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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book IV Chapter 16: Appointment of a priest[AD 23]
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|About the same time the emperor spoke on the subject of electing a priest of Jupiter in the room of Servius Maluginensis, deceased, and of the enactment of a new law. "It was," he said, "the old custom to nominate together three patricians, sons of parents wedded according to the primitive ceremony, and of these one was to be chosen. Now however there was not the same choice as formerly, the primitive form of marriage having been given up or being observed only by a few persons." For this he assigned several reasons, the chief being men's and women's indifference; then, again, the ceremony itself had its difficulties, which were purposely avoided; and there was the objection that the man who obtained this priesthood was emancipated from the father's authority, as also was his wife, as passing into the husband's control. So the Senate, Tiberius argued, ought to apply some remedy by a decree of a law, as Augustus had accommodated certain relics of a rude antiquity to the modern spirit. It was then decided, after a discussion of religious questions, that the institution of the priests of Jupiter should remain unchanged. A law however was passed that the priestess, in regard to her sacred functions, was to be under the husband's control, but in other respects to retain the ordinary legal position of women. Maluginensis, the son, was chosen successor to his father. To raise the dignity of the priesthood and to inspire the priests with more zeal in attending to the ceremonial, a gift of two million sesterces was decreed to the Vestal Cornelia, chosen in the room of Scantia; and, whenever Augusta entered the theatre, she was to have a place in the seats of the Vestals.