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Vota Publĭca

Vows made by the State in great crises, as during war (Livy, v. 21) or pestilence (Livy, iv. 25). They were in the nature of promises to the gods of gifts or sacrifices in return for aid and favour. The vow was made on behalf of the State by a consul, praetor, or dictator, who was said suscipere votum, at the behest of the Senate. The announcement of the vow (nuncupatio) was publicly made in a set formula dictated by the Pontifex Maximus (Livy, xxxvi. 2), and it was entered in the public records. The vow was generally fulfilled by the magistrate who made it or by his regular successor, but it might devolve upon another (Livy, xxxvi. 2). Besides these extraordinary public vows, there was an annual votum publicum (of victims to be offered) made by the new consuls on January 1st, pro rei publicae salute. Under the Republic a special vow was added for the emperor's safety (Dio Cass. li. 9). See Marquardt, Staatsverwaltung, iii. pp. 265-268; Mommsen, Röm. Staatsrecht, i. 244; ii. 810; and for the most remarkable of all the public vows, see the article Ver Sacrum.

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 4, 25
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 21
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 36, 2
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