An Ancile is in ancient Roman ritual, a small, oval, sacred shield, curved inward on either side, believed to have fallen from heaven during the reign of Numa. There was a prophecy that the stability of Rome depended on the ancile; Numa had 11 others made exactly like it so that the real one could not be stolen. The set was sacred to the god Mars and was entrusted to the Salii, Roman priests who had to carry them through the city of Rome once a year.



Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

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