AUGUR´IUM; AUSPEX, AUSPIC´IUM.
meant a diviner by birds, but came in course of time, like
the Greek οἰωνός,
to be applied in a more
extended sense: his art was called augurium
Plutarch relates that the
were originally termed auspices
100.72), and there seems no reason to doubt this statement as Hartung does
(Die Religion der Römer,
vol. i. p. 99), on the
authority of Servius (ad
Verg. A. 1.402
). The authority of Plutarch is further supported by the fact,
that in Roman marriages the person who represented the diviner of ancient
times was called auspex,
and not augur.
Div. 1.1. 6
, 28.) Rubino (Römisch.
p. 45), followed by Mommsen (Röm.
i.2 101, note 2), draws a
distinction between the meaning of the words auspex
that they were used to indicate the same person, the former referring simply
to the observation of the signs, and the latter to the interpretation of
them. This view is certainly supported by the meaning of the verbs auspicari
and the same distinction seems to prevail between the words auspicium
when they are used together (Cic. de Nat.
, 9), though they are often applied to the
same signs. The word auspex
was supplanted by
but the scientific term for the
observation continued on the contrary to be auspicium,
and not augurium.
etymology of auspex
is clear enough (from
and the root spec
), but that of augur
is not so
certain. Some ancient grammarians derived it from avis
(Festus, s. v.
Verg. A. 5.523
), in support of which we may
mention the analogy of au-spex
and the ancient forms auger
quoted by Priscian,
1.6.36; and this derivation is now accepted by Mommsen, Marquardt,
Bouché--Leclercq, and others. Of modern suggestions may be
mentioned that of Aufrecht and Kirchhoff, connecting the word with the
(cf. ius est augurum cum auctoritate conjunctum,
Cic. de Leg. 2.1. 2
, 31; and
Nissen, Das Templum,
p. 5), and that of
Vani[cbreve]ek, from avis
and the root gar
(found in Sanscrit and in γηρύειν,
). Fick, and apparently Kuntze, connect
it with augeo augustus
(cf. augustum augurium
in Ennius), and take it to mean
“assistant ;” while Lange and Bréal see in the
word the root gush
(as in γεύω
) and understand by it “an appreciator.” By
Greek writers on Roman affairs, the augurs are called αὔγουρες, οἰωνοπόλοι, οἰωνοσκόποι, οἰωνισταί, οἰωνομάντεις,
οἱ ἐπ̓ οἰωνοῖς ἱερεῖς.
In the most ancient times, no transaction took place, either of a private or
a public nature, without consulting the auspices, and hence we find the
question asked in a well-known passage of Livy (6.41
), “Auspiciis hanc urbem
conditam esse, auspiciis bello ac pace, domi militiaeque omnia geri,
quis est, qui ignoret?” But the private augur seems to have
fallen into contempt. Thus Cicero, while arguing in favour of divination in
general, follows Ennius in classing the Marsus
with other impostors (de Div.
1.58, 132); and
of the auspices
at weddings he says that they
had ceased to be such in anything but name (1.16, 28).
The public augurs, on the contrary(in full, augures
publici populi Romani Quiritium,
2130, &c.), are of great importance in Roman political history, and
formed a collegium. But before tracing their history we will inquire what
the auspices were.
All the nations of antiquity were impressed with the firm belief, that the
will of the gods and future events were revealed to men by certain signs,
which were sent by the gods as marks of their favour to their sincere
worshippers. Hence the arguments of the Stoics, that if there are gods they
care for men, and that if they care for men they must send them signs of
their will (Cic. de Leg. 2.1.
, 32), expressed [p. 1.249]
so completely the popular
belief, that whoever questioned it would have been looked upon in no other
light than an atheist. But while all nations sought to become acquainted
with the will of the gods by various modes, which gave rise to innumerable
kinds of divination, there arose in each separate nation a sort of national
belief, that the particular gods, who watched over them, revealed the future
to them in a distinct and peculiar manner. Hence each people possessed a
which was supported by the laws and institutions
of the state, and was guarded from mixture with foreign elements by
stringent enactments. Thus the Romans looked upon astrology and the whole
prophetic art of the Chaldaeans as a dangerous innovation; they paid little
attention to dreams, and hardly any to inspired prophets and seers. On the
contrary, in common with their kindred races in Central Italy and with the
Etruscans, they attached much importance to extraordinary appearances in
They endeavoured to learn
the future, especially in war, by consulting the entrails of victims; they
laid great stress upon favourable or unfavourable omina,
and in times of danger and difficulty were accustomed to
consult the Sibylline books, which they had received from the Greeks: but
the mode of divination, which was peculiar to them and essentially national,
consisted in those signs included under the name of auspicia.
The observation of the auspices was, according to
the unanimous testimony of the ancient writers, more ancient even than Rome
itself, which is constantly represented as founded under the sanction of the
auspices, and the use of them is therefore associated with the Latins, or
the earliest inhabitants of the city. There seems therefore no reason to
assign to them an Etruscan origin, as many modern writers are inclined to
do, while there are several facts pointing to an opposite conclusion.
Cicero, who was himself an augur, in his work de
constantly appeals to the striking difference
between the auspicia and the Etruscan system of divination; and, while he
frequently mentions other nations, which paid attention to the flight of
birds as intimations of the divine will, he never once mentions this
practice as in existence among the Etruscans (Cic.
de Div. 1.4. 1
, 92. 93, 2.35, 75; de
2.4, 11). The belief, that the flight of birds gave
some intimation of the will of the gods, seems to have been prevalent among
many nations of antiquity, and was common to the Greeks, as well as the
Romans; but it was only among the latter people that it was reduced to a
complete system, governed by fixed rules, and handed down from generation to
generation. In Greece, the oracles supplanted the birds, and the future was
learnt from Apollo and other gods, rarely from Zeus, who possessed very few
oracles in Greece. The contrary was the case at Rome: it was from Jupiter
mainly that the future was learnt, and the birds were regarded as his
messengers. (Aves internuntiae Jovis,
Cic. de Div. 2.3. 4
Interpretes Jovis optimi maximi publici augures,
Cic. de Leg. 2.8
, 20); though
other divinities, such as Tiberinus and some river-gods (Cic. de Nat. Deor. 3.2. 0
52), and even the Manes (Festus, s. v. Manes
were invoked by the observer. When a whole series of gods was invoked, it
was called precatio maxima.
It must be remarked
in general that the Roman auspices were essentially of a practical nature;
they gave no information respecting the course of future events, they did
not inform men what was to happen
(Cic. de Div. 2.3. 3
, 70), but
simply taught them whether they were to do or not to do
the matter purposed;
they assigned no reason for the decision of
Jupiter,--they simply announced, yes or no.
