Lutatius and the Sortes Praenestinae
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An examination of the puzzling would-be consultation of the oracle of Fortuna Primigenia at Praeneste in 242/1 BC, recorded by the excerptors of Valerius Maximus (Paris and Nepotianus 1.3.2), shows that: (1) the textual cruces in Nepotianus can be resolved with greater con fidence than generally understood; (2) the consultation was intended to create a precedent that would allow Lutatius (and, by implication, future commanders) to conduct campaigns without the need to obtain auspices as required by tradition; (3) the Lutatius in question probably was Catulus cos. 242, not – as indicated in the texts – Cerco cos. 241.
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