previous next


AUGUR AUGUR´IUM; AUSPEX, AUSPIC´IUM. Augur or auspex 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 or auspicium. Plutarch relates that the augures were originally termed auspices (Quaest. Rom. 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, 3.20). 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. (Cic. de Div. 1.1. 6, 28.) Rubino (Römisch. Verfassung, p. 45), followed by Mommsen (Röm. Staatsr. i.2 101, note 2), draws a distinction between the meaning of the words auspex and augur, though believing 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 augurari, and the same distinction seems to prevail between the words auspicium and augurium, when they are used together (Cic. de Nat. Deor. 2.3, 9), though they are often applied to the same signs. The word auspex was supplanted by augur, but the scientific term for the observation continued on the contrary to be auspicium, and not augurium. The etymology of auspex is clear enough (from avis, and the root spec), but that of augur is not so certain. Some ancient grammarians derived it from avis and gero (Festus, s. v. augur; Serv. ad Verg. A. 5.523), in support of which we may mention the analogy of au-spex and au-ceps, and the ancient forms auger and augeratus 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 Umbrian uhtur = auctor (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, garrire). 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, 4), “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 augur 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, Orelli, Inscr. 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. 3, 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 national μαντική or divinatio, 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 nature--prodigia. 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 Divinatione, 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 Nat. Deor. 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, 72; 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. 2.8, 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 records (commentarii, Cic. de Div. 2.1. 8, 42; cf. Marquardt, Röm. Staatsv. 3.288), which consisted of judgments (responsa or decreta, Cic. de Dom. 15, 40; de Div. 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 lists (fasti) 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 and auspicium 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, ex diris (Festus, s. v. quinque genera). Strictly speaking, the last three of these formed no part of the auspices.

These signs were either impetrita or impetrativa--that is, specified by the person who consulted the will of Jupiter when he began to take observations; or oblativa,--that is, not specified nor expected by him beforehand, and therefore so far unfavourable. The auspicia ex diris always belonged to the class of oblativa. The specification of the impetrita was called legum dictio. (Serv. ad Aen. 2.702, 3.89, 6.190, 12.246, 259; Plaut. Asin. 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 about.
    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, 28).
    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. ad 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 and ex avibus), 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 or tescum (the latter term was applied to any rustic place sacred to a divinity, Varr. L. L. 7.2, 82), within which he intended to make his observations between midnight and daybreak. For full details on the Roman templum, 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 perennia) and other military auspices. The station where he was to take the auspices was also separated (effari loca) by a solemn formula (conceptis verbis), which varied on different occasions, from the rest of the land, and was likewise called templum or tescum. He then proceeded to pitch his tent in it (tabernaculum capere), and this again was called templum, or more accurately templum minus; for templum, as 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, 6): cf. Nissen, Das Templum, p. 172, 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. 14.7, 7): 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, 6; Cic. de Off. 3.1. 6, 66). In like manner there was in every Roman camp a place called augurale (Tac. Ann. 2.13, 15.30), 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. L. L. 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; Liv. 27.29, 5). 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 called tempestus (= supremum augurii tempus, 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. 4, 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 Leg. 2.8, 21; 12, 31). Everything which rendered the auspices invalid was called vitium (see Festus, s. v. silentio surgere), and hence we constantly read in Livy and other writers of vitio magistratus creati, vitio lex lata, &c. A euphemistic phrase was causa est (Serv. ad Aen. 7.141; 9.630). The watching for the auspices was called spectio or servare de coelo, the declaration of what was observed nuntiatio or obnuntiatio (vide infra). If the signs were unfavourable, the nuntiatio of the augur was expressed in the form alio die, by 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. 1.18; Stat. Theb. 3.459 ff.; and 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 patres, and are called auspicia patrum. It is closely connected with the possession of a gens; and accordingly there can be no doubt that patres means the whole body of patricians (see Liv. 4.2, 5; 6, 2; 6.41, 6; 10.8, 9; 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 auspicia we know little, but probably they were similar to the publica, 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 privata were taken, was in case of a marriage (Cic., Val. Max., ll. cc.); 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 connubium between themselves and the plebeians, as it would occasion, they urged, perturbationem auspiciorum publicorum privatorumque (Liv. 4.2, 5). The possession of these private auspicia is expressed in another passage of Livy by privatim auspicia habere (Liv. 6.41, 6). 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 or augur: 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 Leg. 2.8, 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 (Liv. 40.52, 5); 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. 1.5, 4); on their entrance upon office, they received the auspices (accipiebant auspicia, Cic. de Div. 2.3. 6, 76); while their office lasted, they were in possession of them (habebant or erant eorum auspicia, Gel. 13.15); 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, 4). 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 (vitium) 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 (Liv. 5.31, 7; 6.5, 6). 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 (Liv. 8.30, 2, and Weissenborn), though this term is once applied (Liv. 5.17, 3) to what is more strictly renovatio (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 is 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, 1, it 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, 7). 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. 2, 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. 1.10, 6.) 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 auspicia) 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 (de Div. 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, Staatsr. 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; 8.23.)

