Facta et Dicta Memorabilia

Valerius Maximus

Cum autem in media parte fori vasto ac repentino hiatu terra subsideret, responsumque esset ea re illum tantummodo compleri posse qua populus Romanus plurimum valeret, Curtius, et animi et generis nobilissimus adulescens, interpretatus urbem nostram virtute armisque praecipue excellere, militaribus insignibus ornatus equum conscendit, eumque vehementer admotis calcaribus praecipitem in illud profundum egit, super quem universi cives honoris gratia certatim fruges iniecerunt, continuoque terra pristinum habitum recuperavit. Magna postea decora in foro Romano fulserunt, nullum tamen hodieque pietate Curtii erga patriam clarius obversatur exemplum.

The earth subsided in the middle of the Forum leaving a sudden huge chasm. An oracle was given that this could only be filled with what made the Roman people's greatest strength. This Curtius, a young man of the noblest spirit and lineage, interpreted in the sense that our city chiefly excels in valour and arms. Wearing his military decorations he mounted his horse, dug in spurs, and drove him headlong into that abyss. On top of him all the citizens vied with one another in throwing down grain in his honour, and the ground in no time regained its former condition. Great splendours have since blazed in the Roman Forum but even today no more shining example confronts us than Curtius' patriotic piety.

Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library from Valerius Maximus: Volume I. Books 1-5, Loeb Classical Library Vol. 492, translated by D.R. Shackleton Bailey, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, © 2000, by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. The Loeb Classical Library ® is a registered trademark of the President and Fellows of Harvard College.