Neither Laelius nor Scipio Aemilianus can have looked on the augural discipline, which Polybius has primarily in view, as anything else than a political institution; yet the national spirit in them was too strong and their sense of decorum too delicate to have permitted their coming forward in public with such hazardous explanations.

The more openly the religion of the land was declared a political institution, the more decidedly the political parties regarded the field of the state-church as an arena for attack and defence; which was especially, in a daily-increasing measure, the case with augural science and with the elections to the priestly colleges.

Most of all certainly the oligarchy recognized its palladium in the state- religion, and particularly in the augural discipline; but the opposite party also made no resistance in point of principle to an institute, which had now merely a semblance of life; they rather regarded it, on the whole, as a bulwark which might pass from the possession of the enemy into their own.

Most of all certainly the oligarchy recognized its palladium in the state- religion, and particularly in the augural discipline; but the opposite party also made no resistance in point of principle to an institute, which had now merely a semblance of life; they rather regarded it, on the whole, as a bulwark which might pass from the possession of the enemy into their own.

And the pontifical books attest that the right of appeal had existed, even against the decision of the kings. Our augural books affirm the same thing. Besides, the historical fact that the decemviri who compiled the laws were created with the privilege of judging without appeal, sufficiently proves that the other magistrates had not the same power.

There is no doubt but Augustus, after this, came to a resolution upon the subject, and, accordingly, left him invested with no other honour than that of the Augural priesthood; naming him amongst the heirs of the third degree, who were but distantly allied to his family, for a sixth part of his estate only, with a legacy of no more than eight hundred thousand sesterces.

The address of the Consul was short, practical, and to the point; and the danger he foretold to the order was so terrible, while the inconvenience of deferring the elections was so small, and its occurrence so frequent—a sudden tempest, the striking of the standard on the Janiculum, the interruption of a tribune, or the slightest informality in the augural rites sufficing to interrupt themthat little objection was made in any quarter, to the motion of Cicero, that the comitia should be delayed, until the matter could be thoroughly investigated.

Their doctrine as to the gods and the state soon exhibited a singular family resemblance to the actual institutions of those who gave them bread; instead of illustrating the cosmopolitan state of the philosopher, they made their meditations turn on the wise arrangement of the Roman magistracies; and while the more refined Stoics such as Panaetius had left the question of divine revelation by wonders and signs open as a thing conceivable but uncertain, and had decidedly rejected astrology, his immediate successors contended for that doctrine of revelation or, in other words, for the Roman augural discipline as rigidly and firmly as for any other maxim of the school, and made extremely unphilosophical concessions even to astrology.

The practical side of the Roman priesthood was the priestly cuisine; the augural and pontifical banquets were as it were the official gala-days in the life of a Roman epicure, and several of them formed epochs in the history of gastronomy: the banquet on the accession of the augur Quintus Hortensius for instance brought roast peacocks into vogue.

Neither Laelius nor Scipio Aemilianus can have looked on the augural discipline, which Polybius has primarily in view, as anything else than a political institution; yet the national spirit in them was too strong and their sense of decorum too delicate to have permitted their coming forward in public with such hazardous explanations.