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[38] And so in a short time the Roman people will neither have a king of the sacrifices,1 nor flamines,2 nor Salii,3 nor one half of the rest of the priests, nor any one who has a right to open the comitia centuriata, or curiata; and the auspices of the Roman people must come to an end if no patrician magistrates are created, as there will be no interrex,4 for he must be a patrician, and must be nominated by a patrician. I said before the priests, that that adoption had not been approved by any decree of this college; that it had been executed contrary to every provision of the sacerdotal law; that it ought to be considered as no adoption at all; and if there is an end to that, you see at once that there is an end likewise of the whole of your tribuneship.


1 When the civil and military powers of the king were transferred to the two consuls, these magistrates were not invested with that part of the royal dignity by virtue of which he had been the highest of his nation; but this priestly part of his office was transferred to a priest called rex sacrificulus, or rex sacrorum. He was always elected and inaugurated in the comitia calata, under the presidency of the pontiffs, and was always a patrician, for as he had no influence upon the management of political affairs, the plebeians never coveted this dignity.

2 Flamen was the name for any priest who was devoted to the service of one particular god.

3 The Salii were the priests of Mars Gradivus, and were said to have been instituted by Numa. They were twelve in number, chosen from the patricians only, even down to the very latest times.

4 An interrex was an officer first appointed on the death of Romulus. Under the republic interreges were appointed for holding the comitia for the election of consuls, when the consul, through civil commotions or other causes, had been unable to do so during their year of office. Each interrex held the office for only five days. Plebeians were not admissible to this office; and consequently after plebeians were admitted into the Senate, the patrician senators met without the plebeian members to elect an interrex.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ROMA
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