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[72] To understand that belongs to a perfect augur.) After the celebrant1 has said to his assistant, 'Tell me when silence appears to exist,' the latter, without looking up or about him, immediately replies, 'Silence appears to exist.' Then the celebrant says, 'Tell me when the chickens begin to eat.' 'They are eating now,' is the answer. But what are these birds they are talking about, and where are they? Someone replies,' It's poultry. It's in a cage and the person who brought it is called “a poulterer,” because of his business.' These, then, are the messengers of Jove! What difference does it make whether they eat or not? None, so far as the auspices are concerned. But, because of the fact that, while they eat, some food must necessarily fall from their mouths and strike upon the ground (terram pavire),— this at first was called terripavium, and later, terripudium; now it is called tripudium—therefore, when a crumb of food falls from a chicken's mouth a tripudium solistimum is announced to the celebrant.2

1 “The celebrant” is here intended to translate is, qui auspicatur, i.e. the magistrate who directs and presides at the taking of the auspices; while qui in auspicium adhibetur is the expert (the augur, the assistant), who actually takes the auspices.

2 Cf. i. 15. 28.

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load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (C. F. W. Müller, 1915)
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