The Reign of Numa Pompilious
The reign of Numa Pompilius B.C. 716-673. On the death of Romulus, the Senate, at first, would not allow the election of a new king. The Senators enjoyed the royal power in rotation between-kings. In this way a year passed. But the people eventually insisted that a king should be chosen, and the Senate were obliged to give way. The choice fell upon the wise and pious Numa Pompilius, a native of the Sabines. The forty-three years of Numa's reign provided a period of stability without any war or any calamity. As Romulus was the founder of the political institutions of Rome, so Numa was the author of the religious institutions.
Numa and the Establishment of Religious Institutions in Ancient Rome
According to Ancient Roman mythology Numa was instructed by the nymph Egeria, whom he met in the sacred grove of Aricia. Following the meeting Numa instituted the Pontiffs, four in number, with a Pontifex Maximus at their head, who had the general superintendence of religion. Numa also instituted the Augurs, also four in number, who consulted the will of the gods on all occasions, both private and public. Next three Flamens were established, each of whom attended to the worship of the separate deities of Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus. Numa then established roles for four Vestal Virgins, who kept alive the sacred fire of Vesta brought from Alba Longa. (The number of Vestal Virgins was also increased from four to six during the reign of the fifth king of Rome Lucius Tarquinius Priscus B.C. 616-578). Twelve Salii, or priests of Mars, who had the care of the sacred shields were also established. Numa also reformed the calendar, encouraged agriculture, and marked out the boundaries of property, which he placed under the care of the god Terminus. Numa also built the temple of Janus in Rome, a god represented with two heads looking different ways. The gates of this temple were to be open during war and closed in time of peace.