These officials, at the command of the senate, consulted the Sibylline books in order to discover, not exact predictions of definite future events, but the religious observances necessary to avert extraordinary calamities (pestilence, earthquake) and to expiate prodigies in cases where the national deities were unable, or unwilling, to help. Only the interpretation of the oracle which was considered suitable to the emergency was made known to the public, not the oracle itself.
Clearly, then, it was a day of suspended activity, but it will be noted that no religious observances are prescribed in place of the forbidden secular matters.
31 Possibly the intercalary month was abnormal, the incidence of observances depending not on the day of the month in ordinary months but on the day of the week reckoned consecutively through the year.
This church contained some well-executed native paintings of St George and the Dragon, The Last Supper, &c. Among the religious observances of the Christians of Gondar is that of bathing in large crowds in the Gaha on the Feast of the Baptist, and again, though in more orderly fashion, on Christmas day.
Episcopis, &c., subjected clerics for small offences pertaining to the observances of religion to bishops and synods.