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Galba, Chapter 18: Bad omens
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|Many prodigies in rapid succession from the very beginning of his reign had foretold Galba's end exactly as it happened. When victims were being slain to right and left all along his route in every town [As he was on his way to Rome], an ox, maddened by the stroke of an axe, broke its bonds and charged the emperor's chariot, and as it raised its feet, deluged him with blood. And as Galba dismounted, one of his guards, flushed forward by the crowd, almost wounded him with his lance . Again, as he entered the city, and later the palaces, he was met by a shock of an earthquake and a sound like the lowing of kine. There followed even clearer signs. He had set apart from all the treasure a necklace fashioned of pearls and precious stones, for the adornment of his image of Fortuna at Tusculum. This on a sudden impulse he consecrated to the Capitoline Venus, thinking it worthy of a more August position. The next night Fortuna appeared to him in his dreams, complaining of being robbed of the gift intended for her and threatening in her turn to take away what she had bestowed. When Galba hastened in terror to Tusculum at daybreak to offer expiatory sacrifices because of the dream and sent on men to make preparations for the ceremony he found on the altar nothing but warm ashes and beside it an old man dressed in black, holding the incense in a glass dish and the wine in an earthen cup The fire should have been blazing brightly and a youth clad in white should have carried the incense in a proper box, and the wine in a more costly and appropriate vessel]. It was also remarked that as he was sacrificing on the Kalends of January the garland fell from his head, and that as he took the auspices, the sacred chickens flew away. As he was on the point of addressing the soldiers on the day of the adoption of Piso], his camp chair, through the forgetfulness of his attendants, was not placed on the tribunal as is customary, and in the Senate his curule chair was set wrong side foremost.||
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Auspicium:Type of divination
Curule:a. 4 horses. B. Curule chair: chair of a consul etc.