By Susanne William Rasmussen
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Additional info for Public Portents in Republican Rome (Analecta Romana Instituti Danici, Suppl. 34)
Chapter 6. 88 Thus the prodigy and its responsum show a nefas of a sexual nature and are linked with an account of three Vestal Virgins and a number of Roman equestrians who were sentenced to pun ishment at the same time for committing incestum. 89 Likewise, incidents such as scandals involving Roman matrons and poison are treated as prodigies that call for expiation (PT 18). 90 Finally, the sanctioning effect of public prodigies in relation to correct behaviour in the political sphere is clearly exemplified by a prodigy recorded in 42 BC (PT 148) involving a praetor who deprives a colleague of his appoint ment due to a disagreement.
By structuring the information in a table, I have sought to systematically organize the data on public prodigies according to the fol lowing factors: a) literary sources b) chronology 67 Cic. Div. 3: Cumque magna vis videretur esse et inpetriendis consulendisque rebus et [in] monstris interpretandis ac procurandis in haruspicum disciplina, omnem banc ex Etruria scientiam adhibebant, ne genus esset ullum divinationis quod neglectum ab Us videretur. 68 Cf. the prodigies listed in Mommsen (1853); Wulker (1903); Luterbacher (1904); Krauss (1930); Bloch (1963); Rawson (1971); Ruoff-Vaananen (1972); Macbain (1975); (1982); Rosenberger (1998).
Examples of this group of prodigies include the incestum of Vestal Virgins (as in PT 38), the impudicitia of Roman matrons (as in PT 30), and a consul's violation of religious practice (as in PT 36). An element common to these prodigies is that their breach of the pax deorum consists in tangible, incorrect and unusual human behaviour. Treating, for instance, the incestum of the Vestal Virgins and the impudicitia of the matrons as prodigies would be an obvious reaction,85 in light of the normal Roman perception that these would constitute serious violations of the salus publica, the welfare of Roman society, and the security of the state.
Public Portents in Republican Rome (Analecta Romana Instituti Danici, Suppl. 34) by Susanne William Rasmussen