The science or system of the augurs (disciplina
or ius augurum
), of which they were the skilled
interpreters (periti prudentes
), bound to
observe its rules (Cic. de Legg.
, 20), was in early times reduced to a documentary form (libri augurum
), comprising, besides the minute
formalities of the ceremonial to be observed, and no doubt the whole
theoretical part of augural science, which appear to have been contained in
what were called the libri reconditi
(Cic. de Dom. 15
, 39), also
Cic. de Div. 2.1. 8
, 42; cf.
Marquardt, Röm. Staatsv.
3.288), which consisted of
Cic. de Dom. 15
, 40; de
2.35, 73), when any matter was referred by the senate to
the college of augurs. Much interesting historical information was contained
in these records. Further, the college of augurs, like other colleges, had
) of its members (a specimen is
given in C. I. L.
6.1976). The secrecy of these documents was
guarded by an oath tendered to the members of the college (Plut. Quaest. Rom.
99). But augural law, just as civil
law, could not always remain a mystery; and the manuals, which it became
necessary to draw up, were in course of time divulged, until the subject
became a favourite one with the antiquarian writers of the last century of
the republic. Thus Cicero, in his philosophical treatise on Divinatio
in general, repeatedly draws his instances
from the disciplina
of the augurs.
The words augurium
came to be used in course of time to signify the
observation of various kinds of signs. They were divided into five sorts:
ex caelo, ex avibus, ex tripudiis, ex quadrupedibus,
(Festus, s. v. quinque
). Strictly speaking, the last three of these formed no part
of the auspices.
These signs were either impetrita
--that is, specified by the person who
consulted the will of Jupiter when he began to take observations; or
--that is, not specified nor
expected by him beforehand, and therefore so far unfavourable. The auspicia ex diris
always belonged to the class of
The specification of the impetrita
was called legum
(Serv. ad Aen.
2.1, 11.) A few words must be said on
each of these five kinds of augury.
- 1. Ex caelo. This included the
observation of the various kinds of thunder and lightning, and was
regarded as the most important, maximum
auspicium, especially in a clear sky. (Verg. A. 9.630; Serv. ad
Verg. A. 2.693; Cic. de Div. 2.1. 8,
43, &c.; Festus, s. v. Caelestia.) In interpreting this, as well as other signs,
the Italian, unlike the Greek, regarded those from the left as
lucky, those from the right as unlucky; for while both regarded the
east as the [p. 1.250]Greek faced north. Lightning
or thunder suspended the comitia for
the day (Cic. l.c.;
D. C. 38.13); and as it remained a
fixed principle with the Romans to repose trust in announcements
touching the auspices made by those who had the right of taking them
(cf. Liv. 10.40, 11; 38.48, 14; Plin. Nat.
28.17), when the belief in the auspices decayed, this mode of
augury became a political engine for causing delay; further, as
being the most important species of augury, it was retained as the
one formally used on the occasion of a magistrate entering upon
office (Cic. de Div. 2.3.
5, 73); and in Cicero's time and later the caelestia were the only auspicia
impetrativa used in the city (Mommsen, Röm.
Staatsr. i2 78). The transition from
the old system of augury to the new system, wherein only caelestia and pullaria were used, Kuntze (Prol. zur Geschichte
Roms, p. 92) places in the Punic Wars, and supposes M.
Marcellus, who was optimus augur (Cic. de Div. 2.3. 6,
77), to have been in a great measure instrumental in bringing this
- 2. Ex avibus. It was only a few birds
which could give auguries among the Romans (Cic. de Div. 2.3. 6,
76). They were divided into two classes: Oscines, those which gave auguries by singing or their
voice, and Alites, those which gave
auguries by their flight (Festus, s. v. Oscines). To the former class belonged the raven
(corvus) and the crow (cornix), the first of these giving a
favourable omen (auspicium ratum) when
it appeared on the right, the latter on the contrary, when it was
seen on the left (Plaut. Asin. 2.1, 12;
Cic. de Div. 1.3.
9, 85); likewise the owl (noctua, Festus, s. v. Oscines). To the aves alites
belonged first of all the eagle (aquila), who is called preeminently the bird of Jupiter
(Jovis ales), and next the vulture (vultur); and with these two the avis sanqualis (also called ossifraga, which was sacred to Sancus), the
immusulus, and buteo are probably also to be classed. (Comp. Verg. A. 1.394; Liv. 1.7, 34, 41.13; Festus, s. v. sanqualis;
Plin. Nat. 10.20.) Some birds
were included both among the oscines
and the alites; such were the
pious Martius and Feronius, and
the parra (Plin. Nat. 10.40; Hor. Carm.
3.27.1, 15; Festus, s. v. Oscinum
tripudium), which belonged to Vesta (Nonius, 518, 27).
Some birds by their mere appearance foreboded ill, as the bubo, spinturnix (Plin. Nat. 10.34-37),
and some again were birds of omen only to particular classes of
events or people: e. g. the aegithus
for weddings and agriculture (ib. 10.21), the swan for mariners, and
the dove for kings (Serv. ad Aen.
1.393). These were the principal birds consulted in the
auspices. There were considerable varieties of omen according to the
note of the oscines or the place from
which they uttered the note; and similarly among the alites, according to the nature of their
flight, especially the height: hence the division of praepetes and inferae (Gel. 6.6). Other
peculiarities also of their appearance were ominous, such as tearing
themselves (Festus, s. v. Voisgram;
Stat. Theb. 3.513). There were
very great minutiae, such as the nine different notes of the owl
(Plin. Nat. 10.39), but they
need not be touched upon. When the birds favoured an undertaking,
they were said addicere or admittere, and were called ad missivae. When unfavourable, they were
said abdicere, and were called alterae, arculae, cliviae, inebrae, remores
(see Festus, s. vv.), clamatoriae, prohibitoriae (Plin. Nat. 10.37). The technical term for all the
observations agreeing was consensio
(Serv. ad Aen. 3.60). It has
been noticed that the Romans in their augury, unlike the Etruscans,
did not let birds loose, but always waited for them to appear
(Bouché--Leclercq, ap. D. and S. 1.555). This form of
divination, to which the ancient Romans, like the other inhabitants
of Central Italy, constantly had recourse, was cast into the shade
by haruspicina, which was itself
falling out of use in Cicero's days (de Div. 1.16,
- 3. Ex tripudiis. These auspices were
taken from the feeding of chickens, and were especially employed on
military expeditions. It was the doctrine of the augurs that any
bird could give a tripudium (Cic.
de Div. 2.3. 5, 73); but it became the
practice in later times to employ only chickens (pulli) for the purpose, owing to the simplicity of
the signs afforded by them, and the greater rapidity and convenience
by which such signs could be obtained. They are also called auspicia pullaria (Serv. ad Aen. 6.198). It is not
quite certain whether this kind of augury was used in civil
concerns. There is no really clear instance to support the view that
they were (Mommsen, op. cit. i.2 82, note 2), though Servius (l.c.) says, Romani moris
erat in comitiis agendis et in bellis gerendis pullaria captare
auguria. The chickens were kept in a cage, under care
of a person called pullarius; and when
the auspices were to be taken, the pullarius opened the cage and
threw to the chickens pulse or a kind of soft cake. If they refused
to come out or to eat, or uttered.a cry (occinerent), or beat their wings, or flew away, the signs
were considered unfavourable (Liv.
