330 The European Sky-God.
most competent from a physical point of view, and subse- quently made their choice by acclamation, greeting this or that favourite with cries of " Gaius," " Marcus," etc. The simultaneous strife of the women may have been to select a fitting partner for the king.
It is impossible to discuss the Poplifugia without also considering the Regifugium, another ancient festival cele- brated yearly at Rome on February 24. It was popularly supposed to commemorate the expulsion of the Tarquins ; ^ but a mutilated gloss in Festus rejects this explanation, and refers to " a sacrifice in [the Comitium] performed by [the king] and the Salii on [February] 24." ^ Plutarch^ further states : " There is a certain ancestral sacrifice in the Forum at the Comitium, as it is called, which the king offers, and having offered flees with all haste from the Forum." Plutarch, however, need not be alluding to the Regifiigimn of February 24 ; for there are two other days in the year, viz. March 24 and May 24, which in the stone calendars are marked O.R.C.F. These letters probably denote, as Varro* says, qitando rex comitiavit fas, or ' business may be transacted when the king has been to the Comitium." But Varro goes on to say that on such days the priestly king sacrificed at the Comitium. And a note appended to March 24 in the Praenestine calendar^ runs: "Most persons wrongly hold that this day is described as O.R.C.F. because on it the king fled from the Comitium. But Tarquin did not depart from the Comitium, and the same rites take place in another month also." It is, then, highly probable that on February 24, and quite possible that on March 24 and May 24, the
^Os.fast. 2. 685 ff., Paul. exc. Fest. p. 137 Lind. ^ See Warde Fowler Roman Festivals p. 327 ff. ^ Plut. quaestt. Rom. 63.
^Varr. de ling. Lat. 6. 31, adopting Hirschfeld's conjecture " litat ad comitium" for the meaningless "dicat ad comitium" of the MSS. s Orelli ii. 386 and 409 f.