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LUDI CAPITOLI´NI Livy (5.50, 4) tells us that in the year 390 B.C., after the defeat of the Gauls, on the motion of Camillus a decree of the senate was passed that Ludi Capitolini should be instituted, inasmuch as Jupiter, the best and greatest, had preserved his settlement and citadel in a serious crisis, and that the dictator M. Furius should appoint for that purpose a collegium, consisting of those who dwelt in the Capitol and citadel (cf. Liv. 5.52, 11). As being administered by a collegium, the Capitoline games were like the Circensian games of the Fratres Arvales (cf. Henzen, Acta Fr. Arv. p. 36 ff.). After 384 B.C., when Marius Capitolinus was condemned, a motion was brought before the people that no patrician should dwell in the citadel or the Capitol (Liv. 6.20, 3), so that from this time only plebeians could be members of this collegium.

For the guild of the Capitolini, cf. Cic. Q. Fr. 2.5, 2. They had magistri of their own (Henz. 6010, where as well as in the passage of Cicero they are found associated with the Mercuriales: cf. 6011). Preller (Röm. Myth. 202) thinks this is a very old festival in honour of Jupiter Capitolinus, so old that it was attributed to Romulus (cf. Tert. Spect. 5). Mommsen (on C. I. L. 1.805 = Henz. 6011) shows that these collegia of Capitolini and Mercuriales were pagi within the city, both having a substantive and independent constitution for religious purposes. A curious ceremony was performed at these Capitoline games, from a supposed connexion of the Capitoline games with a triumph of Romulus over Veii; or, as Mommsen (R. H. 1.340) holds, with the capture of Veii by Camillus in 396 B.C. An old man who was considered to represent the King of Veii was led through the Forum to the Capitol, dressed in regal attire and wearing a bulla suspended from his neck; and a herald accompanying him proclaimed the “sale of the Sardians,” because the Veientines being Etruscans were supposed to have come from Sardis in Lydia (Plut. Quaest. Rom. 53 = p. 227; Festus, s. v. Sardi venales). Hence was supposed to be derived the proverb Sardi venales, alius alio nequior (Cic. Fam. 7.2. 4, 2), but that is more correctly referred to the great number of slaves acquired by the Romans when Tiberius Gracchus conquered Sardinia in 177 B.C. (Liv. 41.17; Aurel. Vict. 57; Mommsen, R. H. 2.199).


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