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 auspicia and spectionem appears 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, Donat. ad 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 both the spectio and nuntiatio; 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, 5, and Weissenborn), nominated the dictator. The first-appointed interrex was not created auspicato, because 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 (Liv. 5.52, 15). Hence convenient templa were to be found at all the meeting-places,--the Vulcanal in the Comitium, the Calabra Curia and the auguraculum on the Capitol, for the curiata and calata; the rostra for the tributa, the horti Scipionis (if we are not to read spicionis, with O. Müller and Kuntze, p. 65, note 5) in the Campus Martius for the centuriata. It is probable, but not certain, that the auspices were consulted of necessity at contiones, and apparently an attempt was made after 339 B.C. to submit the concilia plebis to patrician control by this obligation (cf. Mommsen, Röm. Staatsrecht, i.2 p. 110). Meetings of the senate, at any rate when a senatus consultum 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, 9). By thus taking the auspices on the Capitol, he acquired a right to the auspicia bellica after crossing the pomoerium. The necessity of a military commander taking the auspices on the [p. 1.254]Capitol 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, 9), before drawings of lots (Liv. 41.18, 8), before founding colonies (Cic. Rull. 2.12, 31), before a battle (Liv. 34.14, 1). 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 perseveret augurium (Serv. ad Aen. 9.24). 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 (op. cit. p. 96) thinks that it was owing to the frequency of the auspicia perennia that the convenient and simple auspicia pullaria came to be the auspices used especially in military affairs. They are mentioned together in Cic. de Div. 2.3. 6, 77.

During the regal period the king was the depositary and fountain of the auspicia, and no conflict of authority could arise. But when the auspicia, together 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. i.2 89), 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 calata, 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, 23), 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. Thus the 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, but belonged to the magistrate from whom he derived them; in this point the triumph of Pompey as an eques in 81 B.C. was irregular.

On a campaign two commanders of equal rank possessed the auspicia on alternate days (Liv. 22.42, 8; 28.9, 10), 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 conflicting intercessio (Mommsen, op. cit. i.2 92).

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 (nuntiatio) was 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 and lex Fufia, 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 versâ. (Suet. Jul. 20; Cic. pro Domo, 15, 39; Har. Resp. 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. 2.38, 99; Att. 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. 36, 78). 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, 82). The obnuntiatio was abolished by the lex Clodia (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 auspicia urbana and bellica, although the augural science employed in each case was the same. Auspicia urbana were those auspices taken within the city for acts performed within the city; auspicia bellica (or militaria) 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 on 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 Div. 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. 2.6). 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 of the kings on the Arx after their election in the comitia (Liv. 1.18). 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. L. L. 5.47; Gel. 15.27; Cic. Phil. 2.43, 110.) 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. 4.) For the inauguration and exauguration of places, see TEMPLUM The augurs were also employed, probably on the summons of the pontifex maximus, to discover a favourable day for certain movable feasts, such as the augurium Salutis--viz. the annual sacrifice to the goddess Salus; the augurium canarium (i.e. the 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, 21).

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. Alterth. 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, p. 96), 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. Staatsver. 3.383, cf. 232) and Willems (Droit public romain, 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. 2.9, 16) 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, 7) 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 Liv. l.c.), 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, 6. Cicero (Rep. 2.14, 26), in mentioning the addition to the college by Numa, says he made the increase majoribus auspiciis inventis.

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. 42.51.)

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). They 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. 2.12; Suet. Nero 2.) The Domitian law was repealed by Sulla B.C. 81 (Pseudo-Ascon. in Cic. Div. 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. 44.53); 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 consultum, 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. 6.503).

The augurs were elected for life, and, even if capitally convicted, never lost their sacred character. (Plin. Ep. 4.8, 1.) When a vacancy occurred, the candidate was nominated by two of the elder members of the college (Cic. Phil. 2.2, 4), the electors were sworn, and the new member was then solemnly inaugurated (Cic. Brut. 1, 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, 2; 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. It was 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. 3.1. 0, 9). 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, 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, Liv. 45.12, 10; Cic. Phil. 2.34, 84). The college does not seem to have had the right of taking the initiative: the passages adduced by Mommsen (Röm. Staatsr. 1.112, note 2)--viz. Cic. de Div. 2.3. 5, 74; de Nat. Deor. 2.4, 11; Fam. 10.12, 2--do 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, 15), and judgment; (decretum) delivered (pronuntiaverunt); cf. Liv. 4.7, 3; 23.31, 13. 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 (C. I. L. 6.1847), pullarii (Orelli, 3509), and calatores (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. Vet. 162, 28. The augurs, who were honorary officers, were not paid any salary by the state, but the pullarii were (Dionys. A. R. 2.6); cf. Marq. Röm. Staatsv. 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, 121. 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. 31, 117). But they appear not to have been free from munera patrimonii, such as the payment of the tributum (Liv. 33.42, 4 ; cf. Mommsen, Eph. Epigr. 3.100, 101). The daughters of augurs were exempted from liability to be chosen as Vestal Virgins (Gel. 1.12, 7). It appears that each place in the college of augurs bore the name of decuria (Henzen, 6021; Marq. op. cit. 225).

