Latin poetry begins where almost all poetry begins—in the rude ceremonial of a primitive people placating an unknown and dreaded spiritual world. The earliest fragments are priestly incantations. In one of these fragments the Salii placate Leucesius, the god of lightning. In another the Arval Brethren placate Mars or Marmar, the god of pestilence and blight (lues rues). The gods are most dreaded at the seasons most important to a primitive people, seed-time, for example, and harvest. The Salii celebrated Mars at seed-time—in the month which bears his name, mensis Martius. The name of the Arval Brethren betrays their relation to the gods who watch the sown fields. The aim of this primitive priestly poetry is to get a particular deity into the power of the worshipper. To do this it is necessary to know his name and to use it. In the Arval hymn the name of the god is reiterated—it is a spell. Even so Jacob wished to know—and to use—the name of the god with whom he wrestled. These priestly litanies are accompanied by wild dances—the Salii are, etymologically, 'the Dancing men'—and by the clashing of shields. They are cast in a metre not unsuited to the dance by which they are accompanied. This is the famous Saturnian metre, which remained the metre of all Latin poetry until the coming of the Greeks. Each verse falls into two halves corresponding to the forward swing and the recoil of the dance. Each half-verse exhibits three rhythmical beats answering to the beat of a three-step dance. The verse is in the main accentual. But the accent is hieratic. The hieratic accent is discovered chiefly in the first half of the verse: where the natural accent of a disyllabic word is neglected and the stress falls constantly on the final syllable.DIVOM templa cante, diuom deo supplicate.ii QVOME tonas, Leucesie, prae tet tremonti. quor libet, Curis, decstumum tonare?iii CONSE, ulod oriese: omnia tuere, adi, Patulci, coi isse: Sancus Ianes Cerus es. Duonus Ianus ueuet po melios, eu, recum.THE ARVAL BROTHERHOOD.