The Project Gutenberg EBook of Roman Antiquities, and Ancient Mythology, by 
Charles K. Dillaway

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Roman Antiquities, and Ancient Mythology
       For Classical Schools (2nd ed)

Author: Charles K. Dillaway

Release Date: March 3, 2007 [EBook #20734]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Barbara Tozier, V. L. Simpson, Bill Tozier and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Pl. 1.











[Transcribers' Note:

A detailed listing of changes and anomalies is at the end of this file.]



The editor has endeavored in the following pages to give some account of the customs and institutions of the Romans and of ancient Mythology in a form adapted to the use of classical schools.

In making the compilation he has freely drawn from all creditable sources of information within his reach, but chiefly from the following: Sketches of the institutions and domestic customs of the Romans, published in London a few years since; from the works of Adams, Kennett, Lanktree, Montfaucon, Middleton and Gesner: upon the subject of Mythology, from Bell, Spense, Pausanias, La Pluche, Plutarch, Pliny, Homer, Horace, Virgil, and many others to whom reference has been occasionally made.

Boston, July, 1832.

In the second edition now offered to the public much has been added to the department of Antiquities. A more comprehensive chapter upon the weights, measures and coins of the Romans has been substituted in the place of the former one, and many other improvements made which it is hoped will be found acceptable. As it was not thought expedient to increase the size of the volume, the additions have been made by excluding the questions.

Boston, May, 1833.


Chap. Page.

  1. Foundation of Rome and division of inhabitants 9
  2. The Senate 13
  3. Other divisions of the Roman people 18
  4. Gentes and Familiæ, Names of the Romans 19
  5. Private rights of Roman citizens 21
  6. Public rights of Roman citizens 23
  7. Places of worship 24
  8. Other public buildings 26
  9. Porticos, arches, columns, and trophies 30
  10. Bagnios, aqueducts, sewers, and public ways 32
  11. Augurs and Auguries 33
  12. Aruspices, Pontifices, Quindecemviri, Vestals, &c. 34
  13. Religious ceremonies of the Romans 37
  14. The Roman year 39
  15. Roman games 42
  16. Magistrates 44
  17. Of military affairs 49
  18. Assemblies, judicial proceedings, and punishments of the Romans 53
  19. Roman dress 57
  20. Fine arts and literature 59
  21. Roman houses 61
  22. Marriages and funerals 63
  23. Customs at meals 66
  24. Weights, measures, and coins 67


  1. Celestial Gods 71
  2. Celestial Goddesses 77
  3. Terrestrial Gods 82
  4. Terrestrial Goddesses 87
  5. Gods of the woods 94
  6. Goddesses of the woods 101
  7. Gods of the sea 106
  8. Tartarus and its Deities 111
  9. The condemned in Hell 123
  10. Monsters of Hell 126
  11. Dii Indigites, or heroes who received divine honors after death 128
  12. Other fabulous personages 146



Foundation of Rome and Division of its Inhabitants.

Ancient Italy was separated, on the north, by the Alps, from Germany. It was bounded, on the east and north-east, by the Adriatic Sea, or Mare Superum; on the south-west, by a part of the Mediterranean, called the Tuscan Sea, or Mare Inferum; and on the south, by the Fretum Siculum, called at present the strait of Messina.

The south of Italy, called Græcia Magna, was peopled by a colony from Greece. The middle of Italy contained several states or confederacies, under the denominations of Etrurians, Samnites, Latins, Volsci, Campanians, Sabines, &c. And the north, containing Gallia Cisalpina and Liguria, was peopled by a race of Gauls.

The principal town of the Latin confederacy was Rome. It was situated on the river Tiber, at the distance of sixteen miles from its mouth.

Romulus is commonly reported to have laid its foundations on Mount Palatine, A. M. 3251, B. C. 753, in the third year of the 6th Olympiad.

Rome was at first only a small fortification; under the kings and the republic, it greatly increased in size; but it could hardly be called magnificent before the time of Augustus Cæsar. In the reign of the Emperor Valerian, the city, with its suburbs, covered a space of fifty miles; at present it is scarcely thirteen miles round.

Rome was built on seven hills, viz. the Palatine, Capitoline, Quirinal, Esquiline, Viminal, Cælian, and Aventine; hence it was poetically styled “Urbs Septicollis,”—the seven-hilled city.

[10]The greatest number of inhabitants in Rome was four millions; but its average population was not more than two millions.

The people were divided into three tribes, and each tribe into ten curiæ. The number of tribes was afterwards increased to thirty-five.

The people were at first only separated into two ranks; the Patrician and Plebeian; but afterwards the Equites or Knights were added; and at a later period, slavery was introduced—making in all, four classes: Patricians, Knights, Plebeians, and Slaves.

The Patrician order consisted of those families whose ancestors had been members of the Senate. Those among them who had filled any superior office, were considered noble, and possessed the right of making images of themselves, which were transmitted to their descendants, and formed part of their domestic worship.

The Plebeian order was composed of the lowest class of freemen. Those who resided in the city, were called “Plebs urbana;” those who lived in the country, “Plebs rustica.” But the distinction did not consist in name only—the latter were the most respectable.

The Plebs urbana consisted not only of the poorer mechanics and laborers, but of a multitude of idlers who chiefly subsisted on the public bounty, and whose turbulence was a constant source of disquietude to the government. There were leading men among them, kept in pay by the seditious magistrates, who used for hire to stimulate them to the most daring outrages.

Trade and manufactures being considered as servile employments, they had no encouragement to industry; and the numerous spectacles which were exhibited, particularly the shows of gladiators, served to increase their natural ferocity. To these causes may be attributed the final ruin of the republic.

The Equestrian order arose out of an institution ascribed to Romulus, who chose from each of the three tribes, one hundred young men, the most distinguished for their rank, wealth, and other accomplishments, who should serve on horseback and guard his person.

Their number was afterwards increased by Tullus Hostilius, who chose three hundred from the Albans. They were chosen promiscuously from the Patricians and Plebeians. The age requisite was eighteen, and the fortune [11]four hundred sestertia; that is, about 14,000 dollars. Their marks of distinction, were a horse given them at the public expense, and a gold ring. Their office, at first, was only to serve in the army; but afterwards, to act as judges or jurymen, and take charge of the public revenues.

A great degree of splendor was added to the Equites by a procession which they made throughout the city every year, on the 15th day of July, from the temple of honor, without the city to the Capitol, riding on horseback, with wreaths of olives on their heads, dressed in the Togæ palmatæ or trabeæ, of a scarlet color, and bearing in their hands the military ornaments, which they had received from their general, as a reward for their valor. At this time they could not be summoned before a court of justice.

If any Eques was corrupt in his morals, or had diminished his fortune, the censor ordered him to be removed from the order by selling his horse.

Men became slaves among the Romans, by being taken in war, by way of punishment, or were born in a state of servitude. Those enemies who voluntarily surrendered themselves, retained the rights of freedom, and were called 'Dedititii.'

Those taken in the field, or in the storming of cities, were sold at auction—“sub corona,” as it was called, because they wore a crown when sold; or “sub hasta,” because a spear was set up where the auctioneer stood. These were called Servi or Mancipia. Those who dealt in the slave trade were called Mangones or Venalitii: they were bound to promise for the soundness of their slaves, and not to conceal their faults; hence they were commonly exposed for sale naked, and carried a scroll hanging to their necks, on which their good and bad qualities were specified.

Free-born citizens could not be sold for slaves. Parents might sell their children; but they did not on that account entirely lose the right of citizens, for, when freed from slavery, they were called ingenui and libertini. The same was the case with insolvent debtors, who were given up to their creditors.

There was no regular marriage among slaves, but their connexion was called contubernium. The children of any female slave became the property of her master.

Such as had a genius for it were sometimes instructed in literature and liberal arts. Some of these were sold at [12]a great price. Hence arose a principal part of the wealth of Crassus.

The power of the master over his slave was absolute. He might scourge or put him to death at pleasure. This right was often exercised with great cruelty.

The lash was the common punishment; but for certain crimes they were to be branded in the forehead, and sometimes were forced to carry a piece of wood round their necks, wherever they went, which was called furca; and whoever had been subjected to the punishment was ever afterwards called furcifer.

Slaves also, by way of punishment, were often confined in a work-house, or bridewell, where they were obliged to turn a mill for grinding corn. When slaves were beaten, they were suspended with a weight tied to their feet, that they might not move them. When punished for any capital offence, they were commonly crucified; but this was afterwards prohibited under Constantine.

