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Some signs and omens he regarded as infallible. If in the morning his shoe was put on wrong, the left instead of the right, that boded some disaster. If when he commenced a long journey, by sea or land, there happened to fall a mizzling rain, he held it to be a good sign of a speedy and happy return. He was much affected likewise with any thing out of the common course of nature. A palm-tree1 which chanced to grow up between some stones in the court of his house, he transplanted into a court where the images of the Household Gods were placed, and took all possible care to make it thrive. In the island of Capri, some decayed branches of an old ilex, which hung drooping to the ground, recovered themselves upon his arrival; at which he was so delighted, that he made an exchange with the Republic 2 of Naples, of the island of OEnaria [Ischia], for that of Capri. He likewise observed certain days; as never to go from home the day after the Nundinae,3 nor to begin any serious business upon the nones;4 avoiding nothing else in it, as he writes to Tiberius, than its unlucky name.
1 If these trees flourished at Rome in the time of Augustus, the winters there must have been much milder than they now are. There was one solitary palm standing in the garden of a convent some years ago, but it was of a very stunted growth.
2 The Republican forms were preserved in some of the larger towns.
3 "The Nundinae occurred every ninth day, when a market was held at Rome, and the people came to it from the country. The practice was not then introduced amongst the Romans, of dividing their time into weeks, as we do, in imitation of the Jews. Dio, who flourished under Severus, says that it first took place a little before his time, and was derived from the Egyptians."--Thomson. A fact, if well founded, of some importance.
4 The Romans divided their months into calends, nones, and ides. The first day of the month was the calends of that month; whence they reckoned backwards, distinguishing the time by the day before the calends, the second day before the calends, and so on, to the ides of the preceding month. In eight months of the year, the nones were the fifth day, and the ides the thirteenth: but in March, May, July, and October, the nones fell on the seventh, and the idcs on the fifteenth. From the nones they reckoned backwards to the calends, as they also did from the ides to the nones."-Ib.
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