Cicero remarks on the existence among the Gauls of augurs or soothsayers, known by the name of Druids, with one of whom, Divitiacus, an Aeduan, he was acquainted.
The trabea, which in historical times was worn by the consuls when opening the temple of Janus, by the equites at their yearly inspection and on some other occasions, and by the Salii at their ritual dances, and had (according to tradition) formed the original costume of the augurs and flamens (who afterwards adopted the toga praetexta), was apparently a toga smaller in size than the ordinary civil dress, decorated with scarlet stripes (trabes).
On the other hand, as the result in part of the theory of Stoicism, religion passed into the hands of the politicians: cults were encouraged or suppressed from political motives, the membership of the colleges of pontifices and augurs, now conferred by popular vote, was sought for its social and political advantages, and augury was debased till it became the meanest tool of the politician.
It is probable that in 103-104 he was promoted to a place in the college of Augurs, vacated by his friend Frontinus (iv.
In many nations divination and priesthood have always gone hand in hand; at Rome, for example, the augurs and the XV viri sacrorum, who interpreted the Sibylline books, were priestly colleges.
And it is instructive to observe that when the plebeians extorted their full share of political power they also demanded and obtained admission to every priestly college of political importance, to those, namely, of the pontiffs, the augurs, and the XV viri sacrorum.
Other persons attached to a temple were priests, augurs, sacrificers, barbers, officials in charge of the curtains, masons, &c. (NSI.
Under the terms of this the consuls, who were optimates, bound themselves to betray their party by securing, apparently fraudulently, the election of the candidates while they in turn bound themselves to procure two ex-consuls who would swear that they were present in the senate when supplies were voted for the consular provinces, though no meeting of the senate had been held, and three augurs who would swear that a lex curiata had been passed, though the comitia curiata had not been convened (Att.
In the Iliad he is described as the prince of augurs and a brave warrior; in the Odyssey he is not mentioned at all.
See also the articles AUGURS, ORACLE, ASTROLOGY, OMEN, &C. Authorities.
AUGURS, in ancient Rome, members of a religious college whose duty it was to observe and interpret the signs (auspices) of approval or disapproval sent by the gods in reference to any proposed undertaking.
The latter, however, was the more difficult of interpretation, and upon it, therefore, mainly hinged the system of divination with which the augurs were occupied.
Being accidental in their occurrence, they belonged to the auguria oblativa, and their interpretation was not a matter for the augurs, unless occurring in the course of some public transaction, in which case they formed a divine veto against it.
Anything abnormal found there was brought under the notice of the augurs, but usually the Etruscan haruspices were employed for this.
If an error (vitium) occurred in the auspices, the augurs could, of their own accord or at the request of the senate, inform themselves of the circumstances, and decree upon it.
He instituted the flamens (sacred priests) of Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus; the virgins of Vesta, to keep the sacred fire burning on the hearth of the city; the Salii, to guard the shield that fell from heaven; the pontifices and augurs, to arrange the rites and interpret the will of the gods; he also divided the handicraftsmen into nine gilds.
D'Arbois de Jubainville maintains that in Gaul the three classes of druids, vates and gutuatri, corresponded more or less to the pontifices, augurs and flamens of ancient Rome.
In this respect the haruspices ranked lower than the augurs, as is shown by the fact that they received a salary; the augurs were a more ancient and purely Roman institution, and were a most important element in the political organization of the city.