ARVAL BROTHERS, or ARVA'LES FRATRES, a Roman college of priests, 12 in number, whose duty it was to offer sacrifices for the fertility of the fields. That they were of extreme antiquity is proved by the legend which refers their institution to Romulus, of whom it is said that when his nurse Acca Sa rentia lost one of her 12 sons he allowed him self to be adopted by her in his place and called himself and the remaining eleven (Ar vales Fratres." In 1570 at the place called Affoga l'Asino, a little beyond the fifth mile stone on the Via Portuensis, inscriptions were found sufficient to identify the spot as the grave of the Dea Dia where the chief festival of the Arvales was held. We have now the protocols of 96 annual meetings dating from 14 A.D. to 241, and a list of officers dating from 2 B.C. to 27 A.D. From the time of Augustus it became usual to appoint princes of the imperial family as extra members. The members were elected for life by the college, usually on the nomination of the emperor. The officers were a magister, who presided; the flame; who assisted in the sacrifices, and four boys whose parents were living and who were sons of sen ators, were the attendants. The college had also its staff of servants. The officers wore as a sign of office a chaplet of ears of corn fastened about their head with a white band. The principal duty of the Arvales was to cele brate a three-days' festival in honor of the Dea Dia, formerly supposed to be Ceres, but now more correctly identified with Ops; the divinity of Ceres, as Marquardt observes, not forming a part of' the old Roman worship. The
feast was celebrated by offerings to the goddess and the ((touching') or consecrating of the grain, on the first day. On the second, two pigs, a white heifer and a sheep were sac rificed in the sacred grove, while two of their number collected grains of corn in earthen bowls, probably from the crowd at the temple door; after which the brethren performed the sacred song and dance within the temple and officers were elected for the coming year and there were races in the grove. The third day was celebrated by a sacrifice in the city. The other duties of the Arvales were to pronounce solemn vows for important events in the im perial family—the birthday, marriage, illness or recovery of the emperor, his setting out or returning from serious undertakings, etc. The Ambarvalia, according to the best opinion, were entirely separate from the functions of the Fratres Arvales. The documents with a valuable commentary were published by Gae tano Marini (2 vols., Rome 1795). Consult Henzen, 'Acta Fratrum Arvalium' (Berlin 1874); Brown, 'Rome and the Campara) (p. 440) • Preller, (Romische Mythologie> (pp. 422-430); and Marquardt (Vol. VI, 428-443).