If the master of a family was slain at his own house, and the murderer not discovered, all his domestic slaves were liable to be put to death. Hence we find no less than four hundred in one family punished on this account.

Slaves were not esteemed as persons, but as things, and might be transferred from one owner to another, like any other effects. They could not appear in a court of justice as witnesses, nor make a will, or inherit anything, or serve as soldiers, unless first made free.

At certain times they were allowed the greatest freedom, as at the feast of Saturn, in the month of December, when they were served at table by their masters, and on the Ides of August.

The number of slaves in Rome and through Italy, was immense. Some rich individuals are said to have had several thousands.

Anciently, they were freed in three different ways:—1st, Per censum, when a slave with his master's knowledge inserted his name in the censor's roll. 2d, Per vindictam, when a master, taking his slave to the prætor, or consul, and in the provinces to the pro-consul or pro-prætor, said, “I desire that this man be free, according to the custom of the Romans”—and the prætor, if he approved, putting a rod on the head of the slave, pronounced,—"I say that this man is free, after the manner of the Romans." Wherefore, the lictor or master turning him round in a cir[13]cle, and giving him a blow on the cheek, let him go; signifying that leave was granted him to go, wherever he pleased. 3d, Per testamentum, when a master gave his slaves their liberty by his will.


The Senate.

The Senate was instituted by Romulus, to be the perpetual council of the republic, and at first consisted only of one hundred, chosen from the Patricians. They were called Patres, either on account of their age or the paternal care they had of the state. After the Sabines were taken into the city, another one hundred was chosen from them by the suffrages of the curiæ.

Such as were chosen into the Senate by Brutus, after the expulsion of Tarquin the proud, to supply the place of those whom that king had slain, were called Conscripti; that is, persons written or enrolled together with the Senators, who alone were properly called patres.

Persons were chosen into the Senate first by the kings, and after their expulsion, by the consuls, and by the military tribunes; but from the year of the city 310, by the censors. At first, only from the Patricians, but afterwards, also from the Plebeians—chiefly, however, from the Equites.

Besides an estate of 400, or after Augustus, of 1200 sestertia, no person was admitted to this dignity but one who had already borne some magistracy in the Commonwealth. The age is not sufficiently ascertained, probably not under 30.

The dictator, consuls, prætors, tribunes of the commons and interrex, had the power of assembling the Senate.

The places where they assembled were only such as had formerly been consecrated by the augurs—and most commonly within the city. They made use of the temple of Bellona, without the walls, for the giving audience to foreign ambassadors, and to such provincial magistrates as were to be heard in open Senates, before they entered the city, as when they petitioned for a triumph, and in similar cases. When the augurs reported that an ox had spoken, [14]which we often meet with among the ancient prodigies, the Senate was presently to sit, sub dio, or in the open air.

The regular meetings (senatus legitimus) were on the Kalends, Nones, and Ides in every month, until the time of Augustus, who confined them to the Kalends and Ides. The senatus indictus was called for the dispatch of business upon any other day except the dies Comitialis, when the Senate were obliged to be present at the Comitia.

The Senate was summoned anciently by a public officer, named viator, because he called the Senators from the country—or by a public crier, when anything had happened about which the Senators were to be consulted hastily and without delay: but in latter times by an edict, appointing the time and place, and published several days before. The cause of assembling was also added.

If any one refused or neglected to attend, he was punished by a fine, and by distraining his goods, unless he had a just excuse. The fine was imposed by him who held the Senate, and pledges were taken till it was paid—but after 60 years of age, Senators might attend or not, as they pleased.

No decree could be made unless there was a quorum. What that was is uncertain. If any one wanted to hinder the passing of a decree, and suspected there was not a quorum, he said to the magistrate presiding, “Numera Senatum,” count the Senate.

The magistrate who was to preside offered a sacrifice, and took the auspices before he entered the Senate house. If they were not favorable, or not rightly taken, the business was deferred to another day. Augustus ordered that each Senator, before he took his seat, should pay his devotions with an offering of frankincense and wine, at the altar of that god in whose temple the Senate were assembled, that they might discharge their duty the more religiously. When the consuls entered, the Senators commonly rose up to do them honor.

The consuls elect were first asked their opinion, and the prætors, tribunes, &c. elect, seem to have had the same preference before the rest of their order. He who held the Senate, might consult first any one of the same order he thought proper.

Nothing could be laid before the Senate against the will of the consuls, unless by the tribunes of the people, who might also give their negative against any decree by [15]the solemn word “Veto,” which was called interceding. This might also be done by all who had an equal or greater authority than the magistrate presiding. If any person interceded, the sentence was called “Senatus auctoritas,” their judgment or opinion.

The Senators delivered their opinions standing; but when they only assented to the opinion of another, they continued sitting.

It was not lawful for the consuls to interrupt those who spoke, although they introduced in their speeches many things foreign to the subject, which they sometimes did, that they might waste the day in speaking. For no new reference could be made after the tenth hour, that is, four o'clock in the afternoon, according to our mode of reckoning.

This privilege was often abused, but they were forced to stop by the noise and clamour of the other Senators. Sometimes magistrates, when they made a disagreeable motion, were silenced in this manner.

The Senators usually addressed the house by the title of “patres conscripti:” sometimes to the consul, or person who presided, sometimes to both.

A decree of the Senate was made, by a separation of the Senators, to different parts of the house. He who presided, said, “Let those who are of such an opinion pass over to that side, those who think differently, to this.” Those Senators who only voted, but did not speak, or as some say, had the right of voting, but not of speaking, were called pedarii, because they signified their opinion by their feet, and not by their tongues. When a decree was made without any opinion being asked or given, it was called “senatus consultum per discessionem.” But if the contrary, it was simply called “Senatus consultum.”

In decreeing a supplication to any general, the opinion of the Senators was always asked. Hence Cicero blames Antony for omitting this in the case of Lepidus. Before the vote was put, and while the debate was going on, the members used to take their seats near that person whose opinion they approved, and the opinion of him who was joined by the greatest number was called “Sententia maxime frequens.”

When affairs requiring secrecy were discussed, the clerks and other attendants were not admitted: but what passed, was written out by some of the Senators, and the decree was called tacitum.

[16]Public registers were kept of what was done in the Senate, in the assemblies of the people, and courts of justice; also of births and funerals, of marriages and divorces, &c. which served as a fund of information for historians.

In writing a decree, the time and place were put first; then, the names of those who were present at the engrossing of it; after that, the motion with the name of the magistrate who proposed it; to all which was subjoined what the Senate decreed.

The decrees were kept in the public treasury with the laws and other writings, pertaining to the republic. Anciently they were kept in the temple of Ceres. The place where the public records were kept was called “Tabularium.” The decrees of the Senate concerning the honors conferred on Cæsar were inscribed in golden letters, on columns of silver. When not carried to the treasury, they were reckoned invalid. Hence it was ordained under Tiberius, that the decrees of the Senate, especially concerning the capital punishment of any one, should not be carried there before the tenth day, that the emperor, if absent from the city, might have an opportunity of considering them, and if he thought proper of mitigating them.

Decrees of the Senate were rarely reversed. While a question was under debate, every one was at freedom to express his dissent; but when once determined, it was looked upon as the common concern of each member to support the opinion of the majority.

The power of the Senate was different at different times. Under the regal government, the Senate deliberated upon such affairs as the king proposed to them, and the kings were said to act according to their counsel as the consuls did afterwards according to their decrees.

Tarquin the proud, dropped the custom handed down from his predecessors, of consulting the Senate about everything; banished or put to death the chief men of that order, and chose no others in their room; but he was expelled from the throne for his tyranny, and the regal government abolished, A. U. 243. Afterwards the power of the Senate was raised to the highest. Everything was done by its authority. The magistrates were in a manner only its ministers. But when the Patricians began to abuse their power, and to exercise cruelty on the Plebeians, especially after the death of Tarquin, the multitude took arms in their own defence, made a secession from the city, seized on Mons Sacer, and created tribunes for themselves, who at[17]tacked the authority of the Senate, and in process of time greatly diminished it.

Although the supreme power at Rome belonged to the people, yet they seldom enacted anything without the authority of the Senate. In all weighty matters, the method usually observed was that the Senate should first deliberate and decree, and then the people order.

