The Sodales or Sacerdotes Augustales (singular Sodalis or Sacerdos Augustalis), or simply Augustales, were an order (sodalitas) of Roman priests instituted by Tiberius to attend to the maintenance of the cult of Augustus and the Julii. Their establishment in 14 A.D. was described by Tacitus in his first book of the Annales.
The sodales were chosen by lot among the principal persons of Rome, and were twenty one in number, to which were added Tiberius, Drusus, Claudius and Germanicus, as members of the imperial family. Women might be appointed priestesses of Augustus, a practice probably originating in the appointment of Livia by a decree of the Senate as priestess to her deceased husband. A flamen could also be a member of the Augustales.
These senatorial sodales Augustales and the widely known municipal seviri Augustales were, as Linderski put it, “two vastly dissimilar organizations sharing a similar name”.
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