Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Goose that Saved Rome.

This is a story from Livy's (59BC to 17AD) history or Rome.  The Gauls had conquered the city.  Roman forces were slowly regrouping outside for a counter attack, while the main fortress had been held by a small contingent of Roman soldiers with few provisions.  The Gauls decide to do some dangerous cliff climbing in the middle of the night:

"While this was going on at Veii, the Citadel of Rome and the Capitol were in very great danger.  ...  So on a starlit night they first sent forward an unarmed man to try the way; then handing up their weapons when there was a steep place, and supporting themselves by their fellows or affording support in their turn, they pulled one another up, as the ground required, and reached the summit, in such silence that not only the sentries but even the dogs - creatures easily troubled by noises in the night - were not aroused.  But they could not elude the vigilance of the geese, which, being sacred to Juno, had notwithstanding the dearth of provisions, not been killed.  This was the salvation of them all; for the geese with their gabbling and clapping of their wings woke Marcus Manlius, consul of three years before and a distinguished soldier, who, catching up his weapons and at the same time calling the rest to arms, strode past his bewildered comrades to a Gaul who had already got a foothold on the crest and dislodged him with a blow from the boss of his shield. ..." - The Early History of Rome, V.47

The events are supposedly from 387BC.


Delirious said...

ha ha, there you go Dee Ice!

My Aunt has some geese, and they not only make noise, they will attack!

Dee Ice Hole said...

What'd I say about the best watch dogs being Geese---didn't know gthis story but I have had to run away from them before.