10.40, 4; V. Max. 1.4.3). On the contrary, if they ate greedily,
so that something fell from their mouth and struck the earth, it was
called tripudium solistimum (tripudium, originally the triple beat of the
foot in religious dances; solistimum =
perfect. Fest. s. v. For ancient derivation, see Cic. de Div. 2.3. 4,
72), and was held to be a favourable sign. Two other kinds of
tripudia are mentioned by
Festus,--the tripudium. oscinum, from
the cry of birds, and sonivium, from
the sound of the pulse falling to the ground: in what respects the
latter differed from the tripudium
solistimum, we are not informed. (Cic. Fam. 6.6, 3 ; see
also Festus, s. vv. puts, tripudium, oscinum
tripudium.) The pullarii
appear to have trenched on the functions of the augurs, being even
employed servare de caelo for
magistrates (Cic. de Div.
2.3. 5, 74; ad Fam. 10.12, 3). They could
secure a favourable omen by starving the chickens or giving them
crumbling food (Cic. de
Div. 2.3. 5, 73; Festus, s. v. puls).
- 4. Ex quadrupedibus. Auguries could also be taken
from four-footed animals and reptiles, and were called pedestria auspicia; but these formed no part
of the original science of the augurs, and were never employed by
them in taking auspices on behalf of the state, or in the exercise
of their art properly so called. They must be looked upon simply as
a mode of private divination, which was naturally brought under the
notice of the augurs, and seems by them to have been reduced to a
kind of system. Thus we are [p. 1.251]told that when
a fox, a wolf, a serpent, a horse, a dog, or any other kind of
quadruped ran across a person's path or appeared in an unusual
place, it formed an augury. (See, e. g. Hor. Carm. 3.27.) The juge
auspicium (i. e. cum junctum jumentum stercus facit)
belonged to this class of auguries, which we generally meet with
under the head of oblativa (Cic. de Div. 2.3. 6,
77; Fest. s. v. juges auspicium; Serv.
Verg. A. 3.537).
- 5. Ex diris, sc. signis. Under this head was included every kind of
augury which does not fall under any of the four classes mentioned
above, such as sneezing, stumbling, and any other accident or noise
(dirae obstrepentes), however
trifling, such as anything falling in the temple (caduca auspicia), which was held to break the
silentium (Serv. ad Aen. 4.453; Plin. Nat. 8.223). But such signs
could only be considered as ill omens when in obvious connexion with
the matter in hand, and if they were distinctly heard by the
observer. Hence devices were adopted so that no ill-omened sound
should be heard, such as blowing a trumpet during the sacrifice
(Plin. Nat. 28.11). Whether
certain signs were ill-omened or not was often referred to the
pontifices, in later times to the
Sibylline books or the haruspices
(Mommsen, op. cit. i.2
84). There was an important augury of this kind connected with the
army in early times, called ex
acuminibus, from observation of the points of the weapons
of the marshalled army; but it fell into disuse as early as the time
of M. Marcellus in the Hannibalic War (Cic. de Div. 2.3. 6, 77; de Nat.
Deor. 2.3, 9). Again the comitia were postponed if
anyone present was seized with an epileptic fit (hence called
morbus comitialis). Under the head
of dirae may also come what Festus
calls piacularia auspicia, such as when
the victim escaped from the altar or moaned when struck, or fell on
some other part of the body than was right.
The ordinary manner of taking the auspices, properly so called (i.e. ex caelo
), was as follows :--The person who was to take them first
marked out with a wand [LITUUS
as he looked towards the south, a division in the heavens called templum
latter term was applied to any rustic place sacred to a divinity, Varr.
7.2, 82), within which he intended to make his
observations between midnight and daybreak. For full details on the Roman
reference is made to TEMPLUM
and to Nissen's special
work Das Templum.
The auspices had to be taken
on the day of the business in question, and it was convenient that they
should be taken before the business-day commenced. This special time was
generally the one observed for taking the auspices in civil affairs; but of
course on a campaign it could not be observed for taking the auspices
necessary on the passing of a stream (auspicia
) and other military auspices. The station where he was to take
the auspices was also separated (effari loca
by a solemn formula (conceptis verbis
varied on different occasions, from the rest of the land, and was likewise
He then proceeded to pitch his tent in it (tabernaculum capere
), and this again was called templum,
or more accurately templum minus;
Servius tells us (ad Aen.
4.200), is applied
not merely to a space which could be enclosed, but also to one actually
enclosed. If for any reason the first tabernaculum was unfavourable, a
second one was chosen: but if it likewise was unfavourable, the first was
returned to (Serv. on Aen.
2.178). There was one opening in
the front part (antica pars
) of the tent. This
opening usually faced the south (Varr. L. L.
7.7); though in
the inauguration of persons and places it appears that the augur looked
towards the east (Liv. 1.18
): cf. Nissen, Das Templum,
who considers the easterly aspect the more usual one. The buildings in which
the senate met, such as the Curia Hostilia Pompeia or Julia, had likewise to
be consecrated by the augurs and made into templa;
for this term does not by any means apply to all the
sacred buildings of the gods (Varr. ap. Gel.
): cf. Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 100, note 4. Within the walls of
Rome, or, more properly speaking, within the pomoerium, there was no
occasion to select a spot and pitch a tent on it, as there was a place on
the Arx on the summit of the Capitoline hill, called Auguraculum,
which had been consecrated once for all for this
purpose (Festus, s. v. Auguraculum;
comp. Liv. 1.18
; Cic. de Off. 3.1. 6
, 66). In
like manner there was in every Roman camp a place called augurale
(Tac. Ann. 2.13
), which answered the same
purpose; but on all other occasions a place had to be consecrated and a tent
to be pitched, as, for instance, in the Campus Martius, when the Comitia
Centuriata were to be held. The spot where the auspices were taken had
always to be Roman land. From the point of view of the auspices there were
five sorts of land--Roman, Gabine, foreign, hostile, and doubtful (Varr.
