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“According to the ancient authorities, it was made of bronze, and its form was oval, but with the two sides receding inward with an even curvature, and so as to make it broader at the ends than in the middle. The original ancile was said to have fallen from the skies in the time of Numa. To secure its preservation, Numa ordered eleven other shields to be made exactly like it. These twelve ancilia were kept in the temple of Mars Gradivus, and were taken from it only once a year, on the kalends of March. The feast of the god was then observed during several days; when the Salii, or priests of Mars, twelve in number, carried the sacred shields about the city, singing songs in praise of Mars, Numa, and Mamurius Veturius, who made the eleven. They at the same time performed a dance, in which they struck the shield with rods, so as to keep time with their voices and with the movements of the dance.” — Anthon, 1891


Charles Anthon Aenid of Virgil (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1891) 686


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