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INAUGURA´TIO was in general the ceremony through which the augurs obtained, or endeavoured to obtain, the sanction of the gods to something which had been decreed by man. It was of especial importance under the kings, for it was the formal rite whereby the gods declared their acceptance of a certain person as the agent through whom alone they would have dealings with the community, and who therefore had an imperative claim upon the obedience of the citizens. The king himself asked the gods for the sign of their approval: the augur only attended to recite the proper formula of consultation, and to interpret according to the rules of his art the answer given. It is a serious mistake to suppose with Lange that a king was inaugurated under the auspices of an interrex: as soon as an interrex had named a rex, the right of auspices passed to the latter, and he himself asked the gods for their approval of his nomination (Liv. 1.18, 44, 55; Plut. Num. 7). Under the republic the inauguratio of the rex sacrificulus and of the flamines was performed by the college of pontiffs in the Comitia Calata (Labeo in Gel. 15.27). This was due to the fact that while the king had the spectio, or right of taking the auspices himself, this was not the case with the rex sacrificulus (Mommsen, Röm. Staatsr. 2.9). The pontifex maximus naturally acted with the assistance of the augurs; and hence he had the right to enforce the inauguratio, if it was refused by the augurs, and if he considered that there was no sufficient ground for refusing it (Liv. 27.8, 40.42). In the case of the pontiffs, augurs, vestal virgins, Salii, and probably all the other priests, the inauguration took place, not at an assembly, but pro collegio (Marquardt, Röm. Verw. 3.223). Livy seems to represent one augur alone as performing the right of inauguratio in the case of Numa Pompilius (Liv. 1.18; compare Cic. Brut. 1, 1; Macrob. Sat, 2.9); and it would seem that in some cases a newly-appointed priest might himself not only fix upon [p. 1.1002]the day, but also upon the particular augur by whom he desired to be inaugurated (Cic. l.c.; and Philip. 2.43, 110).

The higher magistrates continued to be inaugurated under the republic (Dionys. A. R. 2.6), and for this purpose they were summoned by the augurs (condictio, denuntiatio) to appear on the Capitol on the third day after their election (Serv. ad Verg. A. 3.117). This inauguratio conferred no priestly dignity upon the magistrates, but was merely a method of obtaining the sanction of the gods to their election, and gave them the right to take the auspicia; and on important emergencies it was their duty to make use of this privilege. At the time of Cicero, however, this duty was scarcely ever observed (Cic. de Divin. 2.36, 76). A building was “inaugurated” only when it was to be used for meetings of the senate, or when the rites to be performed there required it should be a templum. The inauguratio hallowed the site, and the consecratio the building. Thus the Aedes Vestae was consecrated, but not inaugurated, and meetings of the senate were never held there.

[The word inauguratio is post-classical, but the verb inaugurare is commonly in use.] Cp. AUSPICIA.

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hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Cicero, Letters to Brutus, 1
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 3.117
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 44
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 40, 42
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 18
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 55
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 15.27
    • Plutarch, Numa, 7
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