The dress of the augurs, as of the other priests, was the praetexta (Cic. Sest. 69, 144, and Holden, ad loc.; Att. 2.9, 2; Fam. 2.16, 7; cf. Mommsen, Röm. Staatsr. 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 or curved wand. [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, 10; 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 the lituus.

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 capis.

The science of augury had greatly declined in the time of Cicero; and although he frequently deplores its neglect in his de Divinatione, 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 Titii (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. Myth. 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. 47; 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. op. cit. 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, Symbolik, vol. ii. p. 935, &c.; Müller, Etrusker, vol. ii. p. 110, &c.; Hartung, Die Religion der Römer, vol. i. p. 98, &c.; Göttling, Geschichte der Röm. Staatsverf. p. 198, &c.; Rubino, Röm. Verfassung, p. 34, &c.; Rein, art. Augures in Pauly's Realencyclopädie; Preller, Römische Mythologie, 109-111, ed. 1858; Nissen, Das Templum, chap. i.; Mommsen, Römisches Staatsrecht, i.2 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 Staates, 2.633-643; Mispoulet, Les Institutions politiques des Romains, 1.73, 2.416-423; Willems, Le Droit public romain, 239-242, 324-326; Kuntze, Prolegomena zur Geschichte Roms, 61-102; Bouché--Leclereq, art. Augur and Auspicia in Daremberg and Saglio's Dict. des Antiquités, and Histoire de la divination dans l'antiquité.

[W.S] [J.H.F] [L.C.P]

hide References (136 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (136):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.3
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 6.6
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 7.2.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 4.9
    • Cicero, Letters to Brutus, 1
    • Cicero, Letters to Brutus, 1.5
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.32
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.84
    • Cicero, On the Agrarian Law, 2.12
    • Cicero, For Sestius, 69
    • Cicero, For Sestius, 78
    • Cicero, Against Vatinius, 23
    • Cicero, On the Agrarian Law, 2.7
    • Cicero, On his House, 15
    • Cicero, For Sestius, 144
    • Cicero, For Sestius, 36
    • Cicero, Against Vatinius, 9
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.110
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.2
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.34
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.4
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.43
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.82
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 5.523
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 9.630
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 1.402
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 2.693
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 3.20
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 1.394
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 3.537
    • Suetonius, Divus Claudius, 26
    • Suetonius, Divus Julius, 20
    • Suetonius, Nero, 2
    • Tacitus, Annales, 15.30
    • Tacitus, Annales, 11.27
    • Tacitus, Annales, 2.13
    • Lucan, Civil War, 7.192
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 10.40
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 28.11
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 10.20
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 10.34
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 10.37
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 10.39
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 28.17
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 4.1
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 4.8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 33, 42
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 15
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 17
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 3
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 31
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 52
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 15
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 23
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 30
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 13
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 29
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 33, 4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 14
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 38, 48
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 4, 2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 4, 6
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 6, 27
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 6, 4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 6, 41
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 6, 5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 6
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 63
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 42
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 31
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 6, 6
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 41, 13
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 41, 18
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 41, 8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 1
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 40
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 47
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 6
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 4, 5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 40, 5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 18
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 34
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 36
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 3, 32
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 4, 3
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 4, 7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 1
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 38, 14
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 40, 52
    • Cicero, De Legibus, 2.1
    • Cicero, De Legibus, 2.8
    • Cicero, De Legibus, 3.3
    • Cicero, De Republica, 2.9
    • Cicero, Lucullus, 8
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 2.3
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 3.2
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, 1.1
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, 1.3
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, 1.4
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, 2.1
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, 2.3
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, 1.2
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, 1.5
    • Cicero, De Officiis, 3.1
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 14.7
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 15.27
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 13.15
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 1.12
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 1.7
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 6.6
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 6.7
    • Plutarch, Marcellus, 5
    • Plutarch, Romulus, 6
    • Plutarch, Marcellus, 4
    • Plutarch, Caesar, 47
    • Statius, Thebias, 3
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 2.1.1
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: