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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: The Roman ((Lituus ))..a question out of curiosity... 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Roman ((Lituus ))..a question out of curiosity...  (Read 32446 times)
zeid
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« Reply #50 on: October 10, 2009, 05:58:49 am »


And what is you opinion  about the naked male in this coin?





Might it be Neptune with acrostolium?

Stefan



Stefan...we have 1 thing in common  and 3 main differences between the 2 cases:

the common thing:

1-Neptune and this Augur both are depicted as naked males on Roman coins..

Differences:

1-Neptune usually is depicted standing with right foot set on rock or a globe, right knee bent...
in this coin he is not.

2-Neptune Methological Staff is the three branched trident..the famous three-pronged spear
here he is not depicted with it.

3-Acrostolium vs Lituus in Tiberius coin Huh

I will go for a clear Roman Lituus...Kindly compare





Regards....
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quisquam
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« Reply #51 on: October 10, 2009, 06:20:52 am »

It seems to be a lituus, indeed:
http://www.acsearch.info/record.html?id=47114
http://www.acsearch.info/record.html?id=197087
http://www.acsearch.info/record.html?id=250607

Stefan
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zeid
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« Reply #52 on: October 10, 2009, 11:17:02 am »

Someone who knows more may correct me, but my understanding is that the role of an augur was simply to interpret omens, be it the flight of birds or examination of entrails.  A pontifex would officiate at a sacrifice.



 
I think the role of a Roman Augur priest was wider...he may  practiced some  haruspicy in parallel to  his studies and interpretations of the flight of the birds... by inspecting of the entrails of sacrificed animals, especially the livers of sacrificed sheep and poultry.

the  Numa Pompilius coin suggest such mixed divine  duty.. shown as Augur priest holding  (Lituus) and standing before an altar at which he is about to sacrifice a goat as depicted on Pomponius Molo coin (97 BC)





I just wonder if Tiberius  was deprived in his last days from his Divine title as the highest
Augur priest...wikipedia mentioned some decrease in his popularity to a degree that the Senate refused to vote him divine honors, and mobs filled the streets yelling "To the Tiber with Tiberius!"—in reference to a method of disposal reserved for the corpses of criminals.


                 
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zeid
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« Reply #53 on: October 10, 2009, 02:40:10 pm »


 I don't believe there was even such an animal as a "minor Augur priest".  The Augurs were a specific college with responsibility for interpreting omens, a highly prestigious official position that could surely be held in this period only by senators - and not just any senators, either, it would have been monopolised by the most powerful of them, the ones whose support the emperor wanted to reward or solidify. 

...........

As I've said above, the Augurate was not some sort of particular cult, it was a highly prestigious institution at the very heart of the Roman religion and state.  It would not have had a total monopoly on interpreting omens, which could be done by practically anybody in any situation.


Well steve I suppose that hierarchy in Roman priesthood exists,and I think that you are confusing the role of an Augur with that of Pontifex Maximus
(which literally means "Greatest Bridge-maker")  the high priest of the Ancient Roman College of Pontiffs. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion

While Pontifex Maximus can be the highest Augur priest in Roman world
it was  not a visa versa situation all the way...

 Augur priesthood was not an exclusivity for  the emperor  or his senates..

I will quote Livy just to show that the two streams  co-exist but were not   monopolized copies from each other..or the same people with diffrent names!


According to Livy, King Numa assigned to the first Pontifex Maximus, Numa Marcius, the entire system of religious rites, which system was written out for him and sealed and included the manner and timing of sacrifices, the supervision of religious funds, authority over all public and private religious institutions, instruction of the populace in the celestial and funerary rites including appeasing the dead, and expiation of prodegies. The system is said to have been devised by Numa Pompilius after dedicating an altar on the Aventine Hill to Jupiter Elicius and consulting the gods by auguries


original source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifex_Maximus
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Steve Minnoch
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« Reply #54 on: October 10, 2009, 02:59:01 pm »

No I am not confusing them, if you conclude so you're misunderstanding me.  Rome had many religious colleges.  The most prestigious of which where the pontifices, whose chief, the Pontifex Maximus, was the head of the state religion.  Next came the augurs. There were various others, such as the decemviri sacris faciundis, in charge of interpreting the Sybilline books.  If my memory is correct both the college of pontifices and augurs numbered 15 men in the late Republic.  There were a lot more than 30 senators, and it's difficult to concieve that the office would have gone outside their number.

I don't see anything in your quote to suggest that the augurate was not restricted to the Senatorial order.

Steve
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zeid
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« Reply #55 on: October 10, 2009, 04:10:44 pm »

Steve ..what do you think about these quotes....

Quote
The Pontifex maximus was the leader of the pontifical college (collegium pontificum), the highest priestly order in the Roman state religion.

The pontifical college was made up of the fifteen priests, flamines, each of whom served a single god or goddess. The flamines were also called pontiffs, or pontifices



Quote
The flamines (sing: flamen) were the members of the pontifical college. They were also known as the pontiffs. The leader of the college was the pontifex maximus.