The Senate assumed to themselves exclusively, the guardianship of the public religion; so that no new god could be introduced, nor altar erected, nor the Sybiline books consulted without their order. They had the direction of the treasury, and distributed the public money at pleasure. They appointed stipends to their generals and officers, and provisions and clothing to the armies. They settled the provinces which were annually assigned to the consuls and prætors, and when it seemed fit, they prolonged their command. They nominated, out of their own body, all ambassadors sent from Rome, and gave to foreign ambassadors what answers they thought proper. They decreed all public thanksgivings for victories obtained, and conferred the honor of an ovation or triumph with the title of imperator on their victorious generals. They could decree the title of king to any prince whom they pleased, and declare any one an enemy by a vote. They inquired into all public crimes or treasons, either in Rome or other parts of Italy; and adjusted all disputes among the allied and dependent cities. They exercised a power not only of interpreting the laws, but of absolving men from the obligation of them. They could postpone the assemblies of the people, and prescribe a change of habit to the city, in cases of any imminent danger or calamity.

But their power was chiefly conspicuous in civil dissension or dangerous tumults within the city, in which that solemn decree used to be passed; “That the consuls should take care that the republic should receive no harm.” By which decree an absolute power was granted to them to punish and put to death whom they pleased without a trial; to raise forces and carry on war, without the order of the people.

Although the decrees of the Senate had not properly the force of laws, and took place chiefly in those matters which were not provided for by the laws, yet they were understood always to have a binding force, and were therefore obeyed by all orders. The consuls themselves were obliged to sub[18]mit to them. They could be annulled or cancelled only by the Senate itself. In the last ages of the republic, the authority of the Senate was little regarded by the leading men and their creatures, who by means of bribery obtained from a corrupted populace what they desired, in spite of the Senate.

Augustus, when he became master of the empire, retained the forms of the ancient republic, and the same names of the magistrates; but left nothing of the ancient virtue and liberty. While he pretended always to act by the authority of the Senate, he artfully drew everything to himself.

The Senators were distinguished by an oblong stripe of purple sewed on the forepart of their Senatorial gown, and black buskins reaching to the middle of the leg, with the letter C in silver on the top of the foot.

The chief privilege of the Senators was their having a particular place at the public spectacles, called orchestra. It was next the stage in the theatre, or next the arena or open space in the amphitheatre.

The messages sent by the emperor to the Senate were called epistolæ or libelli, because they were folded in the form of a letter or little book. Cæsar was said to have first introduced these libelli, which afterwards were used on almost every occasion.


Other Divisions of the Roman People.

That the Patricians and Plebeians might be connected together by the strictest bonds, Romulus ordained that every Plebeian should choose from the Patricians any one he pleased, for his patron or protector, whose client he was called.

It was the duty of the patron to advise and defend his client, and to assist him with his interest and substance. The client was obliged to pay the greatest respect to his patron, and to serve him with his life and fortune in any extremity.

It was unlawful for patrons and clients to accuse or bear witness against each other, and whoever was found to have [19]done so, might be slain by any one with impunity as a victim to Pluto, and the infernal gods.

It was esteemed highly honorable for a Patrician to have numerous clients, both hereditary and acquired by his own merit. In after times, even cities and whole nations were under the protection of illustrious Roman families.

Those whose ancestors or themselves had borne any curule magistracy, that is, had been Consul, Prætor, Censor or Curule Edile, were called nobiles, and had the right of making images of themselves, which were kept with great care by their posterity, and carried before them at funerals.

These images were merely the busts of persons down to the shoulders, made of wax, and painted, which they used to place in the courts of their houses, enclosed in wooden cases, and seem not to have brought out, except on solemn occasions. There were titles or inscriptions written below them, pointing out the honors they had enjoyed, and the exploits they had performed. Anciently, this right of images was peculiar to the Patricians; but afterwards, the Plebeians also acquired it, when admitted to curule offices.

Those who were the first of their family, that had raised themselves to any curule office, were called homines novi, new men or upstarts. Those who had no images of themselves, or of their ancestors, were called ignobiles.

Those who favored the interests of the Senate were called optimates, and sometimes procĕres or principes. Those who studied to gain the favor of the multitude, were called populares, of whatever order they were. This was a division of factions, and not of rank or dignity. The contests between these two parties, excited the greatest commotions in the state, which finally terminated in the extinction of liberty.


Gentes and Familiæ; Names of the Romans, &c.

The Romans were divided into various clans, (gentes,) and each clan into several families. Those of the same gens were called gentiles, and those of the same family, [20]agnati. But relations by the father's side were also called agnati, to distinguish them from cognati, relations only by the mother's side.

The Romans had three names, to mark the different clans and families, and distinguish the individuals of the same family—the prænomen, nomen and cognomen.

The prænomen was put first, and marked the individual. It was commonly written with one letter; as A. for Aulus: C. for Caius—sometimes with two; as Ap. for Appius.

The nomen was put after the prænomen, to mark the gens, and commonly ended in ius; as Cornelius, Fabius. The cognomen was put last, and marked the family; as Cicero, Cæsar.

Sometimes there was also a fourth name, called the agnomen, added from some illustrious action, or remarkable event. Thus, Scipio was called Africanus, from the conquest of Carthage and Africa: for a similar reason, his brother was called Asiaticus.

These names were not always used; commonly two, and sometimes only the sirname. But in speaking to any one, the prænomen was generally used as being peculiar to citizens, for slaves had no prænomen.

The sirnames were derived from various circumstances, either from some quality of the mind; as Cato, from catus, wise: or from the habit of the body; as Calvus, Crassus, &c.: or from cultivating particular fruits; as Lentulus, Piso, &c. Quintus Cincinnatus was called Serranus, because the ambassadors from the senate found him sowing, when they brought him word that he was made dictator.

The prænomen was given to boys on the ninth day, which was called dies lustrĭcus, or the day of purification, when certain religious ceremonies were performed. The eldest son of the family usually received the prænomen of his father. The rest were named from their uncles or other relations.

When there was only one daughter in the family, she was called by the name of the gens: thus, Tullia, the daughter of Cicero; and retained the same after marriage. When there were two daughters, one was called major, and the other minor. If there were more than two, they were distinguished by their number; thus—prima, secunda, tertia, &c.

Those were called liberi, free, who had the power of doing what they pleased. Those who were born of pa[21]rents who had been always free, were called ingenui. Slaves made free were called liberti, in relation to their masters; and libertini, in relation to free born citizens.


Private Rights of Roman Citizens.

The right of liberty comprehended not only liberty from the power of masters, but also from the dominion of tyrants, the severity of magistrates, the cruelty of creditors, and the insolence of more powerful citizens. After the expulsion of Tarquin, a law was made by Brutus, that no one should be king at Rome, and that whoever should form a design of making himself a king, might be slain with impunity. At the same time the people were bound by an oath that they would never suffer a king to be created.

Citizens could appeal from the magistrates to the people, and the persons who appealed could in no way be punished, until the people determined the matter; but they were chiefly secured by the assistance of the tribunes.

None but the whole Roman people in the comitia centuriata could pass sentence on the life of a Roman citizen. No magistrate could punish him by stripes or capitally. The single expression, “I am a Roman citizen,” checked their severest decrees.

By the laws of the twelve tables, it was ordained, that insolvent debtors should be given up to their creditors, to be bound in fetters and cords, and although they did not entirely lose the rights of freemen, yet they were in actual slavery, and often more harshly treated than even slaves themselves.

To check the cruelty of usurers, a law was afterwards made that no debtors should be kept in irons, or in bonds; that the goods of the debtor, not his person, should be given up to his creditors.

The people, not satisfied with this, as it did not free them from prison, demanded an entire abolition of debt, which they used to call new tables; but this was never granted.

Each clan and family had certain sacred rights, peculiar to itself, which were inherited in the same manner as ef[22]fects. When heirs by the father's side of the same family failed, those of the same gens succeeded in preference to relations by the mother's side of the same family. No one could pass from a Patrician family to a Plebeian, or from a Plebeian to a Patrician, unless by that form of adoption which could only be made at the comitia curiata.

No Roman citizen could marry a slave, barbarian or foreigner, unless by the permission of the people.

A father among the Romans had the power of life and death over his children. He could not only expose them when infants, but when grown up he might imprison, scourge, send them bound to work in the country, and also put them to death by any punishment he pleased.

A son could acquire no property but with his father's consent, and what he thus acquired was called his peculium as of a slave.

Things with respect to property among the Romans were variously divided. Some were said to be of divine right, and were held sacred, as altars, temples, or any thing publicly consecrated to the gods, by the authority of the Pontiffs; or religious, as sepulchres—or inviolable, as the walls and gates of a city.