5.33). Accordingly, when it was necessary to take
the auspices in any of the four latter kinds of land, a tract had to be
considered as Roman and inaugurated as such (Serv. ad Aen. 2.178
; D. C. 41.43
The person who was then taking the auspices proceeded to specify the signs
for which he was watching (legum dictio,
Serv. ad Aen. 3.89
), and the period of
time during which he would watch, the most important moment at the end being
Varr. L. L.
7.51), and, seated
(Serv. ad Aen. 9.4
; Plut. Marc. 5
) in a chair, waited for the
favourable signs to appear; but it was necessary during this time that there
should be no interruption of any kind whatsoever (silentium
), and hence the word silentium
was used in a more extended sense to signify the
absence of everything that was faulty. Though the watcher especially took
note of what he perceived himself, yet he at times asked bystanders or
others to assist him in watching for signs; and in later times it was usual
to be satisfied with the assertion of the assistant that the required sign
had been seen (Cic. de Div. 2.3.
, 72; 35, 75). Those who were asked to assist in the augury
(in auspicio esse
) were sometimes augurs,
but not necessarily so. The formula by which the request was made and the
assent given is recorded by Cicero (de Div.
2.34, 71. 72).
But the magistrate was no more bound to pay attention to what these
assistants reported, than [p. 1.252]
he was to obey the
advice of his consilium
(Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 102); still,
according to ancient law, anyone who disobeyed a decree of the augurs was
guilty of a capital offence (Cic. de
, 21; 12, 31). Everything which rendered the
auspices invalid was called vitium
s. v. silentio surgere
), and hence we
constantly read in Livy and other writers of vitio
magistratus creati, vitio
lata, &c. A euphemistic phrase was causa
(Serv. ad Aen. 7.141
). The watching for the
auspices was called spectio
or servare de coelo,
the declaration of what was
). If the
signs were unfavourable, the nuntiatio
augur was expressed in the form alio die,
which the business in hand, whether the holding of the comitia
or anything else, was entirely stopped (Cic. de Leg. 2.1. 2
, 30). For
ancient descriptions of the process, see Liv.
; Stat. Theb. 3.459
Sabidius, ap. Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 81, note 5.
Having explained what the auspices were and how they were taken, we have now
to determine who had the power of taking them. In the first place it is
certain that in ancient times no one but a patrician could take the
auspices, and that a plebeian had no power of doing so. The gods of the
Roman state were the gods of the patricians alone, and it was consequently
regarded as an act of profanation for any plebeian to attempt to interpret
the will of these gods. Hence the possession of the auspices (habere auspicia
) is one of the most distinguished
prerogatives of the patricians; they are said to be penes
and are called auspicia
It is closely connected with the possession of a gens;
and accordingly there can be no doubt that
means the whole body of patricians
(see Liv. 4.2
; and Weissenborn, ad loc.
). It would further appear that every
patrician might take the auspices; but here a distinction is to be observed.
It has already been remarked that in the most ancient times no transaction,
whether private or public, was performed without consulting the auspices
(nisi auspicato, ne privatim quidem,
Cic. de Div. 1.1. 6
, 28 ;
V. Max. 2.1.1
); and hence arose the
distinction of auspicia privata
and auspicia publica.
Of the privata
we know little, but probably they were similar to the
as may be seen from the story
about Attus Navius in Cicero (de Div.
1.17); cf. Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 85, note 4. One of
the most frequent occasions on which the auspicia
were taken, was in case of a marriage (Cic., Val. Max.,
); and hence after private auspices had
become entirely disused, the Romans, in accordance with their usual love of
preserving ancient forms, were accustomed in later times to employ auspices
in marriage, who, however, acted only as
friends of the bridegroom, to witness the payment of the dowry and to
superintend the various rites of the marriage (Plaut. Cas.
prol. 85; Suet. Cl. 26
; Tac. Ann. 11.27
). The employment of the
auspices at marriages was one great argument used by the patricians against
between themselves and the
plebeians, as it would occasion, they urged, perturbationem auspiciorum publicorum privatorumque
possession of these private auspicia is expressed in another passage of Livy
by privatim auspicia habere
). In taking
these private auspices, it would appear that any patrician was employed who
knew how to form templa
and was acquainted with
the art of augury, and was therefore called auspex
it does not appear
to have been necessary nor usual in such cases to have recourse to the
public augurs, the members of the collegium, who are therefore frequently
called augures publici,
to distinguish them
from the private augurs. (Cic. de
, 20; ad Fam.
6.6, 6; Festus, s.
v. quinque genera.
) The case, however, was very
different with respect to the auspicia publica,
generally called auspicia
simply, or those
which concerned the state. The latter could only be taken by the persons who
represented the state, and who acted as mediators between the gods and the
state; for though all the patricians were eligible for taking the auspices,
yet it was only the magistrates who were in actual possession of them. The
magistrates were the mediators between the people and both god and man;
hence their authority was represented in the fullest terms by auspicium imperiumque
); cf. Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 73. As long as
there were any patrician magistrates, the auspices were exclusively in their
hands (Cic. Ep. ad Brut.
, 4); on their entrance upon office, they received the auspices
Cic. de Div. 2.3. 6
while their office lasted, they were in possession of them (habebant
or erant eorum auspicia,
); and at the expiration of their
office, they laid them down (ponebant auspicia,
Cic. de Nat. Deor. 2.3
, 9). In
case, however, there was no patrician magistrate, the auspices became vested
in the whole body of the patricians, which was expressed by the words
auspicia ad patres redeunt
(Cic. Ep. ad Brut. 1.5
This happened in the kingly period on the demise of a king, and the
patricians then chose an interrex, who was therefore invested by them with
the right of taking the auspices, and was thus enabled to mediate between
the gods and the state in the election of a new king. In like manner in the
republican period, when it was believed that there had been something faulty
) in the auspices in the election of
the consuls, and they were obliged in consequence to resign their office,
the auspices returned to the whole body of the patricians, who had recourse
to an interregnum
for the renewal of the
auspices, and for handing them over in a perfect state to the new
magistrates. For this the technical expression is renovare auspicia
). This is to be distinguished from repetere auspicia,
said of a general who had taken
faulty omens before setting out, and had to return to Rome to renew them
Weissenborn), though this term is once applied (Liv.
) to what is more strictly
(see Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 88, 96). If a magistrate was
declared faultily elected owing to the auspices, he had to submit to the
decree and resign (vitio facti abdicarunt
the regular formula), and they could not conduct the new elections, nor were
they eligible themselves for re-election. There are numerous examples in
Livy: e. g. 6.38, 9; 8.15, 6. In the case of the resignation of the tribunes
in Liv. 10.47
is hard to know who could have elected the new tribunes, as the plebeians
had nothing corresponding to the patrician interregnum (see Weiss. ad loc.
). If the magistrate refused to resign, he
could not be [p. 1.253]
forced to do so by the people, e. g.
Flaminius in 223 B.C. (Plut. Marc. 4
; Liv. 21.63
). But if
a magistrate did refuse, he was liable to prosecution at the expiration of
his office: “quique non paruerit capital esto,” ran the old law
(Cic. de Leg. 2.8
, 21). If
a decree of the people had been vitiated by the auspices, it had to be
abrogated by another decree of the people, introduced by a resolution of the
senate in accordance with the judgment of the augurs; but the latter for the
most part were deemed sufficient without the matter being brought before the
people (see Cic. de Leg. 2.1.
, 31; Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 113, 114).
The distinction between the duties of the magistrates and the augurs in
taking the auspices is one of the most difficult points connected with this
subject, but perhaps a satisfactory solution of these difficulties may be
found by taking an historical view of the question. We are told not only
that the kings were in possession of the auspices, but that they themselves
were acquainted with the art and practised it. Romulus is represented to
have been the best of augurs, and from him all succeeding augurs received
the chief mark of their office, the lituus,
with which that king exercised his calling. (Cic.
de Div. 1.2
, 3; Liv.
.) He is further stated to have
appointed three augurs, but only as his assistants in taking the auspices, a
fact which is important to bear in mind. (Cic.
de Rep. 2.9
, 16.) Their dignity gradually
increased in consequence of their being employed at the inauguration of the
kings, and also in consequence of their becoming the preservers and
depositaries of the science of augury. Formed into a collegium, they handed
down to their successors the various rules of the science, while the kings,
and subsequently the magistrates of the republic, were liable to change.
Their duties thus became twofold,--to assist the magistrates in taking the
auspices, and to preserve a scientific knowledge of the art. They did not
possess the right of consulting the auspices (habere
) themselves, though they understood them better than
the magistrates; the lightning and the birds were not sent to them, but to
the magistrates; they discharged no independent functions either political
or ecclesiastical, and are therefore described by Cicero as privati
1.40, 89). As the
augurs were therefore merely the assistants of the magistrates, they could
not take the auspices without the latter, though the magistrates on the
contrary could dispense with their assistance (cf. Mommsen,
i.2 102), as must frequently
have happened in the appointment of a dictator by the consul on military
expeditions at a distance from the city. At the same time it must be borne
in mind that, as the augurs were the interpreters of the science, they
possessed the right of declaring whether the auspices were valid or invalid,
and that too whether they were present or not at the time of taking them;
and whoever questioned their decision was liable to severe punishment (Cic. de Leg. 2.8
, 21). They thus
possessed in reality a veto upon every important public transaction. It was
this power which made the office an object of ambition to the most
distinguished men at Rome, and which led Cicero, himself an augur, to
describe it as the highest dignity in the state (de Leg.
2.12, 31). The augurs frequently employed this power as a political engine
to vitiate the election of persons unfavourable to the exclusive privileges
of the patricians. (Liv. 6.27
But although the augurs could declare that there was some fault in the
auspices, yet, on the other hand, they could not, by virtue of their office,
declare that any unfavourable sign had appeared to them, since it was not to
them that the auspices were sent. Thus we are told that the augurs did not
possess the spectio;
that is, the right of
taking the state-auspices. The difference between habere
to have been that the former was the right of observing the auspices in
general, the latter the right as applied to a special case (Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 86, note 2). When
they were employed by the magistrates in taking the auspices, they possessed
the right of the nuntiatio,
and thus had the
power, by the declaration of unfavourable signs (obnuntiatio,
Ter. Ad. 4.2
, 9), to put a stop to all
important public transactions (Cic. de
Leg. 2.1. 2
, 31). In this way we are able to understand
the assertion of Cicero (Cic. Phil. 2.32
81), that the augurs possessed the nuntiatio,
the consuls and the other magistratus
though it must, at the same time, be borne in mind
that this right of nunitiatio
only belonged to them
in consequence of their being employed by the magistrates.
In course of time it was found desirable to limit and define the political
incidents on which it was necessary to consult the auspices, as follows:--1.
On the appointment of a magistrate, on the principle that the auspices must
be consulted at the transmission of the auspices. This appears most clearly
in the appointment of a dictator (ave sinistra dictus
populi magister esto,
Cic. de Leg. 3.3
, 9). The
consul, oriens nocte silentio,
as the full
phrase ran (Liv. 8.23
, and Weissenborn), nominated the dictator. The first-appointed
interrex was not created auspicato,
there was no definite individual
to inaugurate him;
hence it was not customary for the first interrex to hold the comitia
(Asconius in Mil.
p. 43, Orelli). 2. At all comitia
). Hence convenient templa
were to be found at all the meeting-places,--the Vulcanal
in the Comitium,
and the auguraculum
Capitol, for the curiata
(if we are not to read spicionis,
with O. Müller and Kuntze, p. 65, note 5) in the
Campus Martius for the centuriata.
probable, but not certain, that the auspices were consulted of necessity at
and apparently an attempt was
made after 339 B.C. to submit the concilia
to patrician control by this obligation (cf. Mommsen,
110). Meetings of the senate, at any rate when a senatus
was to be passed, were always held in a templum,
but the obligation to take the auspices
does not seem to have been maintained. 3. By a magistrate on assuming office
(see below). 4. By an imperator
on the morning
of his departure with an army (Liv. 21.63
). By thus taking the auspices on the Capitol, he
acquired a right to the auspicia bellica
crossing the pomoerium.
The necessity of a military
commander taking the auspices on the [p. 1.254]
rendered every military command a regular state-magistracy, and was thus, as
Mommsen (op. cit.
i.2 shows, a
powerful barrier in preventing any new extraordinary military commands being
appointed by the people.
There were also auspices at times taken before sittings of the senate (Varr.
ap. Gel. 14.7
before drawings of lots (Liv. 41.18
), before founding colonies (Cic. Rull. 2.12
, 31), before a
battle (Liv. 34.14
). A remarkable kind of military (Cic.
de Nat. Deor. 2.3
, 9; de Div.
