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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book III Chapter 58: A priest as a proconsul?[AD 22]
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Meantime Junius Blaesus received an extension of his government of Africa, and Servius Maluginensis, the priest of Jupiter, demanded to have Asia allotted to him. "It was," he asserted, "a popular error that it was not lawful for the priests of Jupiter to leave Italy; in fact, his own legal position differed not from that of the priests of Mars and of Quirinus. If these latter had provinces allotted to them, why was it forbidden to the priests of Jupiter? There were no resolutions of the people or anything to be found in the books of ceremonies on the subject. Pontiffs had often performed the rites to Jupiter when his priest was hindered by illness or by public duty. For seventy-five years after the suicide of Cornelius Merula no successor to his office had been appointed; yet religious rites had not ceased. If during so many years it was possible for there to be no appointment without any prejudice to religion, with what comparative ease might he be absent for one year's proconsulate? That these priests in former days were prohibited by the pontiff from going into the provinces, was the result of private feuds. Now, thank heaven, the supreme pontiff was also the supreme man, and was influenced by no rivalry, hatred or personal feeling."