Others were said to be of human right, and called profane. These were either public and common, as the air, running water, the sea and its shores; or private, which might be the property of individuals.

None but a Roman citizen could make a will, or be witnesses to a testament, or inherit any thing by it.

The usual method of making a will after the laws of the twelve tables were enacted, was by brass and balance, as it was called. In the presence of five witnesses, a weigher and witness, the testator by an imaginary sale disposed of his family and property to one who was called familiæ emptor, who was not the heir as some have thought, but only admitted for the sake of form, that the testator might seem to have alienated his effects in his life time. This act was called familiæ mancipatio.

Sometimes the testator wrote his will wholly with his own hand, in which case it was called hologrăphum—sometimes it was written by a friend, or by others. Thus the testament of Augustus was written partly by himself, and partly by two of his freedmen.

Testaments were always subscribed by the testator, and usually by the witnesses, and sealed with their seals or [23]rings. They were likewise tied with a thread drawn thrice through holes and sealed; like all other civil deeds, they were always written in Latin. A legacy expressed in Greek was not valid.

They were deposited either privately in the hands of a friend, or in a temple with the keeper of it. Thus Julius Cæsar is said to have intrusted his testament to the oldest of the vestal virgins.

A father might leave whom he pleased as guardian to his children;—but if he died, this charge devolved by law on the nearest relation by the father's side. When there was no guardian by testament, nor a legal one, the prætor and the majority of the tribunes of the people appointed a guardian. If any one died without making a will, his goods devolved on his nearest relations.

Women could not transact any business of importance without the concurrence of their parents, husbands, or guardians.


Public Rights of Roman Citizens.

The jus militiæ, was the right of serving in the army, which was at first peculiar to the higher order of citizens only, but afterwards the emperor took soldiers not only from Italy and the provinces, but also from barbarous nations.

The jus tributorum was the payment of a tax by each individual through the tribes, in proportion to the valuation of his estates.

There were three kinds of tribute, one imposed equally on each person; another according to his property; and a third exacted in cases of emergency. There were three other kinds of taxes, called portorium, decumæ and scriptura.

The portorium was paid for goods exported and imported, the collectors of which were called portitores, or for carrying goods over a bridge.

The decumæ were the tenth part of corn and the fifth part of other fruit, exacted from the cultivators of the public lands, either in Italy or without it.

[24]The scriptura was paid by those who pastured their cattle upon the public lands. The jus saffragii was the right of voting in the different assemblies of the people.

The jus honorum was the right of being priests or magistrates, at first enjoyed only by the Patricians. Foreigners might live in the city of Rome, but they enjoyed none of the rights of citizens; they were subject to a peculiar jurisdiction, and might be expelled from the city by a magistrate. They were not permitted to wear the Roman dress.


Places of Worship.

Templum was a place which had been dedicated to the worship of some deity, and consecrated by the augurs.

Ædes sacræ were such as wanted that consecration, which, if they afterwards received, they changed their names to temples.

Delubrum comprehended several deities under one roof. The most celebrated temples were the capitol and pantheon.

The capitol or temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, was the effect of a vow made by Tarquinius Priscus, in the Sabine war. But he had scarcely laid the foundation before his death. His nephew Tarquin the proud, finished it with the spoils taken from the neighboring nations.

The structure stood on a high ridge, taking in four acres of ground. The front was adorned with three rows of pillars, the other sides with two. The ascent from the ground was by a hundred steps. The prodigious gifts and ornaments with which it was at several times endowed, almost exceed belief. Augustus gave at one time two thousand pounds weight of gold, and in jewels and precious stones to the value of five hundred sestertia.

Livy and Pliny surprise us with accounts of the brazen thresholds, the noble pillars that Scylla removed thither from Athens, out of the temple of Jupiter Olympius; the gilded roof, the gilded shields, and those of solid silver; the huge vessels of silver, holding three measures—the golden chariot, &c.

[25]This temple was first consumed by fire in the Marian war, and then rebuilt by Sylla. This too was demolished in the Vitellian sedition. Vespasian undertook a third, which was burnt about the time of his death. Domitian raised the last and most glorious of all, in which the very gilding amounted to twelve thousand talents—on which Plutarch has observed of that emperor, that he was, like Midas, desirous of turning every thing into gold. There are very little remains of it at present, yet enough to make a Christian church.

The capitol contained in it three temples: one to Jupiter, one to Juno, and one to Minerva. Jupiter's was in the centre, whence he was poetically called “Media qui sedet æde Deus”—the god who sits in the middle temple.

The pantheon was built by Marcus Agrippa, son-in-law to Augustus Cæsar, and dedicated most probably to all the gods in general, as the name implies. The structure is a hundred and fifty-eight feet high, and about the same breadth. The roof is curiously vaulted, void places being here and there for the greater strength. The rafters were pieces of brass of forty feet in length. There are no windows in the whole edifice, only a round hole at the top of the roof, which serves very well for the admission of light. The walls on the inside are either solid marble or incrusted. The front, on the outside, was covered with brazen plates, gilt, the top with silver plates, which are now changed to lead. The gates were brass, of extraordinary work and magnitude.

This temple is still standing, with little alteration, besides the loss of the old ornaments, being converted into a Christian church by Pope Boniface III. The most remarkable difference is that where they before ascended by twelve steps, they now go down as many to the entrance.

There are two other temples, particularly worth notice, not so much for the magnificence of the structure, as for the customs that depend upon them, and the remarkable use to which they were put. These are the temples of Saturn and Janus.

The first was famous on account of serving for the public treasury—the reason of which some fancy to have been because Saturn first taught the Italians to coin money; but most probably it was because this was the strongest place in the city. Here were preserved all the public reg[26]isters and records, among which were the libri elephantini, or great ivory tables, containing a list of all the tribes and the schemes of the public accounts.

The other was a square building, some say of entire brass, so large as to contain a statue of Janus, five feet high, with brazen gates on each side, which were kept open in war, and shut in time of peace.


Of other public Buildings.

Theatres, so called from the Greek θεαομαι, to see, owe their origin to Bacchus.

That the theatres and amphitheatres were two different sorts of edifices, was never questioned, the former being built in the shape of a semicircle; the other generally oval, so as to make the same figure as if two theatres should be joined together. Yet the same place is often called by these names in several authors. They seem, too, to have been designed for quite different ends: the theatres for stage plays, the amphitheatres for the greater shows of gladiators, wild beasts, &c. The following are the most important parts of both.

Scena was a partition reaching quite across the theatre, being made either to turn round or draw up, to present a new prospect to the spectators.

Proscenium was the space of ground just before the scene, where the pulpitum stood, into which the actors came from behind the scenes to perform.

The middle part, or area of the amphitheatre, was called cavæ, because it was considerably lower than the other parts, whence perhaps, the name of pit in our play houses was borrowed; and arena, because it used to be strown with sand, to hinder the performers from slipping.

Pl. 2

Ruins of the Flavian Amphitheatre

Ruins of the Flavian Amphitheatre, commonly called the Colisæum.

There was a threefold distinction of the seats, according to the ordinary division of the people into senators, knights, and commons. The first range was called orchestra, from ορχειςθαι, because in that part of the Grecian theatres, the [27]dances were performed; the second equestria; and the other popularia.

The Flavian amphitheatre, now better known by the name of the Colisæum, from its stupendous magnitude, excites the astonishment of the world. It was five hundred fifty feet in length, and four hundred seventy in breadth, and one hundred sixty in height. It was surrounded to the top by a portico resting on eighty arches, and divided into four stories. The arrangement of the seats was similar to that in the theatres; but there was a large box projecting from one side, and covered with a canopy of state for the accommodation of the emperor and the magistrates, who were surrounded with all the insignia of office.

As combats of wild beasts formed a chief part of the amusements, they were secured in dens around the arena or stage, which was strongly encircled by a canal, to guard the spectators against their attacks. These precautions, however, were not always sufficient, and instances occurred in which the animals sprung across the barrier.

This huge pile was commenced by Vespasian, and was reared with a portion of the materials of Nero's golden palace: its form was oval, and it is supposed to have contained upwards of eighty thousand persons. A large part of this vast edifice still remains.

Theatres, in the first ages of the commonwealth, were only temporary, and composed of wood. Of these, the most celebrated was that of Marcus Scaurus—the scenes of which were divided into three partitions, one above another, the first consisting of one hundred and twenty pillars of marble; the next, of the like number of pillars, curiously wrought in glass. The top of all had the same number of pillars adorned with gilded tablets. Between the pillars were set three thousand statues and images of brass. The cavca would hold eighty thousand men.

Pompey the great was the first who undertook the raising of a fixed theatre, which he built nobly of square stone. Some of the remains of this theatre are still to be seen at Rome.

The circi were places set apart for the celebration of several sorts of games:—they were generally oblong or almost in the shape of a bow, having a wall quite round, with ranges of seats for the convenience of spectators. At [28]the entrance of the circus stood the carceres or lists, whence they started, and just by them, one of the metæ or marks—the other standing at the farther end to conclude the race.

The most remarkable, was the circus maximus, built by Tarquinius Priscus:—the length of it was four stadia, or furlongs, the breadth the same number of acres, with a trench of ten feet deep, and as many broad, to receive the water, and seats enough for one hundred fifty thousand men. It was extremely beautiful and adorned by succeeding princes, and enlarged to such a prodigious extent as to be able to contain in their proper seats two hundred and sixty thousand spectators.

The naumachiæ or places for the shows of sea-engagements are no where particularly described; but we may suppose them similar to the circi and amphitheatres.

The stadia were places in the form of circi, for the running of men and horses. A beautiful one was built by Domitian. The xysti were places constructed like porticos, in which the wrestlers exercised.

The Campus Martius, famous on so many accounts, was a large plain field, lying near the Tiber, whence we find it sometimes under the name of Tiberinus:—it was called Martius, because it had been consecrated by the old Romans to the god Mars. Besides the pleasant situation and other natural ornaments, the continual sports and exercises performed there, made it one of the most interesting sights near the city. Here the young noblemen practised all kinds of feats of activity, and learned the use of arms. Here were the races either with chariots or single horses. Besides this, it was nobly adorned with the statues of famous men, with arches, columns and porticos, and other magnificent structures. Here stood the villa publica or palace, for the reception and entertainment of ambassadors from foreign states, who were not allowed to enter the city.

The Roman curiæ were of two sorts, divine and civil. In the former, the priests and religious orders met for the regulation of the rites and ceremonies belonging to the worship of the gods. In the other, the senate used to assemble, to consult about the public concerns of the commonwealth. The senate could not meet in such a place, unless it had been solemnly consecrated by the augurs, and made of the same nature as a temple.

[29]The Roman forums were public buildings about three times as long as they were broad. All the compass of the forum was surrounded by arched porticos, some passages being left as places of entrance.

There were two kinds, fora civilia and fora venalia. The first were designed for the ornaments of the city, and for the use of public courts of justice. The others were erected for the necessities and conveniences of the inhabitants, and were no doubt equivalent to our markets. The most remarkable were the Roman forum, built by Romulus, and adorned with porticos on all sides, by Tarquinius Priscus: This was the most ancient and most frequently used in public affairs.

The Julian forum, built by Julius Cæsar, with the spoils taken in the Gallic war; the area alone, cost one hundred thousand sesterces, equal to 3570 dollars.

The Augustan forum, built by Augustus Cæsar, containing statues in the two porticos, on each side of the main building. In one were all the Latin kings, beginning with Æneas: in the other all the Roman kings, beginning with Romulus, and most of the eminent persons in the commonwealth, and Augustus himself among the rest, with an inscription upon the pedestal of every statue, expressing the chief actions and exploits of the person it represented.

The forum of Trajan, erected by the emperor Trajan, with the foreign spoils he had taken in the wars; the covering was all brass, and the porticos exceedingly beautiful.

The chief fora venalia or markets, were boarium, for oxen and beef, suarium, for swine, pistorium, for bread, cupedinarium, for dainties, and holitorium, for roots, sallads and similar things.

The comitium was only a part of the Roman forum, which served sometimes for the celebration of the comitia; here stood the rostra, a kind of pulpit, adorned with the beaks of ships taken in a sea fight, from the inhabitants of Antium in Italy; here causes were pleaded, orations made, and funeral panegyrics delivered.



Porticos, Arches, Columns and Trophies.

The porticos are worthy of observation: they were structures of curious work and extraordinary beauty annexed to public edifices, sacred and civil, as well for ornament as use.

They generally took their names either from the temples which they stood near, from the builders, from the nature and form of the building, or from the remarkable paintings in them.

They were sometimes used for the assemblies of the senate; sometimes the jewellers and such as dealt in the most precious wares took their stand here to expose their goods for sale; but the general use they were put to, was the pleasure of walking or riding in them, like the present piazzas in Italy.

Arches were public buildings designed for the encouragement and reward of noble enterprises, erected generally to the honor of such eminent persons as had either won a victory of extraordinary consequence abroad, or had rescued the commonwealth, at home, from any considerable danger.

At first they were plain and rude structures, by no means remarkable for beauty or taste: but in latter times no expense was thought too great to render them in the highest manner splendid and magnificent. The arches built by Romulus were only of brick, that of Camillus of plain square stone, but those of Cæsar, Drusus, Titus, &c. were all of marble.

Their figure was at first semicircular, whence probably they took their names; afterwards they were built four square, with a spacious arched gate in the middle, and small ones on each side. Upon the vaulted part of the middle gate, hung little winged images representing victory, with crowns in their hands, which, when they were let down, they put upon the conqueror's head, as he passed under the triumphal arch.

The columns or pillars, over the sepulchres of distinguished men, were great ornaments to the city: they were at last converted to the same design as the arches, for the honorable memorial of some noble victory or exploit. The [31]pillars of the emperors Trajan and Antoninus deserve particular attention for their beauty and curious workmanship.

The former was set up in the middle of Trajan's forum, being composed of twenty-four great stones of marble, but so skilfully cemented as to appear one entire stone. The height was one hundred forty-four feet; it is ascended on the inside by one hundred eighty-five winding stairs, and has forty little windows for the admission of light. The whole pillar is incrusted with marble, in which are expressed all the noble actions of the emperor, and particularly the Decian war.

But its noblest ornament was the gigantic statue of Trajan on the top, being no less than twenty feet high; he was represented in a coat of armour proper to the general, holding in his left hand a sceptre, in his right a hollow globe of fire, in which his own ashes were deposited after his death.

The column of Antoninus was raised in imitation of this, which it exceeded only in one respect, that it was one hundred seventy six feet high—for the work was much inferior to the former, being undertaken in the declining age of the empire. The ascent on the inside was by one hundred six steps, and the windows, in the sides, fifty-six; the sculpture and the other ornaments were of the same nature as those of the first, and on the top stood a colossal statue of the emperor, naked, as appears from his coins.

Both of these columns are still standing at Rome; the former almost entire: but Pope Sixtus the first, instead of the two statues of the emperors, set up St. Peter's on the column of Trajan, and St. Paul's on that of Antoninus.

There was likewise a gilded pillar in the forum, called the milliarium aureum, erected by Augustus Cæsar, at which all the highways of Italy met and were concluded; from this they counted their miles, at the end of every mile setting up a stone, whence came the phrase primus ab urbe pisla.

But the most remarkable was the columna rostrata, set up to the honor of Caius Duilius, when he had gained a victory over the Carthaginian and Sicilian fleets, four hundred ninety-three years from the foundation of the city, and adorned with the beaks of the vessels taken in the engagement. This is still to be seen at Rome; the inscription on the basis is a noble example of the old way of writing, in the early times of the commonwealth.

[32]Trophies were spoils taken from the enemy, and fixed upon any thing as signs or monuments of victory: they were erected usually in the place where it was gained and consecrated to some divinity, with an inscription.


Bagnios, Aqueducts, Sewers and public Ways.

The Romans expended immense sums of money on their bagnios. The most remarkable were those of the emperors Dioclesian and Antonius Caracalla—great part of which are standing at this time, and with the high arches, the beautiful and stately pillars, the abundance of foreign marble, the curious vaulting of the roofs, and the prodigious number of spacious apartments, may be considered among the greatest curiosities of Rome.

The first invention of aqueducts, is attributed to Appius Claudius, four hundred forty-one years from the foundation of the city, who brought water into the city, by a channel of eleven miles in length—but afterwards several others of greater magnitude were built: several of them were cut through the mountains, and all other impediments for about forty miles together, and of such a height that a man on horseback might ride through them without the least difficulty. But this is meant only of the constant course of the channel, for the vaults and arches were in some places one hundred and nine feet high. It is said that Rome was supplied with five hundred thousand hogsheads every twenty-four hours by means of these aqueducts.

The cloacæ or sewers were constructed by undermining and cutting through the seven hills upon which Rome stood, making the city hang, as it were, between heaven and earth, and capable of being sailed under.

Marcus Agrippa in his edileship, made no less than seven streams meet together under ground, in one main channel, with such a rapid current, as to carry all before them, that they met with in their passage. Sometimes in a flood, the waters of the Tiber opposed them in their course, and the two streams encountered each other with great fury: yet the works preserved their old strength, without any sensible damage: sometimes the ruins of whole buildings, [33]destroyed by fire or other casualties, pressed heavily upon the frame: sometimes terrible earthquakes shook the foundation: yet they still continued impregnable.

The public ways were built with extraordinary care to a great distance from the city on all sides; they were generally paved with flint, though sometimes, and especially without the city, with pebbles and gravel.

The most noble was the Appian way, the length of which was generally computed at three hundred and fifty miles: it was twelve feet broad, made of huge stones, most of them blue. Its strength was so great, that after it had been built two thousand years, it was, in most places, for several miles together, perfectly sound.


Of Augurs and Auguries.

The business of the augurs or soothsayers was to interpret dreams, oracles, prodigies, &c. and to tell whether any action should be fortunate or prejudicial to any particular persons, or to the whole commonwealth.

There are five kinds of auguries mentioned in authors—1st. From the appearances in heaven,—as thunder, lightning, comets and other meteors; as, for instance, whether the thunder came from the right or left, whether the number of strokes was even or odd, &c.

2d. From birds, whence they had the name of auspices, from avis and specio; some birds furnished them with observations from their chattering and singing,—such as crows, owls, &c.—others from their flying, as eagles, vultures, &c.

To take both these kind of auguries, the observer stood upon a tower with his head covered in a gown, peculiar to his office, and turning his face towards the east, marked out the heavens into four quarters, with a short, straight rod, with a little turning at one end: this done, he staid waiting for the omen, which never signified anything, unless confirmed by another of the same sort.

3d. From chickens kept in a coop for this purpose. The manner of divining from them was as follows:—early [34]in the morning, the augur, commanding a general silence, ordered the coop to be opened, and threw down a handful of crumbs or corn: if the chickens did not immediately run to the food, if they scattered it with their wings, if they went by without taking notice of it, or if they flew away, the omen was reckoned unfortunate, and to portend nothing but danger or mischance; but if they leaped directly from the pen, and eat voraciously, there was great assurance of happiness and success.

4th. From beasts, such as foxes, wolves, goats, heifers, &c.; the general observations about these, were, whether they appeared in a strange place, or crossed the way, or whether they ran to the right or the left, &c.

The last kind of divination was from unusual accidents, such as sneezing, stumbling, seeing apparations, hearing strange voices, the falling of salt upon the table, &c.


Of the Aruspices, Pontifices, Quindecemviri, Vestals, &c.

The business of aruspices was to look upon the beasts offered in sacrifices, and by them to divine the success of any enterprise.

They took their observations, 1st. From the beasts before they were cut up. 2d. From the entrails of those beasts after they were cut up. 3d. From the flame that used to rise when they were burning. 4th. From the flour of bran, from the frankincense, wine and water, which they used in the sacrifice.

The offices of the pontifices were to give judgment in all cases relating to religion, to inquire into the lives of the inferior priests, and to punish them if they saw occasion; to prescribe rules for public worship; to regulate the feasts, sacrifices, and all other sacred institutions. The master or superintendent of the pontifices was one of the most honorable offices in the commonwealth.

The quindecemviri had the charge of the sibylline books; inspected them by the appointment of the senate in dangerous junctures, and performed the sacrifices which they enjoined.

[35]They are said to have been instituted on the following occasion: A certain woman called Amalthēa is said to have come to Tarquin the proud, wishing to sell nine books of sibylline or prophetic oracles: but upon Tarquin's refusal to give her the price she asked, she went away and burnt three of them. Returning soon after, she asked the same price for the remaining six: whereupon, being ridiculed by the king, she went and burnt three more; and coming back, still demanded the same price for those which remained. Tarquin, surprised at this strange conduct of the woman, consulted the augurs what to do; they, regretting the loss of the books which had been destroyed, advised the king to give the price required. The woman therefore, having delivered the books and directed them to be carefully kept, disappeared, and was never afterwards seen.

These books were supposed to contain the fate of the Roman empire, and therefore, in public danger or calamity, they were frequently inspected; they were kept with great care in a chest under ground, in the capitol.

The institution of the vestal virgins is generally attributed to Numa; their office was to attend upon the rites of Vesta, the chief part of it being the preservation of the holy fire: they were obliged to keep this with the greatest care, and if it happened to go out, it was thought impiety to light it by any common flame, but they made use of the pure rays of the sun.

The famous palladium brought from Troy by Æneas, was likewise guarded by them, for Ulysses and Diomedes stole only a counterfeit one, a copy of the other, which was kept with less care.

The number of the vestals was six, and they were admitted between the years of six and ten. The chief rules prescribed by their founder, were to vow the strictest chastity for the space of thirty years;—the first ten they were only novices, being obliged to learn the ceremonies and perfect themselves in the duties of their religion; the next ten years they discharged the duties of priestesses, and spent the remaining ten in instructing others.

If they broke their vow of virginity, they were buried alive in a place without the city wall, allotted for that purpose.

[36]This severe condition was recompensed with several privileges and prerogatives: their persons were sacred: in public they usually appeared on a magnificent car, drawn by white horses, followed by a numerous retinue of female slaves, and preceded by lictors; and if they met a malefactor going to punishment, they had the power to remit his sentence.

The septemviri were priests among the Romans, who prepared the sacred feasts at games, processions, and other solemn occasions: they were likewise assistants to the pontifices.

The fratres ambarvales, twelve in number, were those priests who offered up sacrifices for the fertility of the ground. The curiones performed the rites in each curia.

Feciales (Heralds) were a college of sacred persons, into whose charge all concerns relating to the declaration of war or conclusion of peace, were committed.

Their first institution was in so high a degree laudable and beneficial, as to reflect great honour on Roman justice and moderation. It was the primary and especial duty of the heralds, to inquire into the equity of a proposed war: and if the grounds of it seemed to them trivial or unjust, the war was declined—if otherwise, the senate concerted the best measures to carry it on with spirit.

Feciales were supreme judges in every thing relating to treaties. The head of their college was called Pater Patratus.

All the members of this college, while in the discharge of their duty, wore a wreath of vervain around their heads; and bore a branch of it in their hands, when they made peace, of which it was an emblem.

Their authority and respectability continued until the lust of dominion had corrupted the policy of the Romans; after which their situations were comparative sinecures, and their solemn deliberations dwindled into useless or contemptible formalities.

Among the flamines or priests of particular gods, were, 1st. flamen dialis the priest of Jupiter. This was an office of great dignity, but subjected to many restrictions; as that he should not ride on horseback, nor stay one night without the city, nor take an oath, and several others.

2d. The salii, priests of Mars, so called, because on solemn occasions they used to go through the city dancing, [37]dressed in an embroidered tunic, bound with a brazen belt, and a toga pretexta or trabea; having on their head a cap rising to a considerable height in the form of a cone, with a sword by their side, in their right hand a spear or rod, and in their left, one of the ancilia or shields of Mars.—The most solemn procession of the salii was on the first of March, in commemoration of the time when the sacred shield was believed to have fallen from heaven in the reign of Numa.

3d. The luperci, priests of Pan, were so called, from a wolf, because that god was supposed to keep the wolves from the sheep. Hence the place where he was worshipped was called lupercal, and his festival lupercalia, which was celebrated in February, at which the luperci ran up and down the city naked, having only a girdle of goat skin round their waists, and thongs of the same in their hands, with which they struck those they met.

It is said that Antony, while chief of the luperci, went according to concert, it is believed, almost naked into the forum, attended by his lictors, and having made an harangue to the people from the rostra, presented a crown to Cæsar, who was sitting there, surrounded by the whole senate and people. He attempted frequently to put the crown upon his head, addressing him by the title of king, and declaring that what he said and did was at the desire of his fellow citizens; but Cæsar perceiving the strongest marks of aversion in the people, rejected it, saying, that Jupiter alone was king of Rome, and therefore sent the crown to the capitol to be presented to that God.


Religious Ceremonies of the Romans.

The Romans were, as a people, remarkably attached to the religion they professed; and scrupulously attentive in discharging the rites and ceremonies which it enjoined.

