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[96] But Menodorus, -- either because he was an habitual traitor, or because he feared the former threat of Antony, who had said that he would punish him as a rebellious slave, or because he had received less consideration than he had expected, or because the other freedmen of Pompeius were continually reproaching him for unfaithfulness to his master and urging him to return, -- now that Menecrates was dead, asked forgiveness, and, having obtained it, deserted to Pompeius with seven ships, without the knowledge of Octavius' admiral, Calvisius. For this reason Octavius dismissed the latter from his command and appointed Agrippa in his place. When the fleet was ready, Octavius performed a lustration for it in the following manner. Altars were erected on the margin of the sea, and the multitude were ranged around them in ships, observing the most profound silence. The priests who performed the ceremony offered the sacrifice while standing at the water's edge, and carried the expiatory offerings in skiffs three times around the fleet, the general sailing with them, beseeching the gods to turn the bad omens against the victims instead of the fleet. Then, dividing the entrails, they cast a part of them into the sea, and put the remainder on the altars and burned them, while the multitude chanted in unison. In this way the Romans perform lustrations of the fleet.

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