Vegoia's Prophecy

Property divisions were at least as important then as now, together with the rule of law. There is a text in the Latin collection of Gramatici veteres in which a divinity, the nymph Vergoia, speaks to Arruns Velturnnus:

You should know that the sea is separated from the earth. When Jupiter claimed the land of Etruria for himself, he decided and commanded the fields to be surveyed and the lands marked out. Knowing the covetousness of man and his worldly greed, he wanted the boundaries of everything to be marked by boundary stones. Those which at any time anyone has placed because of the greed of this eighth - almost the latest - saeculum, arrogating to themselves licence, men with wrongful deceit will violate, touch and move. But if anyone touches or moves a boundary stone, extending his own possessions or diminishing those of someone else, for this crime he will be condemned by the gods. If slaves shall do this, they shall be moved to a lower status by their owner. But if this is done with the knowledge of the master, the household will be immediately uprooted, and the whole of his family will perish. The people responsible will be afflicted by the worst diseases and wounds and their limbs will be weakened. Then even the lan d will be shaken by storms or whirlwinds and many landslips. The crops will be frequently laid low and cut down by rain and hail, they will perish in the heat of the summer, they will be killed off by blight. There will be civil strife amongst the people. Know that these things happen, when such crimes are committed. Therefore do not be either a deceitful or treacherous. Place restraint in your heart.

Probably c.91 BC. Supposed prophecy of the nymph Vegoia, preserved in corpus of Roman land surveys and probably dating to the late Republic, although purporting to be much earlier. The text indicates social tension and an extreme concern to protect traditional boundaries.