Their religion was Idolatry, in its grossest and widest acceptation. It acknowledged a few general truths, but greatly darkened these by fables and poetical fiction.

All the inhabitants of the invisible world, to which the souls of people departed after death, were indiscriminately [38]called Inferi. Elysium was that part of hell (apud Inferos,) in which the good spent a spiritual existence of unmingled enjoyment, and Tartarus (pl. -ra) was the terrible prison-house of the damned.

The worship of the gods consisted chiefly in prayers, vows, and sacrifices. No act of religious worship was performed without prayer; while praying, they stood usually with their heads covered, looking towards the east; a priest pronounced the words before them;—they frequently touched the altars or knees of the images of the gods; turning themselves round in a circle towards the right, sometimes putting their right hand to their mouth, and also prostrating themselves on the ground.

They vowed temples, games, sacrifices, gifts, &c. Sometimes they used to write their vows on paper or waxen tablets, to seal them up, and fasten them with wax to the knees of the images of the gods, that being supposed to be the seat of mercy.

Lustrations were necessary to be made before entrance on any important religious duty, viz. before setting out to the temples, before the sacrifice, before initiation into the mysteries, and before solemn vows and prayers.

Lustrations were also made after acts by which one might be polluted; as after murder, or after having assisted at a funeral.

In sacrifices it was requisite that those who offered them, should come chaste and pure; that they should bathe themselves, be dressed in white robes, and crowned with the leaves of the tree which was thought most acceptable to the god whom they worshipped.

Sacrifices were made of victims whole and sound (Integræ et sanæ.) But all victims were not indifferently offered to all gods.

A white bull was an acceptable sacrifice to Jupiter; an ewe to Juno; black victims, bulls especially, to Pluto; a bull and a horse to Neptune; the horse to Mars; bullocks and lambs to Apollo, &c. Sheep and goats were offered to various deities.

The victim was led to the altar with a loose rope, that it might not seem to be brought by force, which was reckoned a bad omen. After silence was proclaimed, a salted cake was sprinkled on the head of the beast, and frankincense and wine poured between his horns, the priest having first tasted the wine himself, and given it to be tasted by [39]those that stood next him, which was called libatio—the priest then plucked the highest hairs between the horns, and threw them into the fire—the victim was struck with an axe or mall, then stabbed with knives, and the blood being caught in goblets, was poured on the altar—it was then flayed and dissected; then the entrails were inspected by the aruspices, and if the signs were favorable, they were said to have offered up an acceptable sacrifice, or to have pacified the gods; if not, another victim was offered up, and sometimes several. The parts which fell to the gods were sprinkled with meal, wine, and frankincense, and burnt on the altar. When the sacrifice was finished, the priest, having washed his hands, and uttered certain prayers, again made a libation, and the people were dismissed.

Human sacrifices were also offered among the Romans: persons guilty of certain crimes, as treachery or sedition, were devoted to Pluto and the infernal gods, and therefore any one might slay them with impunity.

Altars and temples afforded an asylum or place of refuge among the Greeks and Romans, as well as among the Jews, chiefly to slaves from the cruelty of their masters, and to insolvent debtors and criminals, where it was considered impious to touch them; but sometimes they put fire and combustible materials around the place, that the person might appear to be forced away, not by men, but by a god: or shut up the temple and unroofed it, that he might perish in the open air.


The Roman Year.

Romulus divided the year into ten months; the first of which was called March from Mars, his supposed father; the 2d April, either from the Greek name of Venus, (Aφροδιτα) or because trees and flowers open their buds, during that month; the 3d, May, from Maia, the mother of Mercury; the 4th, June, from the goddess Juno; 5th, July, from Julius Cæsar; 6th, August, from Augustus Cæsar; the rest were called from their number, September, October, November, December.

[40]Numa added two months—January from Janus, and February because the people were then purified, (februabatur) by an expiatory sacrifice from the sin of the whole year: for this anciently was the last month in the year.

Numa in imitation of the Greeks divided the year into twelve lunar months, according to the course of the moon, but as this mode of division did not correspond with the course of the sun, he ordained that an intercalary month should be added every other year.

Julius Cæsar afterwards abolished this month, and with the assistance of Sosigĕnes, a skilful astronomer of Alexandria, in the year of Rome 707, arranged the year according to the course of the sun, commencing with the first of January, and assigned to each month the number of days which they still retain. This is the celebrated Julian or solar year which has been since maintained without any other alteration than that of the new style, introduced by pope Gregory, A. D. 1582, and adopted in England in 1752, when eleven days were dropped between the second and fourteenth of September.

The months were divided into three parts, kalends, nones and ides. They commenced with the kalends; the nones occurred on the fifth, and the ides on the thirteenth, except in March, May, July, and October, when they fell on the seventh and fifteenth.

In marking the days of the month they went backwards: thus, January first was the first of the kalends of January—December thirty-first was pridie kalendas, or the day next before the kalends of January—the day before that, or the thirtieth of December, tertio kalendas Januarii, or the third day before the kalends of January, and so on to the thirteenth, when came the ides of December.

The day was either civil or natural; the civil day was from midnight to midnight; the natural day was from the rising to the setting of the sun.

The use of clocks and watches was unknown to the Romans—nor was it till four hundred and forty-seven years after the building of the city, that the sun dial was introduced: about a century later, they first measured time by a water machine, which served by night, as well as by day.

Their days were distinguished by the names of festi, profesti, and intercisi. The festi were dedicated to religious worship, the profesti were allotted to ordinary busi[41]ness, the days which served partly for one and partly for the other were called intercisi, or half holy days.

The manner of reckoning by weeks was not introduced until late in the second century of the christian era: it was borrowed from the Egyptians, and the days were named after the planets: thus, Sunday from the Sun, Monday from the Moon, Tuesday from Mars, Wednesday from Mercury, Thursday from Jupiter, Friday from Venus, Saturday from Saturn.

A Table of the Kalends, Nones, and Ides.
Days of Month. Apr, June, Sept, Nov. Jan, August, December. March, May, July, Oct. February.
2IV. Nonas.IV. NonasVI.IV. Nonas.
6VIII. Idus.VIII. Idus.Pridie.VIII. Idus.
14XVIII. Kal.XIX. Kal.Pridie.XVI. Kal.
28IV.V.V.Prid. Kal.
30Prid. Kal.III.III. 
31Mens. seq.Prid. Kal.
Mens. seq.
Prid. Kal.
Mens. seq.



Roman Games.

The Roman Games formed a part of religious worship, and were always consecrated to some god: they were either stated or vowed by generals in war, or celebrated on extraordinary occasions; the most celebrated were those of the circus.

Among them were first, chariot and horse races, of which the Romans were extravagantly fond. The charioteers were distributed into four parties or factions from the different colours of their dresses. The spectators favored one or other of the colours, as humor or caprice inclined them. It was not the swiftness of their horses, nor the art of the men that inclined them, but merely the dress. In the times of Justinian, no less than thirty thousand men are said to have lost their lives at Constantinople, in a tumult raised by contention among the partizans of the several colours.

The order in which the chariots or horses stood, was determined by lot, and the person who presided at the games gave the signal for starting, by dropping a cloth; then the chain of the hermuli being withdrawn, they sprung forward, and whoever first ran seven times round the course, was declared the victor; he was then crowned, and received a prize in money of considerable value.

Second; contests of agility and strength, of which there were five kinds; running, leaping, boxing, wrestling and throwing the discus or quoit. Boxers covered their hands with a kind of gloves, which had lead or iron sewed into them, to make the strokes fall with greater weight; the combatants were previously trained in a place of exercise, and restricted to a particular diet.

Third; what was called venatio, or the fighting of wild beasts with one another, or with men, called bestiarii, who were either forced to this by way of punishment, as the primitive christians often were, or fought voluntarily, either from a natural ferocity of disposition, or induced by hire. An incredible number of animals of various kinds, were brought from all quarters, for the entertainment of the people, at an immense expense; and were kept in enclosures called vivaria, till the day of exhibition. Pompey, in his [43]second consulship, exhibited at once five hundred lions, and eighteen elephants, who were all despatched in five days.

Fourth; naumachia, or the representation of a sea fight; those who fought, were usually composed of captives or condemned malefactors, who fought to death, unless saved by the clemency of the emperors.

In the next class of games were the shows of gladiators; they were first exhibited at Rome by two brothers called Bruti, at the funeral of their father, and for some time they were only exhibited on such occasions; but afterwards, also by the magistrates, to entertain the people, chiefly at the saturnalia and feasts of Minerva.

