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Foolish words of sister of Publius Claudius Pulcher

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

According to ancient sources, during the First Punic War (264-241 BCE), consul Appius Claudius Pulcher attacked in 249 BCE Carthaginian fleet at Drepanum (today Trapani) in Sicily, despite the unfavorable behavior of the sacred chickens.

Birds were used to evaluate the outcome of the battle; but as it turned out, they didn’t want to eat, what was considered a bad omen. The indignant consul ordered the animals to be thrown into the sea saying “since they do not wish to eat, let them drink!”. The consul in the battle lost most of the fleet, and for defeat and not recognizing the divine judgments, the consul was dismissed and soon afterwards he died.

In 246 BCE his sister Claudia also acted carelessly. One day she was returning from the Games in her two-wheeled carriage (carpentum) and got stuck on one of the crowded streets of Rome. Angry, she was supposed to complain loudly and regret that her brother is dead and that he no longer commands the fleet of Romans. This statement clearly suggested her attitude towards the crowd, whose fate was indifferent to her. Claudia was fined for her behavior.

  • Valerius Maximus, Factorum et dictorum memorabilium, IX 1.4.3; 8.1.4

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