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The Latin term for an unnatural or, at any rate, unusual and inexplicable phenomenon, which was always treated as requiring expiation (procuratio). This was only done on behalf of the State, if the phenomenon had been observed on ground belonging to the State. The Senate, acting on the advice of the pontiffs, ordained either particular sacrifices, to specified deities, or a nine days' sacrifice, or a public intercession, and left the execution of the ordinance to the consuls (Livy, i. 20). If a prodigium caused so much alarm that the usual means of expiation seemed insufficient, the Senate had recourse to the Sibylline Books, or the Etruscan haruspices. (See Haruspex; Sibylla.) For the prodigium of a thunderbolt, see Puteal; and in general see Müller, Die Etrusker, ii. 191; Hartung, Die Religion der Römer, i. 96; BouchéLeclercq, Hist. de la Divination, p. 181; and Mommsen, Staatsverwaltung, 2d ed. iii. pp. 259-264.

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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 20
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