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The rituals revolved around Mars and Quirinus, and were performed in March and October. These involved processions in which they donned archaic armour and weapons, performed their sacred dance, and sang the Carmen Saliare. As a body they existed before the founding of the Roman republic, tracing their origin back to the reign of King Numa Pompilius. The Salian priests were chosen from the sons of patrician families whose parents were still living. They were appointed for life, though they were allowed to resign from the Salian priesthood if they achieved a more prestigious priesthood or a major magistracy.
Text || Translation divum +empta+ cante, divum deo supplicate
cume tonas, Leucesie, prae tet tremonti
+quot+ ibet etinei de is cum tonarem
Omnia vero adpatula coemisse.
Ian cusianes duonus ceruses dunus Ianusve
vet pom melios eum recum.
Sing of him, the father of the gods! Appeal to the God of gods!
When thou thunderest, O God of light, they tremble before thee!
All gods beneath thee have heard thee thunder!
but to have acquired all that is spread out
Now the good ... of Ceres ... or Janus
- ... cume tonas, Leucesie, prae tet tremonti quom tibi cunei decstumum tonaront ...
Linguists have been unable to translate most of the text; the Latin words that are recognizable in it appear to mention thunder, Janus, and Ceres. Even in the 1st century BC, Cicero was unable to interpret much of the chant. However, Julius Pomponius Laetus proposed osculo dolori ero ("I shall be as a kiss to grief") as a possible conversion of the mysterious cozeulodorieso into Classical Latin.
- Original text of Carmen Saliare
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