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Squeak of mice – bad omen

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman mosaic showing a mouse eating a nut
Roman mosaic showing a mouse eating a nut

Probably in 222 BCE, when Marcus Minucius Rufus assumed the office of Roman dictator, and Gaius Flaminius magister equitum (deputy dictator in political and military functions), a disturbing event occurred.

During the appointment of officials, a disturbing screech of mice was heard. This event was perceived by superstitious Romans as a bad omen. According to Plutarch, the people refused to choose these men. Valerius Maximus, in turn, claims that they both resigned on their own initiative.

  • Plutarch, Marcellus, 5.3-6
  • Valerius Maximus, Factorum et dictorum memorabilium libri novem, 1.1.5

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