The justice and piety of Numa Pompilius was at that time celebrated. He dwelt at Cures, a city of the Sabines, and was as eminently learned in all laws human and divine, as any man could be in that age.
They falsely represent that Pythagoras of Samos was his instructor in philosophy, because there appears no other person to refer to. Now it is certain that this philosopher, in the reign of Servius Tullius, more than a hundred years after this, held assemblies of young men, who eagerly imbibed his doctrine, in the most distant part of Italy, about Metapontus, Heraclea, and Croton.
from these places, even had he flourished at the same time, what fame of his (extending) to the Sabines could have aroused any one to a desire of learning, or by what intercourse of language (could such a thing have been effected)? Besides, how could a single man have safely passed through so many nations differing in language and
customs? I presume, therefore, that his mind was naturally furnished with virtuous dispositions, and that he was not so much versed in foreign sciences as in the severe and rigid discipline of the ancient Sabines, than which class none was in former times more
strict. The Roman fathers, upon hearing the name of Numa, although they perceived that the scale of power would incline to the Sabines if a king were chosen from them, yet none of them ventured to prefer himself, or any other of his party, or any of the citizens or fathers, to that person, but unanimously resolved that the kingdom should be conferred on Numa
Pompilius. Being [p. 26]
sent for, just as Romulus before the building of the city obtained the throne by an augury, he commanded the gods to be consulted concerning himself
also. Upon this, being conducted into the citadel by an augur, (to which profession that office was made a public one and perpetual by way of honour,) he sat down on a stone facing the south: the augur took his seat on his left hand with his head covered, holding in his right a crooked wand free from knots, which they called lituus;
then taking a view towards the city and country, after offering a prayer to the gods, he marked out the regions from east to west, the parts towards the south he called the right, those towards the north, the
left; and in front of him he set out in his mind a sign as far as ever his eye could reach. Then having shifted the lituus into his left hand, placing his right hand on the head of Numa, he prayed in this
manner: “O father Jupiter, if it is thy will that this Numa Pompilius, whose head I hold, should be king of Rome, I beseech thee to give sure and evident signs of it within those bounds which I have
marked.” Then he stated in set terms the omens which he wished to be sent; and on their being sent, Numa was declared king and came down from the stand.