VII[7arg] On Acca Larentia and Gaia Taracia; and on the origin of the priesthood of the Arval Brethren.
THE names of Acca Larentia and Gaia Taracia, or Fufetia as she is sometimes called, are frequent in the early annals. To the former of these after her death, but to Taracia while she still lived, the Roman people paid distinguished honours. And that Taracia, at any rate, was a Vestal virgin is proved by the Horatian law which was laid before the people with regard to her. By this law very many honours are bestowed upon her and among them the right of giving testimony is granted her, and that privilege is given to no other woman in the State. The word testabilis is used in the Horatian law itself, and its opposite occurs in the Twelve Tables: 1 “Let him be [p. 113] infamous and intestabilis, or 'forbidden to testify.'” Besides, if at the age of forty she should wish to leave the priesthood and marry, the right and privilege of withdrawing from the order and marrying were allowed her, in gratitude for her generosity and kindness in presenting to the people the campus Tiberinus or Martius. But Acca Larentia was a public prostitute and by that trade had earned a great deal of money. In her will she made king Romulus heir to her property, according to Antias' History; 2 according to some others, the Roman people. Because of that favour public sacrifice was offered to her by the priest of Quirinus and a day was consecrated to her memory in the Calendar. But Masurius Sabinus, in the first book of his Memorialia, following certain historians, asserts that Acca Larentia was Romulus' nurse. His words are: 3 “This woman, who had twelve sons, lost one of them by death. In his place Romulus gave himself to Acca as a son, and called himself and her other sons ' Arval Brethren.' Since that time there has always been a college of Arval Brethren, twelve in number, and the insignia of the priesthood are a garland of wheat ears and white fillets.”