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[28] But, according to the writings of you augurs, a tripudium results if any of the food should fall to the ground, and what I spoke of as a 'forced augury' your fraternity calls a tripudium solistimum.1 And so through the indifference of the college, as Cato the Wise laments, many auguries and auspices have been entirely abandoned and lost.

16. "In ancient times scarcely any matter out of the ordinary was undertaken, even in private life, without first consulting the auspices, clear proof of which is given even at the present time by our custom of having ' nuptial auspices,'2 though they have lost their former religious significance and only [p. 257] preserve the name. For just as to-day on important occasions we make use of entrails in divining— though even they are employed to a less extent than formerly—so in the past resort was usually had to divination by means of birds. And thus it is that by failing to seek out the unpropitious signs we run into awful disasters.

1 When the chickens ate so eagerly that some of the food fell to ground and struck it—that was a good omen. See ii. chaps. 34 and 35 where terripudium is explained as =terripavium (from terra and pavire) and solistimum has apparently almost the same meaning. Quintus seems to complain that this was not a true method of divination, as the result was inevitable.

2 Cf. Val. Max. ii. 1; Juv. Sat. x. 336; Suet. Claud. ch. 26.

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