2.36, 76) auspices were those used on crossing any running water (auspicia perennia
); and generally if birds flew
across running water a special act was required ut
). The auspices which had to be taken by magistrates
after passing the pomoerium on their way to the Campus Martius were the auspicia perennia,
caused by the little stream
Petronia (see Festus, s. v. Petronia amnis
Mommsen (op. cit.
i.2 93) sees
the origin of the custom in Rome's position on the Tiber, so that the first
step of war against the Etruscans would be the passing of the river. Kuntze
p. 96) thinks that it was owing to the
frequency of the auspicia perennia
convenient and simple auspicia pullaria
be the auspices used especially in military affairs. They are mentioned
together in Cic. de Div. 2.3.
During the regal period the king was the depositary and fountain of the
and no conflict of authority
could arise. But when the auspicia,
with the imperium,
were committed to the two
consuls, and later to the other magistrates, precautions against such a
conflict became indispensable. For this purpose the auspices were graduated
according to the potestas;
and this graduation
was effected, Mispoulet thinks (Institutions politiques,
1.73), by the Aelian and Fufian laws (see below), and a distinction was
drawn between the auspicia majora,
possessed by the
magistrates with the imperium--consuls, consular tribunes, praetors,
dictators, proconsuls, propraetors, and probably the magister equitum
--as well as by censors, though the auspices
of the latter apparently differed in some degree from those of the others
(see Mommsen, op. cit.
and the auspicia minora,
possessed by quaestors
and curule aediles. (Gel. 13.15
.) According to
Lange (Röm. Alterth.
1.295, 696; 2.52, 444) the
auspices were granted to the plebeian tribunes and aediles by the lex Publilia Philonis
(B.C. 339), by which the
plebeian concilia were brought under the influence of the auspicia--to the
aediles the minora,
while the tribunes claimed
the powers of the majora.
Sometimes priests, and
especially the pontifex maximus, who held the comitia
had the right of taking the auspices (Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 89). Mommsen
notices (p. 108) that the reason, why the auspices were so little heard of
as a political weapon (the first positive example is in the consulship of
Bibulus, B.C. 59, though they were used frequently before, Cic. Vat. 9
is that in early party warfare the weapon used was intercessio
(cf. Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 92). In case of collision the auspices of the
higher magistrate prevailed over those of the lower: see the evidence given
by Valerius Maximus (2.8, 2) in the controversy concerning the praetor
Falto's claim to a triumph.
Again, the auspices, if derived from a superior magistrate for a special
purpose, were called auspicia aliena.
quaestors, until their office became a magistratus
in 447, could only possess auspicia aliena,
and after that date they still had to obtain
the auspicia maxima
in the same way from the
consuls or praetors in order to summon the centuries to inquire into a
capital charge (cf. Varr. L. L.
6.91). A triumph could not be
given to the possessor of auspicia aliena,
belonged to the magistrate from whom he derived them; in this point the
triumph of Pompey as an eques
in 81 B.C. was
On a campaign two commanders of equal rank possessed the auspicia
on alternate days (Liv.
), and it has been surmised that at Rome
the consuls had the auspicia like the fasces, every alternate month. In case
of collision of two consuls, both of whom had the auspices at the same time,
the matter in question remained suspended, as was also the result of
(Mommsen, op. cit.
But these precautions were not wholly successful, for they did not prevent
two magistrates, although not equal in rank, from taking the auspices on the
same day for different purposes, and it might happen that one of them
observed a sign which was held diem vitiare
(Cic. Att. 4.9
): as, for instance, the
lightning or thunder which suspended the comitia.
The announcement of such a sign by a privatus
sometimes attended to, especially if he were an augur, but the announcement
by a magistratus (obnuntiatio
) could not be
neglected. To avoid this danger, the magistratus presiding over the comitia
ordered ne quis
magistratus minor de caelo servare velit.
But it appears to
have been impossible to enforce this command, which did not destroy the
validity of an observation taken in disregard of it. Hence it was sought
about 154 B.C. to limit the right of obnuntiatio
by the lex Aelia
which apparently only permitted
a consul to suspend the comitia curiata
presided over by his colleague or the pontifex maximus, and a tribune to
exercise the right against consuls and censors, and vice
(Suet. Jul. 20
Cic. pro Domo,
15, 39; Har.
23, 48; Prov. Cons.
19, 45; Att.
2.12, 2; pro Sest.
37, 79; Att.
4.3, 3, 4; ad Q. Fr.
3.3, 2; Phil.
4.9, 1; D. C. 37.9
Whether the consul and the praetor had the right of obnuntiatio
against the tribune is a much disputed point,
resting as it does on a single passage (Cic. Sest.
). Mommsen (op. cit.
i.2 110) says Yes; but
Mr. Reid (ap. Holden, ad loc.
) cannot assent till a
clearer example is adduced. The notice had to be given before the voting
commenced (Cic. Phil. 2.32
). The obnuntiatio
was abolished by the lex
(58 B.C.), but the legality of this law was called in
question, and it was often violated.
As there was a distinction between the civil and the military imperium,
so there was a distinction between
although the augural science employed in each case
was the same. Auspicia urbana
auspices taken within the city for acts performed within the city; auspicia bellica
) were those employed by generals on a [p. 1.255]
campaign anywhere a mile outside the pomoerium. We have seen
that magistrates had to perform auspicia perennia
crossing the pomoerium to transact business in the Campus Martius, which
stood within the mile-radius. The whole collection of decrees bearing on the
auspices required on crossing the pomoerium was called the jus pomoerii,
and is cited by Cicero (de
2.35, 75) as a department of augural law. [POMOERIUM.]
As to the manner in which the magistrates received the auspices, there is no
reason to suppose, as many modern writers have done, that they were
conferred upon them in any special manner. It was the act of their election
which made them the recipients of the auspices, since the comitia, in which
they were appointed to their office, were held auspicato,
and consequently their appointment was regarded as
ratified by the gods. The auspices, therefore, passed immediately into their
hands upon the abdication of their predecessors in office. There are two
circumstances which have given rise to the opinion, that the magistrates
received the auspices by some special act. The first is, that the new
magistrate, immediately after the midnight on which his office began, was
accustomed to observe the heavens in order to obtain a happy sign for the
commencement of his duties (Dionys. A. R.
). But he did not do this in order to obtain the auspices; he
already possessed them, and it was in virtue of his possession of them that
he was able to observe the heavens. The second circumstance, to which we
have been alluding, was the inauguratio
kings on the Arx after their election in the comitia
). But this
inauguration had reference simply to the priestly office of the king, and,
therefore, did not take place in the case of the republican magistrates,
though it continued in use in the appointment of the rex sacrorum and the
other priests. The ceremony was performed on the Capitol at the comitia calata
before the college of pontifices,
with the assistance of an augur. (Varr.
