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On an examination of the entrails, to find a certain fatty part on the top of the heart, is looked upon as a fortunate presage. Still, however the heart has not always been considered as forming a part of the entrails for this purpose. It was under Lucius Postumnius Albinus, the King of the Sacrifices,1 and after the 126th Olympiad, when King Pyrrhus had quitted Italy, that the aruspices began to examine the heart, as part of the consecrated entrails. The first day that the Dictator Cæsar appeared in public, clothed in purple, and sitting on a seat of gold, the heart was twice found wanting2 when he sacrificed. From this circumstance has risen a great question among those who discuss matters connected with divination—whether it was possible for the victim to have lived without that organ, or whether it had lost it at the very moment3 of its death. It is asserted that the heart cannot be burnt of those persons who die of the cardiac disease; and the same is said of those who die by poison. At all events, there is still in existence an oration pronounced by Vitellius,4 in which he accuses Piso of this crime, and employs this alleged fact as one of his proofs, openly asserting that the heart of Germanicus Cæsar could not be burnt at the funeral pile, in consequence of his having been poisoned. On the other hand, the peculiar nature5 of the disease under which Germanicus was labouring, was alleged in Piso's defence.

1 " Rex Sacrorum." This was a priest elected from the patricians, on whom the priestly duties devolved, which had been originally performed by the kings of Rome. He ranked above the Pontifex Maximus, but was possessed of little or no political influence.

2 No doubt there was trickery in this.

3 No doubt there was trickery in this.

4 This was P. Vitellius, who served under Germanicus in Germany. He was one of the accusers of Cn. Piso, who was charged with having poisoned Germanicus.

5 The cardiac disease, as alleged.

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