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25. When, therefore, Latinus had reported his vision to the senators, and they were at a loss to know who the unpleasant and bad dancer was who had headed the procession referred to, some of them were led, owing to the extraordinary nature of his punishment, to think of the slave who had been scourged through the forum and then put to death. Accordingly, with the concurrence of the priests, the master of the slave was punished, and the procession and spectacles in honour of the god were exhibited anew.1

[2] Now it would seem that Numa, who in other respects also was a very wise director of sacred rites, had very properly sought to secure the people's reverent attention by means of the following ordinance. When, namely, magistrates or priests perform any religious function, a herald goes before, crying with a loud voice, ‘Hoc age.’ The meaning of the cry is, Mind this! and it warns the people to give heed to the sacred rites, and suffer no task or demand of business to intervene,2 implying that men perform most of their duties under some sort of compulsion and by constraint. [3] And it is customary for the Romans to renew sacrifices and processions and spectacles, not only for such a reason as the above, but also for trivial reasons. For instance, if one of the horses drawing the sacred chariots called Tensae gives out; or again, if the charioteer takes hold of the reins with his left hand, they decree that the procession be renewed. And in later ages, a single sacrifice has been performed thirty times, because again and again some failure or offence was thought to occur. Such is the reverent care of the Romans in religious matters.

1 According to Livy (ii. 36 and 37), it was at the repetition of the great games, which was made necessary by the profanation made known by the dream of Latinus, that the Volscians were sent out the city, as described by Plutarch in chapter xxvi. 1.

2 Cf. Numa, xiv. 2.

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