5.47; Gel. 15.27
; Cic. Phil. 2.43
.) There was a corresponding ceremony, exauguratio,
performed when a priest laid down his office;
otherwise he would have continued to possess the auspices. (Gel. 6.7
; Capitol. M. Aurel.
the inauguration and exauguration of places, see TEMPLUM
The augurs were also employed, probably on
the summons of the pontifex maximus,
discover a favourable day for certain movable feasts, such as the
the annual sacrifice to the
goddess Salus; the augurium canarium
sacrifice of yellow dogs to the goddess Robigo); and in the case of
lustration of the land (sacerdotesque urbemque et agros
vineta virgetaque et salutem populi auguranto,
Cic. de Leg. 2.8
It remains to trace the history of the college of augurs. We have already
seen that it was a common opinion in antiquity, that the augurship owed its
origin to the first king of Rome, and it is accordingly stated, that a
college of three augurs was appointed by Romulus (ex
singulis tribubus singulos cooptavit augures
), answering to
the number of the early tribes,--the Ramnes, Tities, and Lucerenses. This is
the account of Cicero (de Rep.
2.9, 16), who supposed Numa to
have added two more (2.14, 26), without, however, stating in what way these
latter corresponded to the tribes. Moreover, we are told that the Luceres
were not incorporated in the city before the reign of Tarquin. On the other
side stand two statements of Livy, the first (4.4, 2) that the first
institution of augurs is to be attributed to Numa, seemingly on the theory
that all the Roman religion was derived from the second king; the second
(10.6, 6, 7) that at the passing of the Ogulnian law the augurs were but
four in number, which Livy himself, who recognised the principle of the
number of augurs corresponding to that of the tribes, and so being three or
a multiple of three, supposes to have been accidental. While it is admitted
that augurs and augural science were in existence before the foundation of
Rome, the view of Livy is now generally adopted (Lange, Röm.
i.3 334), that the foundation of
the college is to be assigned to the period marked by the name of Numa. The
question of the numbers of the college presents still greater difficulties.
Mercklin (Die Cooptation der Römer,
following the view of Niebuhr and Ambrosch on the comparative insignificance
of the Luceres, supposes that the latter were not represented, that the king
himself was the third member of the original college, that Numa doubled the
representation of the other two tribes, and that on the expulsion of the
kings the number sank to four. Marquardt (Röm.
3.383, cf. 232) and Willems (Droit public
325) say, that the original number of the college was three,
of whom the king was one, and that subsequently this number was doubled, as
was the case with the Vestals. But Cicero says (Rep.
that Romulus chose as his fellows (cooptavit
one from each of the three (2.8, 14) tribes,--therefore there were four
augurs; that Numa added two (2.14, 26), thus making six, which agrees with
the number given by Livy (10.6
) as the normal one at the time of the Ogulnian
law (cf. Mommsen, Roman Hist.
1.178, Eng. Tr.;
Lange, Röm. Alt.
1.290); and most probably after the
expulsion of the kings the number of augurs found in existence was
maintained, and it became the practice, as it had been the original theory
(cf. Cic. Rep. 2.9
, 16, with
), that an equal number should be chosen
from each tribe. Lange (op. cit.
p. 291) is of
opinion that the increase to the original number cannot have been due to
Numa, the founder of the college, but should be attributed to the time of
Tarquinius Priscus, who chose Attus Navius to the augurate, from whose
election the increased importance of the augurs is dated by Livy, 1.36
2.14, 26), in mentioning the addition to the
college by Numa, says he made the increase majoribus
The Ogulnian law (B.C. 300), which increased the number of pontiffs to eight,
by the addition of four plebeians, and that of the augurs to nine by the
addition of five plebeians, may be considered an era in Roman history. The
religious distinction between the two orders, which had been so often
insisted upon, was now at an end, and it was no longer possible to use the
auspices as a political instrument against the plebeians. The number of nine
augurs which this law fixed, lasted down to the dictatorship of Sulla, who
increased them to fifteen, a multiple of the original [p. 1.256]
three, probably with a reference to the early tribes. (Liv. Epit. 89
.) A sixteenth member was added by
Julius Caesar after his return from Egypt. (D. C.
During the regal period the kings doubtless chose the augurs. After the
expulsion of the kings they were chosen by co-optation, the first recorded
instance being in B.C. 453 (Liv. 3.32
retained the right of co-optation until B.C. 103, the year of the Domitian
law. By this law it was enacted that vacancies in the priestly colleges
should be filled up from the nominees of the colleges by the comitia sacerdotum,
i.e. seventeen out of the
thirty-five tribes chosen by lot. (Cic. de
Leg. Agr. 2.7
, 18; Vell.
; Suet. Nero 2
.) The Domitian law
was repealed by Sulla B.C. 81 (Pseudo-Ascon. in
p. 102, ed. Orelli), but again restored B.C. 63,
during the consulship of Cicero, by the tribune T. Atius Labienus, with the
support of Caesar (D. C. 37.37
). The lex Atia
provided that these comitia
were to be held annually, between the consular and
the praetorian elections, under the presidency of the consuls. It was a
second time abrogated by Antony B.C. 44 (D. C.
); whether again restored by Hirtius and Paus. in their general
annulment of the acts of Antony, seems uncertain. The emperor received from
the people (A.D. 29) the right of appointing members of the sacerdotal
colleges even in excess of the prescribed numbers, and the places were
filled sometimes by the emperor, sometimes by senatus
and sometimes by the co-optation of the college.
After Tiberius ceased to summon the comitia,
the importance of the augurs rapidly declined, and their liberty increased.
Alexander Severus ordered that the imperial nominations should be
scrutinised by the senate (Lampr. Al. Sev.
49, 2). After the
reign of Diocletian the history of the college is difficult to trace. The
last mention we have of augurs is in 390 A.D. (C. I. L.
The augurs were elected for life, and, even if capitally convicted, never
lost their sacred character. (Plin. Ep. 4.8
.) When a vacancy occurred, the
candidate was nominated by two of the elder members of the college (Cic. Phil. 2.2
), the electors were sworn, and the new member was then solemnly
inaugurated (Cic. Brut. 1
). On such occasion there was always a
splendid banquet given, at which all the augurs were expected to be present
(Cic. Fam. 7.2. 6
; ad Att.
12.13, 14, 15). The
only distinction in the college was one of age; an elder augur always voted
before a younger, even if the latter filled one of the higher offices in the
state (Cic. de Sen.
18, 64). The head of the
college was called magister collegii.
expected that all the augurs should live on friendly terms with one another,
and it was a rule that no one was to be elected to the office who was known
to be an enemy to any of the college (Cic. Fam.
