Inaugural auspicium for MMDCCLXI

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M. Moravius Piscinus Horatianus Consul: T. Iulio Sabino Consuli collegae, Praetoribus, Tribunibus Plebis, Senatoribus Patribus Mátribusque Conscriptís, viris clarissimis et castissimae mulieribus, Civibus omnibus Novae Romae, Quiritibus: salutem plurimam dicit:

Annum novum bonum faustum felicem!

Following my devotions on Divalia, the next day being winter solstice, I took the auspices in regard to Titus Sabinus and I taking office for this coming year. Below is taken in part from the report that I sent to the Augures.

My augurculum was laid out previously. The cardo, aligned north to south, is marked by stations for Caelus Nocturnus and Sol. Castor and Castoris have stations on the decumanus running east and west, set each year on the vernal equinox, and most recently checked again on the autumnal equinox. To the northeast above, then, is the station for Jupiter. In the southeast is the hortus Cereri, and beyond Her a station for Silvanus. In the southwest is a station for Terminus, and thus for an auspicium I generally designate this quadrant as overseen by Mars. Also in this quadrant is my altar for the Di Manes lying to the west-southwest. In the northwest then is the station of Summanus.

After offering wine upon the stations, I took my seat, designated the boundaries of my celestial templum, and asked, "Iovi, Di Manes, is it Your will and desire that I, Marcus Moravius Piscinus Horatianus, and Titus Iulius Sabinus shall serve as Consuls of Nova Roma for the year 2761 since the Founding of Rome by Romulus."

The Sun had cleared the horizon, low to the southeast, winter solstice having occurred only a matter of six hours earlier. The sky was heavy with thick clouds, the light of the sun seen glowing behind clouds. The wind barely moved from Africanus to Volturnus when a loud flight of geese, the birds of Juno, unseen behind me in the north, announced the change of wind direction, the clouds suddenly beginning to move from due south to due north with promises of warming Astur to arrive with fertilizing rains in spring.

As I was preparing my offering of cakes, a Red Tail Hawk swooped down out of the northeast, from the quadrant of Jupiter. She came low, at about my waist level, no more than a metre or so in front of me as she chased after some suddenly surprised sparrows. Then before my right arm she banked, flew upward due south and alit on a tree, which I had previously designated to mark the south. Then coyly looking over her left shoulder at me, she took flight again, heading back to the east.

As the sun climbed during the hour of Solis there were no oscines or alites to appear. Birds ate what I had offered, but indifferently and quietly. At the beginning of the hour of Venus, an hora bona, there appeared two crows, the birds of Apollo, close on my left. Then the bird of Mars, a woodpecker, alit in the tree beside me. These I took as approving signs, as they are also rarely seen to come so close to me.

I poured a libation in thanks to Jupiter and concluded the auspicium.

Returning then indoors to my lararium, as is my habit, I next called upon my lar familiaris, Ceres Ferentia, to provide me with Her thoughts through a sortes virgiliane:

pone sequens dextra puppim tenet ipsaque dorso
eminet ac laeua tacitis subremigat undis. (Virgil, Aen. 10.226-227)
At fessae multa referunt se nocte minores,
crura thymo plenae; pascuntur et arbuta passim
et glaucas salices casiamque crocumque rubentem (Virgil, Geo 4.180- 182)

"Regard (those) following: he grasps the rudder in his right hand, and with his left oars the silent waves. And the youths, their tired legs packed with thyme, come laboring home belatedly, for afar they range to feed on arbutus and the gray-green willow leaves, and cassia, and the crocus blushing red."

And then I noticed the first letter of each of the lines in Latin, "PEACE." This, it seemed to me, thus confirmed by its surprising message to be an oblativa to confirm that the passages that I had taken during the sortes virgiliane were in fact intended as an oblativa related to the auspicium I had just completed. The question then was in what way these passages related to the signs that I had seen in response to my question. To me the arbutus would refer to Janus and Cardea (or Mater Manua), the crocus to Jupiter and Juno, while cassia would refer to Liber and Libera, and the willow and thyme, it was later determined, referred to Dis Pater and Proserpina. Exactly to what the words of these passages may refer to shall have to wait to be seen. But it does seem to acknowledge Sabinus and I taking office, or the helm of state as it were, without little comment either overly favorable or disapproving. Of those signs I took, some I consider cautionary, some favorable, some indifferent, and I did not see any signs that could be taken as disapproving.

To my request that my auspicium be confirmed, Augur Lucius Equitius Cincinnatus Augur then took his own auspicium and replied:

Aves addictiva (favorable).

Si Dis placet omnis ut fortunas sint precor. Di Deaeque vos bene ament


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