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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


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XIII - Faith and Manners


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 11

In 558 there was added to the three old colleges of the augurs, pontifices, and keepers of oracles, a fourth consisting of three "banquet-masters" (-tres viri epulones-), solely for the important purpose of superintending the banquets of the gods. The priests, as well as the gods, were in fairness entitled to feast; new institutions, however, were not needed with that view, as every college applied itself with zeal and devotion to its convivial affairs.

The clerical banquets were accompanied by the claim of clerical immunities. The priests even in times of grave embarrassment claimed the right of exemption from public burdens, and only after very troublesome controversy submitted to make payment of the taxes in arrear (558). To the individual, as well as to the community, piety became a more and more costly article. The custom of instituting endowments, and generally of undertaking permanent pecuniary obligations, for religious objects prevailed among the Romans in a manner similar to that of its prevalence in Roman Catholic countries at the present day.

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