). The augur who had
inaugurated a younger member, was always to be regarded by the latter in the
light of a parent (in parentis eum loco colere,
Cic. Brut. 1
The procedure adopted to decide whether there was a vitium
or not in any proceeding was as follows: The senate or one
of the magistrates laid the matter before the college (referre, deferre rem ad collegium,
Cic. Phil. 2.34
). The college does not seem to have had
the right of taking the initiative: the passages adduced by Mommsen
1.112, note 2)--viz. Cic. de Div. 2.3. 5
de Nat. Deor.
2.4, 11; Fam.
not at all prove it. When the matter was laid before the college, the
inquiry into it, a matter of ecclesiastical law, was conducted just as would
have been a question of civil or criminal law: evidence was heard (Liv. 8.23
) delivered (pronuntiaverunt
); cf. Liv.
. As partaking of the nature of a court,
the college had attendants, servi publici
(Orelli, 2649). We also find monitor augurum
(Henzen, 5670), viator augurum
(Suet. de Gramm.
12). The necessary expenses incurred by the college of augurs, as those
incurred by the other colleges, were defrayed out of landed property which
the augurs possessed on the Capitol (Oros. 5.18
and near Veii (Festus, s. v. Obscum
); cf. Grom.
162, 28. The augurs, who were honorary officers, were not paid
any salary by the state, but the pullarii
(Dionys. A. R. 2.6
); cf. Marq.
2.78, 79. The privileges of the
augurs were mainly those of the other priests, viz. special places at the
games and festivals (Mommsen, Röm. Staatsr.
i.2 390, note 5), freedom from military service and from
certain civil duties (Lex Colon. Genet.
lxii. and lxvii.);
cf. Cic. Ac. Pr. 2.3. 8
The duties they appear to have been exempted from were what were afterwards
known as munera personalia,
though they were
not exempt from serving on juries (Cic. Brut.
). But they appear not to
have been free from munera patrimonii,
the payment of the tributum
Mommsen, Eph. Epigr.
3.100, 101). The daughters of augurs
were exempted from liability to be chosen as Vestal Virgins (Gel. 1.12
). It appears
that each place in the college of augurs bore the name of decuria
(Henzen, 6021; Marq. op. cit.
The dress of the augurs, as of the other priests, was the praetexta
(Cic. Sest. 69
, and Holden, ad loc.;
2.9, 2; Fam.
2.16, 7; cf. Mommsen,
i.2 406, note
3). Servius (Serv. ad Aen. 7.612
indeed tells us that the augurs wore the trabea;
but perhaps this military costume was only worn by augurs
when in attendance on the military commander (cf. Mommsen, op. cit.
i.2 414, note 6). They
also carried in their hand the lituus
] On the coins of
the Romans who filled the
Augur, wearing the trabea. (Brit. Museum.)
office of augur, we constantly find the lituus,
and along with it, not unfrequently, the capis,
an earthen vessel which was used by them in
sacrifices (Liv. 10.7
; Varr. L. L.
5.121). The first cut on the next
page, representing a coin of Q. Cornificius, who fought against the
triumvirs in [p. 1.257]
Africa, bears on the obverse the head
of Ammon, and on the reverse an augur, holding a lituus,
Coin of Cornificius, representing on the reverse an Augur, holding
and crowned by Juno. Both the lituus and the capis are seen in the
second cut, representing a coin of Lentulus.
Coin of Lentulus, representing on the reverse the lituus and
The science of augury had greatly declined in the time of Cicero; and
although he frequently deplores its neglect in his de
yet neither he nor any of the educated classes
appears to have had any faith in it. What a farce it had become a few years
later is evident from the statement of Dionysius (2.6
), who informs us, that a new
magistrate, who took the auspices upon the first day of his office, was
accustomed to have an augur at his side, who told him that lightning had
appeared on his left, which was regarded as a good omen; and although
nothing of the kind had happened, this declaration was considered
sufficient. (See also Cic. Phil. 2.32
Kuntze (p. 91) sums up the development of augury by showing that the taker
of the auspices at first watched (the oblativa
), then prayed (the impetrativa
then demanded and compelled the augury (as in the pullaria auspicia
), and finally invented.
Our knowledge of augury as practised by the other Italian peoples is
fragmentary, but in the Eugubine tables (still preserved at Gubbio) we have
some most interesting remnants of the ritual of the Umbrian augurs, probably
between the fourth and the second century B.C.,
showing striking resemblances to the Roman. The fame of the Marsi as augurs
was widespread, but unenviable (Enn. ap. Cic.
de Div. 1.5. 8
, 132). The augural science of
the Sabines was preserved at Rome by the Sodales
(Varr. L. L.
5.85). Among the Latins Gabii
had the honour of being the traditional source of the augury of Romulus and
Rome. (Dionys. A. R. 1.84
; Plut. Rom. 6
; Preller, Röm.
p. 106.) The Sorani on Mount Soracte are mentioned as
augurs by Cic. (de Div.
1.47). When Rome became mistress of
Italy, collegiate bodies of augurs, in imitation of the Roman, were
established in many Italian cities (Plut. Caes.
; Lucan 7.192
; Orelli, 2287-8;
Orelli-Henzen, 5777); also in the provinces. In the colony of Urso in Spain
(Lex Col. Genet.
lxvii. lxviii.) they were elected by the
comitia, yet the phrase is still lectus cooptatusve;
and it is to be noticed that conviction for a criminal offence deprived the
augur of his office. Augurs also are found in the Album of Thamugas (Marq.
1.192). For numerous other examples,
see Henzen, Index, p. 49.
On the whole subject of augury amongst the Romans see Mascov, de Jure Auspicii apud Romanos,
Lips. 1721; Werther,
de Auguriis Romanis,
Lemgo, 1835; Creuzer,
vol. ii. p. 935, &c.; Müller,
vol. ii. p. 110, &c.; Hartung,
Die Religion der Römer,
vol. i. p. 98,
&c.; Göttling, Geschichte der Röm.
p. 198, &c.; Rubino, Röm.
p. 34, &c.; Rein, art. Augures
in Pauly's Realencyclopädie;
Preller, Römische Mythologie,
109-111, ed. 1858;
Nissen, Das Templum,
chap. i.; Mommsen,
73-114; Marquardt, Römische Staatsverwaltung,
6.381-393 ; Lange, Römische Alterthümer,
1.286-298(=i.3 330-345); Walter, Geschichte
des römischen Rechts,
§ § 151, 152;
Madvig, Die Verfassung und Verwaltung des römischen
2.633-643; Mispoulet, Les Institutions politiques
1.73, 2.416-423; Willems, Le Droit public
239-242, 324-326; Kuntze, Prolegomena zur
61-102; Bouché--Leclereq, art.
in Daremberg and Saglio's Dict. des
and Histoire de la divination dans