After an earthquake in 362 BC, a huge deep pit suddenly opened in the Roman Forum, which the Romans attempted to fill up in vain. Despairing, they consulted an oracle who responded that the gods demanded the most precious possession of the country. The Romans doubted the warning, and struggled to think of what that was. However Marcus Curtius, a young soldier, castigated them and responded that arms and courage of Romans were the most precious possessions of Rome. With his horse, fully and meticulously armed and decorated, he went into the gap. Immediately, the deep pit closed. The Lacus Curtius in the Forum receives its name from him.
- *Titus Livius VII,6
- 'Lacus Curtius' page in the Penelope Chicago University site with images