Each of the 15 priests in the college was in charge of the cult of one god. There were three major priests, the flamines maiores, who had to be patrician:

Flamen Dialis (Jupiter)
Flamen Martialis (Mars)
Flamen Quirinalis (Quirinus)
The minor priests, the flamines minores, were twelve and they could be plebeians:

Flamen Carmentalis (Carmentis)
Flamen Cerialis (Ceres)
Flamen Falacer (Falacer)
Flamen Floralis (Flora)
Flamen Furrinalis (Furrina)
Flamen Palatualis (Palatua)
Flamen Pomonalis (Pomona)
Flamen Portunalis (Portunus)
Flamen Volcanalis (Vulcan)
Flamen Volturnalis (Volturnus)

Source:

http://sights.seindal.dk/sight/1244_collegium_pontificum.html
http://sights.seindal.dk/sight/311_Flamines.html



is it a must that an Augur should be a patrician  too ?
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zeid
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« Reply #56 on: October 10, 2009, 07:20:07 pm »


is it a must that an Augur should be a patrician  too ?



Steve... what do you think if we make a fair  historical comparision between

Mark Antony as a Quaestor plebeian Augur (50BC)

and Pontius Pilate as a Governor(perfect) plebeian and potential Augur (probably 30 AD)






Mark Antony:A member of the Antonia gens,an important plebeian

Raised by Caesar's influence to the offices of quaestor, augur, and tribune of the plebeians (50 BC)




Photo: http://andrewmccabe.ancients.info
 
 http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3553/3569149814_e3ef1f0f0c_b.jpg











Pontius Pilate
: an important plebeian...a  Roman Governor, Possibly a promagistrate

Knowing that a Stone discovered in a Roman theatre at Caesarea Maritima, the capital of the province of Iudaea, bearing a damaged dedication by Pilate of a Tiberieum.[9] This dedication states that he was [...]ECTVS IUDA[...] (usually read as praefectus iudaeae), that is, prefect/governor of Iudaea








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Steve Minnoch
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« Reply #57 on: October 10, 2009, 10:12:53 pm »

I think the quotes are flat out wrong.  Flamen ≠ Pontifex.  I didn't mention the flamens or the Rex Sacrorum in talking about the priestly colleges because they were offices held by one man only.

In the earliest days in the Republic the distinction between patrician and plebeian was most important.  But in the late Republic, the distinction between patricians and plebeian nobility was a relatively unimportant one.  As I understand it, like most high offices the augurs and pontifices could originally be held only by patricians.  Just like the consulship, for example.  As the constitution developed, men of plebeian origin became eligible for more and more offices, until the only ones still reserved for patricians were special cases like the three major flaminates and the princeps senatus.  On the other hand, patricians could not be tribunes of the plebs - the reason for a very famous case of a patrician - Publius Clodius, giving up his patrician status so he could hold an office which gave a great advantage for one of his political style.

I would compare Antony and Pilate as follows: Antony was a senator from a noble family that was plebeian.  Noble meaning that an ancestors in the patrimonial line held the consulship.  Pilate was a novus homo, a new man, one whose family was a long way down the social ladder.  The office of prefect was, as I understand it, held only by members of the Equestrian order, as was, for example, the governorship of Egypt - a far more important province than Judaea!  And obviously there is simply no comparison between them as to power and repute, Antony was a supremely important man, at one time in control of the entire Roman East, and we have by ancient standards huge amounts of information about him.  Pilate was a relative nobody, and would be virtually unknown if he hadn't been involved in the crucifixion stories of the New Testament.

Antony was high nobility, hence his eligibility to be elected augur.  Pilate was many rungs down the ladder, and very unlikely to have held the post.

Steve
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zeid
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« Reply #58 on: October 11, 2009, 04:28:23 am »





Steve...

I really Appreciate what you have said,But I wanted a historical approach
of the 50 BC Mark Antony not  30 BC Mark Antony-The 53 years old  Roman General-

I wanted to Investigate a much younger Mark Antony...Possibly a 33 years old noble plebeian
Raised by Caesar's influence to the offices of quaestor, augur


a Quaestor was an elected official of the Roman Republic who supervised the treasury and financial affairs of the state, its armies and its officers...

During the reforms of Sulla in 81 BC, the minimum age for a quaestorship was set at 30 for patricians and at 32 for plebeians, and election to the quaestorship gave automatic membership in the Senate


What I meant that he gained his access or membership to the Senate at the age of 33 by being a plebeian raised to a Quaestror not by his claimed noble ancestery.

Second thing I was trying to Investigate If The post of  a Roman Governor(Perfect)  superior or Inferior to that of Quaestror ,because I have read that In the provinces with a significant legionary presence-Like Judea- the governor's second-in-command was usually a quaestor, a man elected in Rome and sent to the province to serve a mainly financial role, but who could command the military with the governor's approval....

