Vates is a term used among the ancient Romans with the double signification of poet and prophet, the two being regarded as identical. By a law of Constantils in the Theodosian Code, they were reckoned among those who practice forbidden arts, such as soothsayers, astrologers, augurs, and magicians, and were condemned to die as guilty of a capital crime and offence against religion. See Bingham, Christ. Antiq. bk. 16 ch. 5.