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they care for men, and that if they care for men they must send them signs of their will (Cic. de Leg. ii. 13), expressed 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 /xatm/CTj 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. They had on the contrary learnt from the Etruscans to attach much importance to extraordinary appearances in nature •— Prod iff ia ; in common with other neighbouring nations 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 Divi-natione, 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. i. 41, ii 35, 38 ; de Nat. Deor. ii. 4.) 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 that the future was learnt, and the birds were regarded as his messengers. (Aves internun-tiae JoviS) Cic. de Divin. ii. 34 ; Interpretes Jovis optimi maximi publici augures, Cic. de Leg. ii. 8). 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 icas to happen, but simply taught them what they were to do, or not
to do ; they assigned no reason for the decision of Jupiter, — they simply announced, yes or no.
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 qua-drupedibus, ex diris. Of these, the last three formed no part of the ancient auspices. The observation of signs in the heavens, such as lightning, was naturally connected with observing the heavens in order to watch the birds ; and therefore, must in early times have formed part of the auspices ; for in an early stage of society, lightning and similar phenomena have been always looked upon as sent by the gods. 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. (Serv. ad Virg. Aen. ii. 693 ; Cic. de Div. ii. 18, &c. ; Festus, s. v. Coelestia.) The interpretation of these phenomena was rather Etruscan than Roman ; and the only point connected with them which deserves mention here, is, that whenever it was reported by a person authorised to take the auspices, that Jupiter thundered or lightened, the comitia could not be held. (Cic. de Div. ii. 14, Philipp. v. 3.)
2. Eos avibus. It was only a few birds which could give auguries among the Romans. (Cic. de Div. ii. 34.) 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 (Plant. Asm. ii. 1. 12 ; Cic. de Div. i. 39); likewise the owl (noctua^ Festus, s. v. Oscines\ and the hen (gallina, Cic. de Div. ii. 26). To the aves allies belonged first of all the eagle (aquila)^ who is called pre-eminently the bird of Jupiter (Jovis ales}, and next the vulture (vultur), and with these two the avis sanqualis^ also called ossi-fraga, and the imimissulus or immusculus are probably also to be classed. (Comp. Virg. A en. i. 394 ; Liv. i. 7, 34 ; Festus, 5. v. sanqualis; Plin. H. N. x. 7.) Some birds were included both among the oscines and the allies: such were the Picus Martius, and FeroniuS) and the Parrlia (Plin. H. N. x. 18. s. 20 ; Hor. Carm. iii. 27. 15 ; Festus, s. v. Osci-num tripudiwii). These were the principal birds consulted in the auspices. Every sound and motion of each bird had a different meaning, according to the different circumstances, or times of the year when it was observed, but the particulars do not deserve further notice here. When the birds favoured an undertaking, they were said addicere, admittere or secundare, and were then called addic-tivae, admissivae, secundae^ or praepetes: when unfavourable they were Q^idabdicere^arcere., refragari, &c., and were then called adversae or alterae. The birds which gave unfavourable omens were termed funebres, inhibitae, lugubres, malae, &c., and such auspices were called clivia and clamatoria.
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 tripudiiim (Cic. de Div. ii, 34) ; but it be-