Anyway... at least we both agreed that an Augur can come from Plebeian class.




Regards


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« Reply #59 on: October 11, 2009, 05:28:59 am »

Antony came from a noble family and was extremely well connected.  His grandfather was consul, and was so noted for his public speaking that he earned the cognomen Orator and was one of Cicero's idols.  His father was a praetor, and would almost have become consul himself if he hadn't made a complete mess of a campaign on Crete and died not long after.  Uncles on both sides (Lucius Julius Caesar and Gaius Antonius Hybrida) were consular.  The man of the moment, Caesar the future dictator, was a cousin.  He had distinguished himself as a subcommander under Caesar in Gaul.   His step-father P. Cornelius Lentulus Sura had been consul,although he wasn't a connection to hype up too loudly having been executed for his involvement in the conspiracy of Catalina. All these connections would still have been true if he had never gone on to become consul and triumvir. 

I doubt very much that he needed any help from Caesar to secure the quaestorship or tribuneship, even though he served him in both capacities.  With a name and ancestry like his, he couldn't have missed.

Compared to those connections, Pilate was a nobody.

Steve
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zeid
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« Reply #60 on: October 11, 2009, 06:50:06 am »


Compared to those connections,Pilate was a nobody.

Steve

So Steve...you are saying that the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was not an eligible candidate for the cursus honorum (probably around  30 AD), and his link to  Pontius Aquila (died 43 BC) - a tribune of the plebs- is historically controversial.

Frankly speaking I do not see any reason to overrule such a historical probability, since The cursus honorum began with ten years of military duty in the Roman cavalry (the equites) .... The ten years of service were intended to be mandatory in order to qualify an Important Plebeian  like Pontius Pilate for this  prestigious political  post.

A Roman perfect for Judea... surely  was a "somebody" !


Regards

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zeid
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« Reply #61 on: October 11, 2009, 07:10:54 am »


Quintus Cornuficius - republican governor of Africa Vetus (the "old" province)- from 44-42 BC depicted  as  an augur with a Roman Lituus







Photo source :

http://andrewmccabe.ancients.info

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahala_rome/3594269011/

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« Reply #62 on: October 11, 2009, 10:19:33 am »

Cornuficius won Caesar's favour in 48 BC by recovering Illyricum. Caesar, as a reward, made him Praetor and had him elected to the College of Augurs. He was also awarded governorship of Cilicia and later, after Caesar's death, Africa Vetus. These moves were all to do with power politics and nothing to do with 'qualifications'.
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zeid
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« Reply #63 on: October 11, 2009, 12:15:48 pm »

Cornuficius won Caesar's favour in 48 BC by recovering Illyricum. Caesar, as a reward, made him Praetor and had him elected to the College of Augurs.

Praetor...An annually elected magistrate of the ancient Roman Republic, ranking below but having approximately the same functions as a consul.... from 337 BC, the position was also open to plebeians...



I guess according to this delicate Roman hierarchy and flexible standardization...

 Pontius Pilate was an eligible candidate for the college of  Augurs by being solely a Roman Governor Of Judea and from Plebeian origins....




Pontius Pilate...who are you ?


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« Reply #64 on: October 11, 2009, 07:43:34 pm »


So Steve...you are saying that the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was not an eligible candidate for the cursus honorum (probably around  30 AD), and his link to  Pontius Aquila (died 43 BC) - a tribune of the plebs- is historically controversial.

Any equestrian was in principal eligible for the cursus, but had certainly not embarked on it as the first magistracy, the quaestorship, carried with it membership to the Senate since the time of Sulla at least.

I don't think there is any evidence at all to comment on any link between Pilate and Aquila.   Even if there was, being a relative to one of Caesar's assassins wasn't something to make a noise about under the Principate.

Frankly speaking I do not see any reason to overrule such a historical probability, since The cursus honorum began with ten years of military duty in the Roman cavalry (the equites) .... The ten years of service were intended to be mandatory in order to qualify an Important Plebeian  like Pontius Pilate for this  prestigious political  post.
Firstly, what you speak of with the equites = Roman cavalry was several centuries out of date.  It is true that the origins of the equestrian order was those who could afford to outfit themselves as cavalryman, but it's anachronistic to apply that to the late Republic.  And from under Augustus onwards the previous age and service qualifications did not apply - I think the age requirement for the Quaestorship had gone down from 30 (+ 10 campaigns) to 20, an age where it would have been impossible to mount up any serious record of military service.

None of this is particularly relevant to Pilate holding the prefecture, as we know the post was open only to equestrians.  Therefore although we cannot rule out Pilate becoming a senator at a later date, we can rule out his being one before his tenure in Judaea had expired, and we can almost certainly rule out the idea that he was an augur.  Also the tradition os using symbols relevant to the official responsible for issuing a coin had died out by about 15 BC - and the coins ascribed to Pilate's prefecture don't even mention his name.  (Actually I am not even sure on what basis these coins are attributed to Pilate, I'll have to check what RPC says on that when I have the chance).

