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Marcellus Chapter 28: Omens with Marcellus' fifth consulate[208 BC]
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No sooner had he entered upon this consulate, but he [Note 1] suppressed a great commotion in Etruria, that had proceeded near to revolt, and visited and quieted the cities. Then, when the dedication of the temple, which he had vowed out of his Sicilian spoils to Honor and Virtue, was objected to by the priests, because they denied that one temple could be lawfully dedicated to two gods, he began to adjoin another to it, resenting the priests' opposition, and almost converting the thing into an omen. And, truly, many other prodigies also affrighted him; some temples had been struck with lightning, and in the temple of Jupiter mice had gnawed the gold; it was reported also, that an ox had spoke, and that a boy had been born with a head like an elephant's. All which prodigies had indeed been attended to, but due reconciliation had not been obtained from the gods. The aruspices therefore detained him at Rome, glowing and burning with desire to return to the war. For no man was ever inflamed with so great desire of anything, as was he to fight a battle with Hannibal. It was the subject of his dreams in the night, the topic of all his consultations with his friends and familiars, nor did he present to the gods any other wish, but that he might meet Hannibal in the field. And I think, that he would most gladly have set upon him, with both armies environed within a single camp. Had he not been even loaded with honors, and had he not given proofs in many ways of his maturity of judgment and of prudence equal to that of any commander, you might have said, that he was agitated by a youthful ambition, above what became a man of that age: for he had passed the sixtieth year of his life when he began his fifth consulship. |
Note 1: he = Marcellus
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Marcus Claudius Marcellus
Haruspex:(H)aruspex: diviner, predicts future events form entrails. Originally Etruscan.