos diductus supersta gnavisset. nec Reatini silebant, Velinum lacum, qua in Narem effunditur, obstrui recusantes, quippe in adiacentia erupturum; optume rebus mortalium consuluisse naturam, quae sua ora fluminibus, suos cursus utque originem, ita finis dederit; spectandas etiam religiones sociorum, qui sacra et lucos et aras patriis amnibus dicaverint: quin ipsum Tiberim nolle prorsus accolis fluviis orbatum minore gloria fluere. seu preces coloniarum seu difficultas operum sive superstitio valuit, ut in sententiam Pisonis concederetur, qui nil mutandum censuerat.