The lituus on these coins can not be considered evidence that he was an augur

A Roman perfect for Judea... surely  was a "somebody" !
Compared to your average man in the street, yes.  Compared to an aristocrat like Antony, or for that matter the top senators under Tiberius, absolutely not.

Steve
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« Reply #65 on: October 11, 2009, 08:30:12 pm »

The coins of the procurators name in their legends just the emperor and his regnal year. They are assigned to particular procurators on the basis of the dates, since we know from Josephus the dates of office of the successive procurators.

It has always seemed to me very odd that these coins are classified primarily by procurator, whose names are totally absent from the coins, rather than simply by the emperor, whose names they bear!

RPC, to its credit, lists the coins by emperor, adding the procurators' names in parentheses.

I agree with Steve that augurs under the empire were always distinguished senators, of course including the emperor himself and the Caesar if there was one. Pontius Pilate cannot have been an augur. Unfortunately I don't have access to the books and encyclopedias which would state exactly how we know these facts. I seem to recall a book appearing maybe five or ten years ago on the major priestly colleges and their members during the early empire.
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« Reply #66 on: October 12, 2009, 03:45:02 pm »

what's your opinion on the account in Josephus :

After Passover in 44, Agrippa went to Caesarea, where he had games performed in honor of Claudius. In the midst of his elation Agrippa saw an owl perched over his head. During his imprisonment by Tiberius a similar omen had been interpreted as portending his speedy release, with the warning that should he behold the same sight again, he would die within five days. He was immediately smitten with violent pains, scolded his friends for flattering him and accepted his imminent death....

__________

who do you think interpreted the omen of the owl to Agrippa ?

Claudius?....his senates?...or some minor augur priests in his proximity ?

Regards....


Josephus only mantions the owl twice in his entire surviving opus, in these two incidents in his accounts of Agrippa I. Agrippa was brought up in Rome, befriended Caligula and Claudius, helped Claudius be confirmed as emperor, and was made King of the Jews, as well as being given consular rank. He greatly strengthened the fortifications around Jerusalem, and may possibly have been planning a rebellion when he died suddenly. Josephus is writing for Romans, and describes an omen which is distinctly Roman. They used birds for divination, the Jews didn't. Either Agrippa was throughly Romanised, or Josephus tailored the story to his audience. Take your pick, but I suspect the former. If he was making up stories like this, he'd surely have used them in regard to other Jews as well, who didn't happen to have been brought up in Rome!

There certainly wouldn't have been augurs in Judea, as they were an aristocratic Roman priesthood. If Agrippa had acquired the Roman superstition about owls, most likely he interpreted it for himself, after the original prophecy was made - or imagined - in Rome. An imported Roman soothsayer wouldn't have been particularly acceptable to strict Jews.
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zeid
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« Reply #67 on: October 12, 2009, 04:20:58 pm »

Agrippa and the rest of the Herodian family were definitely  Romanised Jews...
and the influence of Romanised omen can be understood within the proximity of Caesarea rather than in the proximity of Judea or (Jerusalem)...

I wonder if the Herodians were "strict" Jews deep down inside...

______________________________________

M. Antonius had just become tribune (l0th December, B.C. 50), but he had been quaestor in Gaul in B.C. 52, and seems to have been in high favour with Caesar, who had been exerting himself to get him elected augur

source: Cicero, Epistulae ad Brutum

http://artflx.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.21:3:0:-1:2325.PerseusLatinTexts.429421

evidence from coins:

a much younger Mark Antony Possibly a 33 years old noble plebeian
Raised by Caesar's influence to the offices of quaestor,and augur as depicted on coins:











an older Mark Antony depicted as Augur along with his beloved  Ceaser :


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zeid
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« Reply #68 on: October 13, 2009, 10:53:12 am »

Quote
Josephus only mantions the owl twice in his entire surviving opus, in these two incidents in his accounts of Agrippa I. Agrippa was brought up in Rome, befriended Caligula and Claudius, helped Claudius be confirmed as emperor, and was made King of the Jews, as well as being given consular rank. He greatly strengthened the fortifications around Jerusalem, and may possibly have been planning a rebellion when he died suddenly. Josephus is writing for Romans, and describes an omen which is distinctly Roman. They used birds for divination, the Jews didn't. Either Agrippa was throughly Romanised, or Josephus tailored the story to his audience.






Marcus Licinius Crassus


The Battle of Carrhae, fought in 53 BC near the town of Carrhae(Harran), was a major battle between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic. A Roman invasion force led by Marcus Licinius Crassus was decisively crushed by the Parthian Spahbod Surena. It was the first of many battles between the Roman and Persian empires, and one of the most crushing defeats in Roman history.
it was said that the Roman army was warned of impending disaster by an Owl before its defeat .
At that time of history Augur priests  played  an essential role in roman and roman oriented societies...

