Saltatio fatua patricia (Nova Roma)

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The saltatio fatua patricia, or "silly patrician dance", is said by C. Equitius Cato to have been an ancient tradition of the patrician families of the old Roman republic. It is not mentioned in any known Roman sources, however, and in all probability it was invented by Cato himself on the Palatine hill in Rome at the Conventus there Fr. Apulo C. Laenate cos. MMDCCLVIII a.u.c..

The dance itself is a curious combination of prowling and prancing and resembles the stylized movements of a predatory cat. It is said to be danced by patricians to intimidate plebeians and remind the latter of their proper social position. Its effectiveness is this respect is doubtful. A terrible punishment is said to await any plebeian who attempts to dance the silly patrician dance; no one has so far explained, however, why any plebeian would wish to do so.

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