Wednesday, 19 September 2012


'... in Italy ominous prodigies had once again been widely witnessed; at Veii showers of stones were reported; at Menturnae the temple of Jupiter had been struck by lightning; and at Capua a wolf had stolen into the city and savaged one of the sentries. Most dramatically, at Frusino a hermaphrodite child was born the same size as a four-year-old. Diviners summoned from Etruria announced that the monstrous infant should be banished from Roman territory without any contact with the earth. After being placed in a box, therefore, the unfortunate child was taken out to sea and thrown overboard. The priests of Rome also decreed that three bands of nine virgins should process through the city chanting a hymn written for the occasion by the Tarentine poet ...'