- J. Linderski
ExtractAugurium canarium, a ceremony so called by Pliny (HN 18. 14, quoting the commentarii pontificum (pontifical records), see libri pontificales), and canarium sacrificium by *Ateius Capito (2), who says that reddish (rutilae) bitches were sacrificed for crops (pro frugibus) to ‘deprecate’ the fierceness of the dog-star (Festus, Gloss. Lat. 386). This dog sacrifice (sacrum canarium, formed on canis, ‘dog’) was performed by public priests (publici sacerdotes, Schol. Dan. G. 4. 424); it took place near the porta Catularia, apparently late in the summer, when the crops were yellowing (flavescentes, Festus (Paulus 147)). On the other hand the day or days (dies) for the sacrifice were to be fixed (Pliny) ‘priusquam frumenta vaginis exeant’ (‘before the corn comes out of the sheath’), hence in the spring. As it was both augury and sacrifice, the *augures probably fixed the day for the ceremony (or in their parlance, inaugurated it), and the pontiffs performed the sacrifice itself. The ceremony appears to have belonged to the category of apotropaic rites to prevent calamities (uti avertantur mala, Serv.
- Roman Myth and Religion