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in ancient Rome, one of the oldest priestly bodies, which interpreted the will of the gods by means of auspices.
According to ancient Roman tradition, the augurs were established by Romulus. In 300 B.C. they consisted of nine men, five of whom were plebeians, and during Julius Caesar’s time the number of augurs rose to 16. Membership in the augurs was highly valued by Roman aristocrats because it provided opportunities to influence legislation. With the passage of time the augurs’ activity became a merely formal procedure, to the point that, according to Cicero, the augurs themselves could hardly keep from laughing while carrying out the procedure, since they themselves did not believe in it.