Noctes Atticae

A. Gellius

Statua Romae in comitio posita Horatii Coclitis, fortissimi viri, de caelo tacta est. Ob id fulgur piaculis luendum aruspices ex Etruria acciti, inimico atque hostili in populum Romanum animo, instituerant eam rem contrariis religionibus procurare, atque illam statuam suaserunt in inferiorem locum perperam transponi, quem sol oppositu circum undique altarum aedium numquam illustraret. Quod cum ita fieri persuasissent, delati ad populum proditique sunt et, cum de perfidia confessi essent, necati sunt, constititque, eam statuam, proinde ut verae rationes post compertae monebant, in locum editum subducendam atque ita in area Volcani sublimiore loco statuendam; ex quo res bene ac prospere populo Romano cessit.

The statue of that bravest of men, Horatius Cocles, which stood in the Comitium at Rome, was struck by lightning. To make expiatory offerings because of that thunderbolt, diviners were summoned from Etruria. These, through personal and national hatred of the Romans, had made up their minds to give false directions for the performance of that rite. They accordingly gave the misleading advice that the statue in question should be moved to a lower position, on which the sun never shone, being cut off by the high buildings which surrounded the place on every side. When they had induced the Romans to take that course, they were betrayed and brought to trial before the people, and having confessed their duplicity, were put to death. And it became evident, in exact accord with what were later found to be the proper directions, that the statue ought to be taken to an elevated place and set up in a more commanding position in the area of Vulcan; and after that was done, the matter turned out happily and successfully for the Romans.

Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library from Aulus Gellius: Noctes Atticae (Volume I. Books 1-5), Loeb Classical Library Vol. 195, translated by J.C. Rolfe, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, © 1927, by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. The Loeb Classical Library ® is a registered trademark of the President and Fellows of Harvard College.