In Italy Gregory occupied an almost regal position.
He allowed his supporters to suggest the offer of the regal title by putting in circulation an oracle according to which it was destined for a king of Rome to subdue the Parthians, and when at the Lupercalia (15th January 44 B.C.) Antony set the diadem on his head he rejected the offer half-heartedly on account of the groans of the people.
As an institution (supposed by some to have been borrowed from Etruria) they went back to the regal period and continued to exist till imperial times.
Foiled in their first ill-directed attempt, they were compelled to have recourse to that tremendous engine of regal tyranny, the law of treason.