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Saliens (The)

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A college of twelve priests of Mars instituted by Numa. The tale is that a shield fell from heaven, and the nymph Egēria predicted that wherever that shield was preserved the people would be the dominant people of the earth. To prevent the shield from being surreptitiously taken away, Numa had eleven others made exactly like it, and appointed twelve priests for guardians. Every year these young patricians promenaded the city, singing and dancing, and they finished the day with a most sumptuous banquet, insomuch that saliares cœna became proverbial for a most sumptuous feast. The word “saliens” means dancing.

1


“Nunc est bibendum …

… nunc Saliaribus

Ornare pulvinar Deorum

Tempus erat dapibus.”


Horace: 1 Odes, xxxvii. 24.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Salem
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