Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates
From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
Dance, Music, and Song in Latium
From the defectiveness of our traditional information it is not possible to trace the development of artistic ideas among the several groups of nations in Italy; and in particular we are no longer in a position to speak of the poetry of Italy; we can only speak of that of Latium. Latin poetry, like that of every other nation, began in the lyrical form, or, to speak more correctly, sprang out of those primitive festal rejoicings, in which dance, music, and song were still inseparably blended.
It is remarkable, however, that in the most ancient religious usages dancing, and next to dancing instrumental music, were far more prominent than song. In the great procession, with which the Roman festival of victory was opened, the chief place, next to the images of the gods and the champions, was assigned to the dancers grave and merry. The grave dancers were arranged in three groups of men, youths, and boys, all clad in red tunics with copper belts, with swords and short lances, the men being moreover furnished with helmets, and generally in full armed attire.
The merry dancers were divided into two companies--"the sheep" in sheep-skins with a party-coloured over-garment, and "the goats" naked down to the waist, with a buck's skin thrown over them. In like manner the "leapers" (-salii-) were perhaps the most ancient and sacred of all the priesthoods,(1) and dancers (-ludii-, -ludiones-) were indispensable in all public processions, and particularly at funeral solemnities; so that dancing became even in ancient times a common trade.
1. Cf. I. XII. Priests
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