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Saliens

(The). A college of twelve priests of Mars instituted by Numa. The tale is that a shield fell from heaven, and the nymph Egeria 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 coena became proverbial for a most sumptuous feast. The word “saliens” means dancing.

Nunc est bibendum ...
... nunc Saliaribus
Ornare pulvinar Deorum
Tempus erat dapibus.

Horace: 1 Odes, xxxvii. 2-4.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Saliens from Infoplease:

  • Saliens - Saliens (The). A college of twelve priests of Mars instituted by Numa. The tale is that a shield ...
  • Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: S - Definitions, origins, and illustrative excerpts for words, phases, and literary allusions starting with "S"

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