Numa therefore decided to yield, and after sacrificing to the gods, set out for Rome. The senate and people met him on his way, filled with a wondrous love of the man; women welcomed him with fitting cries of joy; sacrifices were offered in the temples, and joy was universal, as if the city were receiving, not a king, but a kingdom. When they were come down into the forum, Spurius Vettius whose lot it was to be
at that hour, called for a vote of the citizens, and all voted for Numa. But when the insignia of royalty were brought to him, he bade the people pause, and said his authority must first be ratified by Heaven.
Then taking with him the augurs and priests, he ascended the Capitol, which the Romans of that time called the Tarpeian Hill. There the chief of the augurs turned the veiled head of Numa towards the south, while he himself, standing behind him, and laying the right hand on his head, prayed aloud, and turned his eyes in all directions to observe whatever birds or other omens might be sent from the gods.
Then an incredible silence fell upon the vast multitude in the forum, who watched in eager suspense for the issue, until at last auspicious birds appeared and approached the scene on the right. Then Numa put on his royal robes and went down from the citadel to the multitude, where he was received with glad cries of welcome as the most pious of men and most beloved of the gods.
His first measure on assuming the government was to disband the body of three hundred men that Romulus always kept about his person, and called
‘Celeres’ (that is, swift ones
); for he would not consent to distrust those who trusted him, nor to reign over those who distrusted him. His second measure was to add to the two priests of Jupiter and Mars a third priest of Romulus, whom he called the Flamen Quirinalis.
Now before this time the Romans called their priests
‘flamines,’ from the close-fitting
‘piloi,’ or caps
, which they wear upon their heads, and which have the longer name of
‘pilamenai,’ as we are told, there being more Greek words mingled with the Latin at that time than now.3
Thus also the name
‘laena,’ which the Romans give to the priestly mantle, Juba says is the same as the Greek
‘chlaina’; and that the name Camillus, which the Romans give to the boy with both parents living who attends upon the priest of Jupiter, is the same as that which some of the Greeks give to Hermes, from his office of attendant.