Agrippa's event happened  in a Romanised society in Caesarea.. a multicultural society that  appreciated ancient form of  mysticism ..If the the owl omen  was left unexplained  would have been only worsen the situation for Agrippa and will only deteriorate his inner peace...

this is breed of superstitious kings is clearly understood within their milieus ....I mean in the middle of a complex Hellenistic  culture that did not leave any place for scientific reasoning to deal with  "the unexplained" ...this was thew case among the majority.

The Roman Stoic Philosopher Seneca (4 BC – AD 65) said in Natural Questions (2.32.20):

Whereas we believe lightning to be released as a result of the collision of clouds,They believe that clouds collide so as to release lightning: for,as they attribute all to the deity,they are led to believe not that things have a meaning in so far as they occur,but rather they occur because they must have a meaning.

Seneca was the tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero...eventually this great philosopher  was executed by him!
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zeid
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« Reply #69 on: October 13, 2009, 03:36:47 pm »



MARK ANTONY and LEPIDUS- 43 BC Denarius  showing the Lituus and a  bird (both media were used By ancient Roman Augurs).








            Marcus Tullius Cicero


I will add  few gilmpses in the form of small quotes from Rome's greatest Orator

Cicero 106BC – 43 BC  from his work (On Divination) just to project more light on the Mystic and secret world of Roman Augurs :


Quote
The truth is that no other argument of any sort is advanced to show the futility of the various kinds of divination which I have mentioned except the fact that it is difficult to give the cause or reason of every kind of divination. You ask, 'Why is it that the soothsayer, when he finds a cleft in the lung of the victim, even though the other vitals are sound, stops the execution of an undertaking and defers it to another day?'
'Why does an augur think it a favourable omen when a raven flies to the right, or a crow to the left?' 'Why does an astrologer consider that the moon's conjunction with the planets Jupiter and Venus at the birth of children is a favourable omen, and its conjunction with Saturn or Mars unfavourable?' Again, 'Why does God warn us when we are asleep and fail to do so when we are awake?'


Quote
Homer writes that Calchas was by far the best augur among the Greeks and that he commanded the Greek fleet before Troy. His command of the fleet I suppose was due to his skill as an augur and not to his skill in seamanship. 88 Amphilochus and Mopsus were kings of Argos, but they were augurs too, and they founded Greek cities on the coasts of Cilicia. And even before them were Amphiaraus and Tiresias. They were no lowly and unknown men, nor were they like the person described by Ennius, Who, for their own gain, uphold opinions that are false,
  but they were eminent men of the noblest type and foretold the future by means of augural signs


Quote
As a general rule among the ancients the men who ruled the state had control likewise of augury, for they considered divining, as well as wisdom, becoming to a king. Proof of this is afforded by our State wherein the kings were augurs; and, later, private citizens endowed with the same priestly office ruled the republic by the authority of religion.


Quote
The Spartans assigned an augur to their kings as a judicial adviser, and they also enacted that an augur should be present in their Council of Elders, which is the name of their Senate. In matters of grave concern they always consulted the oracle at Delphi, or that of Jupiter Hammon or that of Dodona.


Quote
Why need I speak of augurs? That is your rôle; the duty to defend auspices, I maintain, is yours. For it was to you, while you were consul, that the augur Appius Claudius declared that because the augury of safety116 was unpropitious a grievous and violent civil war was at hand. That war began few months later, but you brought it to an end in still fewer days. Appius is one augur of whom I heartily approve, for not content merely with the sing-song ritual of augury,117 he, alone, according to the record of many years, has maintained a real system of divination. I know that your colleagues used to laugh at him and call him the one time 'a Pisidian' and at another 'a Soran.'118 They did not concede to augury any power of prevision or real knowledge of the future, and used to say that it was a superstitious practice shrewdly invented to gull the ignorant. But the truth is far otherwise, for neither those herdsmen whom Romulus governed, nor Romulus himself, could have had cunning enough to invent miracles with which to mislead the people. It is the trouble and hard work involved in mastering the art that has induced this p339eloquent contempt; for men prefer to say glibly that there is nothing in auspices rather than to learn what auspices are.

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cicero/de_Divinatione/1*.html#77



Quote
"Indeed how trustworthy were the auspices taken when you were augur! At the present time — pray pardon me for saying so — Roman augurs neglect auspices, although the Cilicians, Pamphylians, Pisidians, and Lycians hold them in high esteem. I need not remind you of that most famous and worthy man, our guest-friend, King Deiotarus, who never undertook any enterprise without first taking the auspices. On one occasion after he had set out on a journey for which he had made careful plans beforehand, he returned home because of the warning given him by the flight of an eagle. The room in which he would have been staying, had he continued on his road, collapsed the very next night.  This is why, as he told me himself, he had time and again abandoned a journey even though he might have been travelling for many days. By the way, that was a very noble utterance of his which he made after Caesar had deprived him of his tetrarchy and kingdom, and had forced him to pay an indemnity too. 'Notwithstanding what has happened,' said he, 'I do not regret that the auspices favoured my joining Pompey. By so doing I enlisted my military power in defence of senatorial authority, Roman liberty, and the supremacy of the empire. The birds, at whose instance I followed the course of duty and of honour, counselled well, for I value my good name more than riches.' His conception of augury, it seems to me, is the correct one.

