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Every Roman general was obliged to obtain the so-called auspicoes before a battle to find out whether the gods were sympathetic to the project. Most of the time this happened by watching the behavior of the birds, either their flight or their feeding behavior. Thus, Publius Claudius Pulcher left in 249 BC. Before his departure for the naval battle against the Carthaginians in the First Punic War feed the sacred chickens. But they did not want to eat, the worst omen that was possible. The commander did not let it stop and let the chickens into the water, where they drowned. "If they do not want to eat, at least they should drink, " were his words. He went into battle and - suffered a heavy defeat. Afterwards he was called to account in Rome: losing a battle was bad, but to ignore the signs of the gods was the highest crime. Pulcher was sentenced to death but died shortly after sentencing a natural death.


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