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Quote of the day: Equally vicious with his brother
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 4: Syphax visits Rome; bad omens.[210 BC]
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The summer was now drawing to a close, and the date of the consular elections was near at hand. Marcellus wrote to say that it would be against the interests of the republic to lose touch with Hannibal, as he was being pressed steadily back, and avoided anything like a battle. The senate were reluctant to recall him just when he was most effectively employed; at the same time they were anxious lest there should be no consuls for the coming year. They decided that the best course would be to recall the consul Valerius from Sicily, though he was outside the borders of Italy. The senate instructed Lucius Manlius the City praetor to write to him to that effect, and at the same time to send on the despatch from Marcus Marcellus that he might understand the reason for the senate recalling him rather than his colleague from his province. It was about this time that envoys from King Syphax came to Rome. They enumerated the successful battles which the king had fought against the Carthaginians, and declared that there was no people to whom he was a more uncompromising foe than the people of Carthage, and none towards whom he felt more friendly than the people of Rome. He had already sent envoys to the two Scipios [Note 1] in Spain, now he wished to ask for the friendship of Rome from the fountain-head. The senate not only gave the envoys a gracious reply, but they in their turn sent envoys and presents to the king selected for the mission being Lucius Genucius, Publius Poetelius, and Publius Popillius. The presents they took with them were a purple toga and a purple tunic, an ivory chair and a golden bowl weighing five pounds. After their visit to Syphax they were commissioned to visit other petty kings in Africa and carry as a present to each of them a toga praetexta and a golden bowl, three pounds in weight. Marcus Atilius and Manlius Acilius were also despatched to Alexandria, to Ptolemy and Cleopatra, to remind them of the alliance already existing, and to renew the friendly relations with Rome. The presents they carried to the king were a purple toga and a purple tunic and an ivory chair; to the queen they gave an embroidered palla and a purple cloak. During the summer in which these incidents occurred numerous portents were reported from the neighbouring cities and country districts. A lamb is said to have been yeaned at Tusculum with its udder full of milk; the summit of the temple of Jupiter was struck by lightning and nearly the whole of the roof stripped off; the ground in front of the gate of Anagnia was similarly struck almost at the same time and continued burning for a day and a night without anything to feed the fire; at Anagnia Compitum the birds had deserted their nests in the grove of Diana; at Tarracina snakes of an extraordinary size leaped out of the sea like sporting fishes close to the harbour; at Tarquinii a pig had been farrowed with the face of a man; in the district of Capena four statues near the Grove of Feronia had sweated blood for a day and a night. The pontiffs decreed that these portents should be expiated by the sacrifice of oxen; a day was appointed for solemn intercessions to be offered up at all the shrines in Rome, and on the following day similar intercessions were to be offered in Campania, at the grove of Feronia.

Note 1: Scipios = Publius and Gnaeus Scipio

Actions in Italy in 210 BC. Tarentum

Event: Actions in Italy in 210 BC. Tarentum