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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book V Chapter 22: After the Fall of Veii[396 BC]
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The following day the dictator sold all freemen who had been spared, as slaves. The money so realised was the only amount paid into the public treasury, but even that proceeding roused the ire of the plebs. As for the spoil they brought home with them, they did not acknowledge themselves under any obligation for it either to their general, who, they thought, had referred a matter within his own competence to the senate in the hope of getting their authority for his niggardliness, nor did they feel any gratitude to the senate. It was the Licinian family whom they gave the credit, for it was the father [Note 1] who had advocated the popular measure and the son [Note 2] who had taken the opinion of the senate upon it. |
When all that belonged to man had been carried away from Veii, they began to remove from the temples the votive gifts that had been made to the gods, and then the gods themselves; but this they did as worshippers rather than as plunderers. The deportation of queen Juno to Rome was entrusted to a body of men selected from the whole army, who after performing their ablutions and arraying themselves in white vestments, reverently entered the temple and in a spirit of holy dread placed their hands on the statue, for it was as a rule only the priest of one particular house who, by Etruscan usage, touched it. Then one of them, either under a sudden inspiration, or in a spirit of youthful mirth, said, "Art thou willing, Juno, to go to Rome?" The rest exclaimed that the goddess nodded assent. An addition to the story was made to the effect that she was heard to say, "I am willing." At all events we have it that she was moved from her place by appliances of little power, and proved light and easy of transport, as though she were following of her own accord. She was brought without mishap to the Aventine, her everlasting seat, whither the prayers of the Roman dictator had called her, and where this same Camillus afterwards dedicated the temple which he had vowed. Such was the fall of Veii, the most wealthy city of the Etruscan league, showing its greatness even in its final overthrow, since after being besieged for ten summers and winters and inflicting more loss than it sustained, it succumbed at last to destiny, being after all carried by a mine and not by direct assault.