The rituals revolved around Mars and Quirinus, and were performed in March and October. These involved processions in which they donned archaic armour and weapons, performed their sacred dance, and sang the Carmen Saliare. As a body they existed before the founding of the Roman republic, tracing their origin back to the reign of King Numa Pompilius. The Salian priests were chosen from the sons of patrician families whose parents were still living. They were appointed for life, though they were allowed to resign from the Salian priesthood if they achieved a more prestigious priesthood or a major magistracy.
Text || Translation divum +empta+ cante, divum deo supplicate
cume tonas, Leucesie, prae tet tremonti
+quot+ ibet etinei de is cum tonarem
Omnia vero adpatula coemisse.
Ian cusianes duonus ceruses dunus Ianusve
vet pom melios eum recum.
Sing of him, the father of the gods! Appeal to the God of gods!
When thou thunderest, O God of light, they tremble before thee!
All gods beneath thee have heard thee thunder!
but to have acquired all that is spread out
Now the good ... of Ceres ... or Janus
- ... cume tonas, Leucesie, prae tet tremonti quom tibi cunei decstumum tonaront ...
The interpretation of the text has posed difficulties. The Latin words that are easily recognizable in it appear to mention thunder, Janus, and Ceres. Even in the 1st century BC, Cicero was unable to interpret much of the chant. The mysterious cozeulodorieso has attracted several proposals. Julius Pomponius Laetus proposed in his editio princeps the interpretation osculo dolori ero "I shall be as a kiss to grief", though his emendations are now dismissed as "editorial fantasy". George Hempl restored it more carefully to coceulod orieso, attested in some manuscripts aside from the spacing, which is good archaic Latin for classical cucūlō oriēre "(thou shalt) come forth with the cuckoo".
- Clifford Ando; Jörg Rüpke (2006). Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome. Franz Steiner Verlag. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-3-515-08854-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Sarullo, Giulia; Taylor, Daniel J. (December 2013). "Two Fragments of the Carmen Saliare and the Manuscript Tradition of Varro's De Lingua Latina". Codices Manuscripti & Impressi. 91/92: 1--10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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- Original text of Carmen Saliare
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