Ab Urbe Condita

T. Livius

Flamen interim Quirinalis virginesque Vestales omissa rerum suarum cura, quae sacrorum secum ferenda, quae quia vires ad omnia ferenda deerant relinquenda essent consultantes, quisve ea locus fideli adservaturus custodia esset, optimum ducunt condita in doliolis sacello proximo aedibus flaminis Quirinalis, ubi nunc despui religio est, defodere; cetera inter se onere partito ferunt via quae sublicio ponte ducit ad Ianiculum. In eo clivo eas cum L. Albinius de plebe homo conspexisset plaustro coniugem ac liberos avehens inter ceteram turbam quae inutilis bello urbe excedebat salvo etiam tum discrimine divinarum humanarumque rerum religiosum ratus sacerdotes publicas sacraque populi Romani pedibus ire ferrique ac suos in vehiculo conspici, descendere uxorem ac pueros iussit, virgines sacraque in plaustrum imposuit et Caere, quo iter sacerdotibus erat, pervexit.

Meanwhile the flamen of Quirinus and the Vestal virgins, with no thought for their own belongings, were consulting which of the sacred things they should carry with them, and which, because they were not strong enough to carry them all, they must leave behind, and, finally, where these objects would be safe. They judged it best to place them in jars and bury them in the shrine adjoining the flamen's house, where it is now forbidden to spit; the rest of the things they carried, sharing the burden amongst them, along the road which leads by the Sublician Bridge to Janiculum. As they mounted the hill they were perceived by a plebeian named Lucius Albinius, who had a waggon in which he was conveying his wife and children, amidst the throng of those who, unfit for war, were leaving the City. Preserving even then the distinction between divine and human, and holding it sacrilege that the priestesses of his country should go afoot, bearing the sacred objects of the Roman People, while his family were seen in a vehicle, he commanded his wife and children to get down, placed the virgins and their relics in the waggon, and brought them to Caere, whither the priestesses were bound.

Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library from T. Livius: History of Rome (Volume III: Books 5-7), Loeb Classical Library Vol. 172, translated by B.O. Foster, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, © 1924, by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. The Loeb Classical Library ® is a registered trademark of the President and Fellows of Harvard College.