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[The word properly means an association or club, and was especially applied to the] religious brotherhoods among the Romans. By order of the State, they attended to the cult of some particular object of worship by jointly celebrating certain sacrifices and feasts, especially on the anniversary of the foundation of that cult. The members, called sodales, stood in a legally recognised position of mutual obligation, which did not allow any one of them to appear against another as a prosecutor in a criminal case, or to become patronus of the prosecutor of a sodalis, or to officiate as Judge upon a sodalis. Such a brotherhood were the Sodales Augustales, appointed A.D. 14 by the Senate for the cult of the deified Augustus, a college of 21, and afterwards of 28, members of senatorial rank, which also took upon itself the cult of Claudius after his deification, and bore, after that, the official title Sodales Augustales Claudiales. Besides these there were the Sodales Flaviales Titiales for the cult of Vespasian and Titus, the Hadrianales for that of Hadrian, Antoniniani for that of Antoninus Pius and of the successively deified emperors. (Cp. COLLEGIUM.) [The secular clubs, sodalitastes, or collegia sodalicia, were, in the later Republican age, much turned to account for political objects, and their organization used for purposes of bribery. See Cicero's speech Pro Plancio. It was very common for young Romans to belong to an ordinary sodalitas. Both Horace and Ovid were members of one.]
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