Attus Navius - Encyclopedia




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ATTUS NAVIUS, in Roman legendary history, a famous augur during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus. When the latter desired to double the number of the equestrian centuries, Navius opposed him, declaring that it must not be done unless the omens were propitious, and, as a proof of his powers of divination, cut through a whetstone with a razor. Navius's statue with veiled head was afterwards shown in the comitium; the whetstone and razor were buried in the same place, and a puteal placed over them. Hard by was a sacred fig-tree, called after him the Navian fig-tree. It was reported that Navius was subsequently put to death by Tarquinius. According to Schwegler, the puteal originally indicated that the place had been struck by lightning, and the story is a reminiscence of the early struggle between the state and ecclesiasticism.

See Livy i. 36; Dion. Halic. iii. 70; Aurelius Victor; De viris illustrious, 6; Schwegler, Romische Geschichte, bk. xv. 16.

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