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[2] For he dressed in a scarlet tunic, and wore over it a toga bordered with purple, and sat on a recumbent throne when he gave audience. And he had always about him some young men called Celeres, from their swiftness in doing service.1 Others, too, went before him with staves, keeping off the populace, and they were girt with thongs, with which to bind at once those whom he ordered to be bound.

To bind, in the Latin language, was formerly ‘ligare,’ though now it is ‘alligare’; whence the wand-bearers are called ‘lictores,’ and the wands themselves ‘bacula,’ from the use, in the time of Romulus, of ‘bakteriai,’ which is the Greek word for staves. 2 But it is likely that the ‘c’ in the word ‘lictores,’ as now used, has been added, and that the word was formerly ‘litores,’ which is the Greek ‘leitourgoi,’ meaning public servants. For the Greeks still call a public hall ‘leiton,’ and the people ‘laos.’ 3

1 Cf. chapter x. 2; and Livy, i. 15, 8.

2 For this assumed use of Greek words by the Romans, cf. chapter xv. 3.

3 For this assumed use of Greek words by the Romans, cf. Plut. Rom. 15.3.

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