Page:Dio's Roman History, tr. Cary - Volume 1.djvu/109

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BOOK II

Zonaras 7, 11.

drowned, in order that neither earth nor water nor sun might be defiled by his death; and beginning with him, this punishment has ever since prevailed in the case of parricides.

The temple on the Tarpeian mount he constructed in accordance with the vow of his father. And as the earth was being excavated for the laying of the foundations, there appeared the head of a man but lately dead, still with blood in it. Accordingly the Romans sent to a soothsayer of Etruria to ask what was signified by the phenomenon. Now he, with the design of making the portent apply to Etruria, made a sketch upon the ground and in it laid out the plan of Rome and the Tarpeian mount. He intended to ask the envoys: "Is this Rome? Is this the mount? Was the head found here?" They would suspect nothing and would assent, and so the efficacy of the portent would be transferred to the place where it had been shown in the diagram. This was his design, but the envoys learned of it from his son, and when the question was put to them, they answered: "The settlement of Rome is not here, but in Latium, and the mount is in the country of the Romans, and the head was found on that mount." Thus the design of the soothsayer was thwarted and they learned the whole truth and

Tzetzes in Lycophr. Alex. 1279.

and for the book or books they dug a hole in the midst of the Forum and buried them along with a chest.