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XXI

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Epulones




     EPULONES. —Subsequently to the first war with Hannibal, the Roman pontiffs being over-whelmed with the multitude of sacrifices, and of ceremonies attedant thereon, were allowed in the year of the city 557 (B. C. 197), to appoint three men to whom was given the name of Triumviri Epulones.     These presided as priests at the public feasts which took place at the con-clusion of each sacrifice offered to Jupiter and others  of  their  deities,  whom  they  professed to  propitiate,  by  placing  their  statues,  laid   on couches (henche called lectisternia), in the temples, and inviting them to partake of a banquet prepared with all possible magnificence and sumptuousness ; and if they were not able to eat, drink, and be merry, there were doubtless other guests present who could. Sulla aug-mented the number of these ministers of the sacred banquets in honour of the gods to seven. Julius Cæsar added three more ; but after his time, the number appears again to have been limited to seven. The subjoined wood-cut is faithfully executed from an extremely well-pre-served denarius in the British Museum, the re-verse type of which represents an Epulo pre-paring  a  lectisternium  for  Jupiter,  conformably to custom, in the Epulum Jovis.
     
    C. COEL. CALDVS COS.    Bare male head to the right,  between  a  vexillum,  inscribed  BIS and a boar.Rev.—C. CALDVS IMP. A. X.     A table or lectisternium, with a robed and veiled figure behind it. The inscription is L. CALDVS VII VIR VIB EPVL.  On each side is a trophy ;  below CALDVS  III  VIR.—For  an  explanation  of  this coin see p. 222.
    The Epulones were next to the Augurs in dignity, and were privileged to wear the toga prætexta.  They also formed a college, and were one of the four great sacerdotal corporations at Rome, the Pontifices, Augures, and Quinde- cemviri, being the other three.

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Also see Lectisternium.
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