The Ancient Library

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mtntiatio (perhaps also spectio cum nuntiatione), and belonged only to the highest magistrates, the con­suls, dictators, interreges, and, with some modifica­tions, to the praetors. In the other case, the person who took the causes only exercised the spectio in reference to the duties of his own office, and could not interfere with any other magistrate: this was called spectio sine mmtiatione, and belonged to the other magistrates, the censors, aediles, and quaes­tors. Now as the augurs did not possess the auspices, they consequently could not possess the spectio (liabere speciioneiri); but as the augurs were constantly employed by the magistrates to take the auspices, they exercised the spectio, though they did not possess it in virtue of their office. When they were employed by the magistrates in taking the auspices, they possessed the right of the mm-tiatio, and thus had the power, by the declaration of unfavourable signs (obnuntiatioi), to put a stop to all important public transactions (Cic. de Leg, ii. 12). In this way we are able to understand the assertion of Cicero (Philipp. ii. 32), that the augurs possessed the nuntiatio, the consuls and the other (higher) magistrates both the spectio and mmtiatio; though it must, at the same time, be borne in mind that this right of nuntiatio only be­longed to them in consequence of their being em­ployed by the magistrates. (Respecting the passage of Festus, s. v. spectio, which seems to teach a dif­ferent doctrine, see Rubino, p. 58.)

2. 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. ii. 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 inangu-ratio of the kings on the Arx after their election in the comitia (Liv. i. 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.

3. The auspices belonging to the different magis­trates were divided into two classes, called auspicia maxima, or mqjora and ininofa. The former^ which belonged originally to the kings, passed over to the consuls on the institution of the republic, and like­wise to the extraordinary magistrates, the dictators^ interreges, and consular tribunes. When the con-euls were deprived in course of time of part of their duties, and separate magistrates were created to discharge them, they naturally received the auspi­cia majora also; this was the case with the cen-


sors and praetors. The quaestors and the curula aediles, on the contrary, had only the auspicia, minora, because they received them from the con­suls and praetors of the year, and their auspices were derived from the majora of the higher ma­gistrates. (Messalla, ap. Gell. xiii. 15.)

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, answering to the number of the early tribes, the Ramnes, Tities, and Lu-cerenses. This is the account of Cicero (de Rep. ii. 9), who supposed Numa to have added two more (ii. 14), without, however, stating in what way these latter corresponded to the tribes. On the other side stand different statements of Livy, first, one (iv. 4) which is probably an error, in which the first institution of augurs is attributed to Numa, seemingly on the theory that all the Roman religion was derived from the second king; secondly, a statement of far more importance (x. 6), 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, supposes to have been accidental. This is improbable, as Niebuhr has shown (Hist, of Rome, vol. iii. p. 352), who thinks the third tribe was excluded from the college of augurs, and that the four, therefore, represented the Ramnes and Tities only. It is hard to suppose, however, that this supe­riority of the Ramnes and Tities over the third tribe could have continued down to the time of the Ogulnian law (b. c. 300): moreover, as two augurs apiece were appointed from each of the two first tribes, and the remaining five from the plebs, it does not appear how the Luceres could ever have obtained the privilege. A different mode of re­conciling the contradictory numbers four and three is sought for in another statement of Cicero (de Div. i. 40), that the kings were augurs, so that after their expulsion another augur may have been added instead of them to the original number which represented the tribes. Probably this is one of the many cases in early Roman history in which the only conclusion we can come to is, that the theory of what ought to have been according to antiquarians of a later age differed from what actually was according to the earliest accounts to which Livy had recourse.

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 a sort of aera 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 Sylla, who increased them to fifteen, a multiple of the original three, probably with a reference to the early tribes. (Liv. J3pit. 89.) A sixteenth number was added by Julius Caesar afW his return from Egypt. (Dion Cass. xlii. 51.)

The members of the college of augurs possessed self-election (cooptati). At first they were ap­pointed by the king, but as the king himself was

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