"For with us magistrates make use of auspices, but they are 'forced auspices,' since the sacred chickens in eating the dough pellets thrown must let some fall from their beaks.  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 augur' your fraternity calls as tripudium solistimum.39 And so through the indifference of the college, as Cato the Wise laments, many auguries and auspices have been entirely abandoned and lost


Quote
[ We see what happened to Marcus Crassus43 when he ignored the announcement of unfavourable omens. It was on the charge of having on this occasion falsified the auspices that Gaius Ateius, an honourable man and a distinguished citizen, was, on insufficient evidence, stigmatized by the then censor Appius, who was your associate in the augural college, and an able one too, as I have often heard you say. I grant you that in pursuing the course he did Appius was within his rights as a censor, if, in his judgement, Ateius had announced a fraudulent augury. But he showed no capacity whatever as an augur in holding Ateius responsible for that awful disaster which befell the Roman people. Had this been the cause then the fault would not have been in Ateius, who made the announcement that the augury was unfavourable, but in Crassus, who disobeyed it; for the issue proved that the announcement p259was true, as this same augur and censor admits. But even if the augury had been false it could not have been the cause of the disaster; for unfavourable auguries — and the same may be said of auspices, omens, and all other signs — are not the causes of what follows: they merely foretell what will occur unless precautions are taken. 30 Therefore Ateius, by his announcement, did not create the cause of the disaster; but having observed the sign he simply advised Crassus what the result would be if the warning was ignored. It follows, then, that the announcement by Ateius of the unfavourable augury had no effect; or if it did, as Appius thinks, then the sin is not in him who gave the warning, but in him who disregarded it.
/quote]

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And whence, pray, did you augurs derive that staff, which is the most conspicuous mark of your priestly office? It is the very one, indeed with which Romulus marked out44 the quarter for taking observations when he founded the city. Now this staffe is a crooked wand, slightly curved at the top, and, because of its resemblance to a trumpet, derives its name from the Latin word meaning 'the trumpet with which the battle-charge is sounded.' It was placed in the temple of the Salii on the Palatine hill and, though the temple was burned, the staff was found uninjured


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[But look at this: does not the story about Tiberius Gracchus found in your own writings46 acknowledge that augury and soothsaying are arts? p263He, having placed his tabernaculum,47 unwittingly violated augural law by crossing the pomerium before completing the auspices; nevertheless he held the consular election.48 The fact is well known to you since you have recorded it. Besides, Tiberius Gracchus, who was himself an augur, confirmed the authority of auspices by confessing his error; and the soothsayers, too, greatly enhanced the reputation of their calling, when brought into the Senate immediately after the election, by declaring that the election supervisor had acted without authority/quote]


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But those methods of divination which are dependent on conjecture, or on deductions from events previously observed and recorded, are, as I have said before,83 not natural, but artificial, and include the inspection of entrails, augury, and the interpretation of dreams. These are disapproved of by the Peripatetics and defended by the Stoics. Some are based upon records and usage, as is evident from the Etruscan books on divination by means of inspection of entrails and by means of thunder and lightning, and as is also evident from the books of your augural college; while others are dependent on conjecture made suddenly and on the spur of the moment


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'To argue against auspices is a hard thing,' you say, 'for an augur to do.' Yes, for a Marsian, perhaps; but very easy for a Roman. p451For we Roman augurs are not the sort who foretell the future by observing the flights of birds and other signs. And yet, I admit that Romulus, who founded the city by the direction of auspices, believed that augury was an art useful in seeing things to come — for the ancients had erroneous views on many subjects. But we see that the art has undergone a change, due to experience, education, or the long lapse of time. However, out of respect for the opinion of the masses and because of the great service to the State we maintain the augural practices, discipline, religious rites and laws, as well as the authority of the augural college.


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'Quintus Fabius, I wish you to assist me at the auspices.' He answers, 'I will.' (In our forefathers' time the magistrates on such occasions used to call in some expert person to take the p453auspices — but in these days anyone will do. But one must be an expert to know what constitutes 'silence,' for by that term we mean 'free of every augural defect.' 72 To understand that belongs to a perfect augur.)


