Their origin is lost in the mists of time; nobody remembers how it started. Around the time of the vernal equinox they go through town in their groups, wearing their archaic costume. There are different groups attached to various towns. They perform their leaping dance, the meaning of which most people do not understand and they themselves cannot clearly explain. It is the custom that they do it, though, so each year the sights and sounds are repeated. They are the Salii.
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Romans, though you’re guiltless, you’ll still expiate~Horace, Odes, III, 6; A. S. Kline trans.
your fathers’ sins, till you’ve restored the temples,
and the tumbling shrines of all the gods,
and their images, soiled with black smoke.