Augur

Augur, an officer, among the ancient Romans, who performed divination by means of birds. Romulus is said to have appointed a college of augurs, three in number. To these Numa afterwards added two. The Ogulnian law, passed B.C. 300, increased the number to nine, five of them being chosen from the plebeians. In the time of the dictator Sulla they rose to fifteen, a number which continued until the reign of Augustus, when their number. was declared unlimited except by the will of the emperor. An augur retained his office during life, and was distinguished by wearing a long purple robe reaching to the feet and thrown; over the left shoulder. On solemn occasions a garland was worn upon the head. "The chief duties of augurs were to observe and report supernatural signs. They were also the repositories of the ceremonial law,. and had to advise on the expiation of prodigies and other matters of religious observance. The sources of their art were threefold: first, the formulas and traditions of the college, which in ancient times met on the nones of every month; secondly, the augurales libri books of the augurs, which were extant even in Seneca's time; thirdly, the commentarii augqur-um. commentaries of the augurs, such as those of Messala and of Appius Clodius Pulcer, which seem to have been distinguished from the former as the treatises of learned men from received writings." The college of augurs was finally abolished in the time of the emperor Theodosius. SEE DIVINATION.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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