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[ 'The consuls, Scipio and Figulus,' you say, 'resigned their office when the augurs rendered a decision based on a letter written by Tiberius Gracchus, to the effect that those consuls had not been elected according to augural law.' Who denies that augury is an art? What I deny is the existence of divination. But you say: 'Soothsayers have the power of divination'; and you mention the fact that, on account of the unexpected death of the person who had suddenly fallen while bringing in the report of the vote of the prerogative century, Tiberius Gracchus introduced the soothsayers into the Senate and they declared that 'the president' had violated augural law/quote]



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[For my part, I agree with Gaius Marcellus, rather than with Appius Claudius — both of whom were my colleagues — and I think that, although in the beginning augural law was established from a belief in divination, yet later it was maintained and preserved from considerations of political expediency. 36 76 But we shall discuss the latter point at greater length in other discourses; let us dismiss it for the present.

"Now let us examine augury as practised among foreign nations, whose methods are not so artificial as they are superstitious. They employ almost all kinds of birds, we only a few; they regard some signs as favourable, we, others.
/quote]



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Then dismiss Romulus's augural staff,221 which you say the hottest of fires was powerless to burn, and attach slight importance to the whetstone of Attus Navius.222 Myths would have no place in philosophy. It would have been more in keeping with your rôle as a philosopher to consider, first, the nature of divination generally, second, its origin, and third, its consistency. What, then, is the nature of an art which makes prophets out of birds that wander aimlessly about — now here, now there — and makes the action or inaction of men depend upon the song or flight of birds? and why was the power granted to some birds to give a favourable omen when on the left side and to others when on the right? Again, however, when, and by whom, shall we say that the system was invented? p463The Etruscans, it is true, find the author of their system in the boy who was ploughed up out of the ground; but whom have we? Attus Navius? But Romulus and Remus, both of whom, by tradition, were augurs, lived many years earlier. Are we to say that it was invented by the Pisidians, Cilicians, or Phrygians? It is your judgement, then, that those devoid of human learning are the authors of a divine science


http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cicero/de_Divinatione/2*.html#R34
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zeid
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« Reply #70 on: October 13, 2009, 07:08:43 pm »

Agrippa and the rest of the Herodian family were definitely  Romanised Jews...
and the influence of Romanised omen can be understood within the proximity of Caesarea rather than in the proximity of Judea or (Jerusalem)...

I wonder if the Herodians were "strict" Jews deep down inside...




After examining the original text again, it seems that  Josephus identified Agrippa's " soothsayer" as a "foreigner" ...a German prisoner

http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-18.htm

Now Agrippa stood in his bonds before the royal palace, and leaned on a certain tree for grief, with many others,. who were in bonds also; and as a certain bird sat upon the tree on which Agrippa leaned, (the Romans call this bird bubo,) [an owl,]

 one of those that were bound, a German by nation, saw him, and asked a soldier who that man in purple was; and when he was informed that his name was Agrippa, and that he was by nation a Jew, and one of the principal men of that nation, he asked leave of the soldier to whom he was bound,
to let him come nearer to him, to speak with him; for that he had a mind to inquire of him about some things relating to his country; which liberty, when he had obtained, and as he stood near him, he said thus to him by an interpreter.......

_____________
I really don't know how much Agrippa was influence by The Battle of Carrhae "omen"...which was 100 years earlier...
anyway... the Roman reference or "mood" is indeniable for both cases.
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zeid
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« Reply #71 on: October 14, 2009, 04:38:15 am »

Cicero-an Augur himself- stated clearly as quoted above that Roman  Augur only  chose carefully certain birds species in their auspecies.

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Now let us examine augury as practised among foreign nations, whose methods are not so artificial as they are superstitious. They employ almost all kinds of birds, we only a few; they regard some signs as favourable, we, others


Cecero mentioned several  birds  species used specifically in Augur auspises,
among them he mentioned the common raven:




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and why was the power granted to some birds to give a favourable omen when on the left side and to others when on the right?


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'Why does an augur think it a favourable omen when a raven flies to the right, or a crow to the left?'


Cecero mentioned also "sacred" poultry being used in Augur auspises :


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the sacred chickens in eating the dough pellets

We have noticed  Augustus was  depicted in the altar of the Lares as the Highest August priest feeding the sacred chickens.





Marcus Terentius Varro (116 BC – 27 BC), another Roman scholar and writer.
mentioned in his work (De Re Rustica) several other birds species:

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During the election of aediles, Quintus Axius, the senator, a member of my tribe, and I, after casting our ballots, wished, though the sun was hot, to be on hand to escort the candidate whom we were supporting when he returned home. Axius remarked to me: "While the votes are being sorted, shall we enjoy the shade of the Villa Publica,6 instead of building us one out of the half-plank of our own candidate?" "Well," I replied, "I think that the proverb is correct, 'bad advice is worst for the adviser,'8 and also that good advice should be considered good both for the adviser and the advised. 2 So we go our way and come to the Villa. There we find Appius Claudius, the augur,9 sitting on a bench so that he might be on hand for consultation, if need should arise. There were sitting at his left Cornelius Merula ('Blackbird'), member of a consular family, and Fircellius Pavo ('Peacock'), of Reate; and on his right Minucius Pica ('Magpie') and Marcus Petronius Passer ('Sparrow'). When we came up to him, Axius said to Appius, with a smile: "Will you let us come into your aviary, where you are sitting among the birds?"  "With pleasure," he replied, "and especially you; I still 'bring up' those hospitable birds which you set before me a few days ago in your villa at Reate




The Common Blackbird, Turdus merula




The Peafowl:




The Magpie:



The Italian  Sparrow:







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zeid
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« Reply #72 on: October 14, 2009, 10:27:41 am »

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as we know the post was open only to equestrians.  Therefore although we cannot rule out Pilate becoming a senator at a later date, we can rule out his being one before his tenure in Judaea had expired, and we can almost certainly rule out the idea that he was an augur

Why we should we rule out such a historical possibility?
even Cecero-an Augur himself- said private citizen were eligible at his time for  Augurate!...

he didn't even mentioned any minimum requirements -wether Senatorial or else- for this religious post...


I will use his quote from his work (On Divination) as a proof:

As a general rule among the ancients the men who ruled the state had control likewise of augury, for they considered divining, as well as wisdom, becoming to a king. Proof of this is afforded by our State wherein the kings were augurs; and, later, private citizens endowed with the same priestly office ruled the republic by the authority of religion.

Well...even the wikipedia mentioned in the  Equestrian public careers section that
equestrians  were eligible to Augur priesthood post before the Senate not after it :


In public service, equites equo publico had their own version of the senatorial cursus honorum, or conventional career path, which typically combined military and administrative posts. After an initial period of a few years in local government in their home regions as administrators (aediles, duumviri) or priests (augures), equites were required to serve as military officers for about 10 years before they would be appointed to senior administrative or military posts


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equestrian_(Roman)


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Compared to your average man in the street

Steve...Don't you think if we compare The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate to an average Galilean peasant that makes 1 Roman Dinarius a day is an oversimplification from the historical point of view of comparisions ?

Let us check The Augustan equestrian order  in (Principate era)
 
Let us see the differentiation between  the senatorial order and  equestrian order:

1.Augustus for the first time set a minimum property requirement for admission to the Senate (of 250,000 denarii, two and a half times the 100,000 denarii that he set for admission to the equestrian order


well...this is a fair historical comparision between the two elite orders of Roman society!


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Also the tradition os using symbols relevant to the official responsible for issuing a coin had died out by about 15 BC - and the coins ascribed to Pilate's prefecture don't even mention his name

well...Pontius Pilate was the Roman Governor in Judea for a relatively long period of time (10 years) ..wether we like it or not!

and the Lituus  symbolwas his unique trademark compared to the rest of the Roman Procurators
wether we like it or not!....

I even suspect that Pontius Pilate played a "religious" role  in Armilustrium festival held in Jerusalem ...this festival is usually held in to honor  Mars, the god of war, celebrated on October 19th.

On this day the weapons  and sheilds of the soldiers were ritually purified and stored for winter
and I suspect that the event mentioned  by  Philo of Alexandria in Philo's Legatio ad Gaium, an incident in which Pilate set up gilded shields in Jerusalem was indeed an Armilustrium ceremony

I am not sure if that ceremony required the presence of an augur and a pontifex to hold it???
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curtislclay
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« Reply #73 on: October 14, 2009, 10:57:22 am »

You quoted from Wikipedia:

"After an initial period of a few years in local government in their home regions as administrators (aediles, duumviri) or priests (augures), equites were required to serve as military officers for about 10 years before they would be appointed to senior administrative or military posts."

No one denies that equestrians could hold priestly offices IN THEIR HOME TOWNS, as Wikipedia says.

What we are denying is that Pilate could have been a member of the college of augurs AT ROME, the membership of which was restricted to distinguished senators and the emperor and his heir.

If you like, you may propose that the lituus on Pilate's coin refers to the augurate that he putatively held IN HIS LOCAL TOWN. That seems a very unlikely explanation of the type, but at least it is not factually impossible!
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Curtis Clay
zeid
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« Reply #74 on: October 14, 2009, 11:28:34 am »

You quoted from Wikipedia:

"After an initial period of a few years in local government in their home regions as administrators (aediles, duumviri) or priests (augures), equites were required to serve as military officers for about 10 years before they would be appointed to senior administrative or military posts."

No one denies that equestrians could hold priestly offices IN THEIR HOME TOWNS, as Wikipedia says.

What we are denying is that Pilate could have been a member of the college of augurs AT ROME, the membership of which was restricted to distinguished senators and the emperor and his heir.

If you like, you may propose that the lituus on Pilate's coin refers to the augurate that he putatively held IN HIS LOCAL TOWN. That seems a very unlikely explanation of the type, but at least it is not factually impossible!

I assume that  equites once  they get their  senatorial cursus honorum they will be complete legitimate Augurs in any place on earth...

Regards...
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