Incredible numbers of men were destroyed in this manner; after the triumph of Trajan over the Dacians, spectacles were exhibited for one hundred twenty-three days, in which eleven thousand animals, of different kinds, were killed, and ten thousand gladiators fought, whence we may judge of other instances. The emperor Claudius, although naturally of a gentle disposition, is said to have been rendered cruel by often attending these spectacles.

Gladiators were at first composed of slaves and captives, or of condemned malefactors, but afterwards also of free born citizens, induced by hire or inclination.

When any gladiator was wounded, he lowered his arms as a sign of his being vanquished, but his fate depended on the pleasure of the people, who, if they wished him to be saved, pressed down their thumbs; if to be slain, they turned them up, and ordered him to receive the sword, which gladiators usually submitted to with amazing fortitude.

Such was the spirit engendered by these scenes of blood, that malefactors and unfortunate christians, during the period of the persecution against them, were compelled to risk their lives in these unequal contests; and in the time of Nero, christians were dressed in skins, and thus distinguished, were hunted by dogs, or forced to contend with ferocious animals, by which they were devoured.

The next in order were the dramatic entertainments, of which there were three kinds. First; comedy, which was a representation of common life, written in a familiar style, and usually with a happy issue: the design of it was, to expose vice and folly to ridicule.

Second; tragedy, or the representation of some one serious and important action; in which illustrious persons [44]are introduced as heroes, kings, &c. written in an elevated style, and generally with an unhappy issue.

The great end of tragedy was to excite the passions; chiefly pity and horror: to inspire a love of virtue, and an abhorrence of vice.

The Roman tragedy and comedy differed from ours only in the chorus: this was a company of actors who usually remained on the stage singing and conversing on the subject in the intervals of the acts.

Pantomimes, or representations of dumb show, where the actors expressed every thing by their dancing and gestures, without speaking.

Those who were most approved, received crowns, &c. as at other games; at first composed of leaves or flowers, tied round the head with strings, afterwards of thin plates of brass gilt.

The scenery was concealed by a curtain, which, contrary to the modern custom, was drawn down when the play began, and raised when it was over.



Rome was at first governed by kings, chosen by the people; their power was not absolute, but limited; their badges were the trabea or white robe adorned with stripes of purple, a golden crown and ivory sceptre; the curule chair and twelve lictors with the fasces, that is, carrying each a bundle of rods, with an axe in the middle of them.

The regal government subsisted at Rome for two hundred and forty-three years, under seven kings—Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, and Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, all of whom, except the last, may be said to have laid the foundation of Roman greatness by their good government.

Tarquin being universally detested for his tyranny and cruelty, was expelled the city, with his wife and family, on account of the violence offered by his son Sextus to Lucretia, a noble lady, the wife of Collatinus.

[45]This revolution was brought about chiefly by means of Lucius Junius Brutus. The haughtiness and cruelty of Tarquin inspired the Romans with the greatest aversion to regal government, which they retained ever after.

In the two hundred and forty-fourth year from the building of the city, they elected two magistrates, of equal authority, and gave them the name of consuls. They had the same badges as the kings, except the crown, and nearly the same power; in time of war they possessed supreme command, and usually drew lots to determine which should remain in Rome—they levied soldiers, nominated the greater part of the officers, and provided what was necessary for their support.

In dangerous conjunctures, they were armed by the senate with absolute power, by the solemn decree that the consuls should take care the Republic receives no harm. In any serious tumult or sedition they called the Roman citizens to arms in these words, “Let those who wish to save the republic follow me”—by which they easily checked it.

Although their authority was very much impaired, first by the tribunes of the people, and afterwards upon the establishment of the empire, yet they were still employed in consulting the senate, administering justice, managing public games and the like, and had the honor to characterize the year by their own names.

To be a candidate for the consulship, it was requisite to be forty-three years of age: to have gone through the inferior offices of quæstor, ædile, and prætor—and to be present in a private station.

The office of prætor was instituted partly because the consuls being often wholly taken up with foreign wars, found the want of some person to administer justice in the city; and partly because the nobility, having lost their appropriation of the consulship, were ambitious of obtaining some new honor in its room. He was attended in the city by two lictors, who went before him with the fasces, and six lictors without the city; he wore also, like the consuls, the toga pretexta, or white robe fringed with purple.

The power of the prætor, in the administration of justice, was expressed in three words, do, dico, addico. By the word do, he expressed his power in giving the form of [46]a writ for trying and redressing a wrong, and in appointing judges or jury to decide the cause: by dico, he meant that he declared right, or gave judgment; and by addico, that he adjudged the goods of the debtor to the creditor. The prætor administered justice only in private or trivial cases: but in public and important causes, the people either judged themselves, or appointed persons called quæsitores to preside.

The censors were appointed to take an account of the number of the people, and the value of their fortunes, and superintend the public morals. They were usually chosen from the most respectable persons of consular dignity, at first only from among the Patricians, but afterwards likewise from the Plebeians.

They had the same ensigns as the consuls, except the lictors, and were chosen every five years, but continued in office only a year and a half. When any of the senators or equites committed a dishonorable action, the censors could erase the name of the former from the list, and deprive the knight of his horse and ring; any other citizen, they degraded or deprived of all the privileges of a Roman citizen, except liberty.

As the sentence of censors (Animadversio Censoria,) only affected a person's character, it was therefore properly called Ignominia. Yet even this was not unchangeable; the people or next censors might reverse it.

In addition to the revision of morals, censors had the charge of paving the streets—making roads, bridges, and aqueducts—preventing private persons from occupying public property—and frequently of imposing taxes.

A census was taken by these officers, every five years, of the number of the people, the amount of their fortunes, the number of slaves, &c. After this census had been taken, a sacrifice was made of a sow, a sheep, and a bull—hence called suove-taurilia. As this took place only every five years, that space of time was called a lustrum, because the sacrifice was a lustration offered for all the people; and therefore condere lustrum, means to finish the census.

The title of censor was esteemed more honorable than that of consul, although attended by less power: no one could be elected a second time, and they who filled it were remarkable for leading an irreproachable life; so that it was considered the chief ornament of nobility to be sprung from a censorian family.

[47]The appointment of tribunes of the people, may be attributed to the following cause; the Plebeians being oppressed by the Patricians, on account of debt, made a secession to a mountain afterwards called mons sacer, three miles from Rome, nor could they be prevailed on to return, till they obtained from the Patricians a remission of debts for those who were insolvent, and liberty to such as had been given up to serve their creditors: and likewise that the Plebeians should have proper magistrates of their own, to protect their rights, whose person should be sacred and inviolable.

They were at first five in number, but afterwards increased to ten; they had no external mark of dignity, except a kind of beadle, called viator, who went before them.

The word veto, I forbid it, was at first the extent of their power; but it afterwards increased to such a degree, that under pretence of defending the rights of the people, they did almost whatever they pleased. If any one hurt a tribune in word or deed, he was held accursed, and his property confiscated.

The ediles were so called from their care of the public buildings; they were either Plebeian or curule; the former, two in number, were appointed to be, as it were, the assistants of the tribunes of the commons, and to determine certain lesser causes committed to them; the latter, also two in number, were chosen from the Patricians and Plebeians, to exhibit certain public games.

The quæstors were officers elected by the people, to take care of the public revenues; there were at first only two of them, but two others were afterwards added to accompany the armies; and upon the conquest of all Italy, four more were created, who remained in the provinces.

The principal charge of the city quæstors was the care of the treasury; they received and expended the public money, and exacted the fines imposed by the people: they kept the military standards, entertained foreign ambassadors, and took charge of the funerals of those who were buried at the public expense.

Commanders returning from war, before they could obtain a triumph, were obliged to take an oath before the quæstors, that they had written to the senate a true account of the number of the enemy they had slain, and of the citizens who were missing.

[48]The office of the provincial quæstors was to attend the consuls or prætors into their provinces; to furnish the provisions and pay for the army; to exact the taxes and tribute of the empire, and sell the spoils taken in war.

The quæstorship was the first step of preferment to the other public offices, and to admission into the senate: its continuation was for but one year, and no one could be a candidate for it until he had completed his twenty-seventh year.

Legati were those next in authority to the quæstors, and appointed either by the senate or president of the province, who was then said to aliquem sibi legare.

The office of the legati was very dignified and honorable. They acted as lieutenants or deputies in any business for which they were appointed, and were sometimes allowed the honor of lictors.

The dictator was a magistrate invested with royal authority, created in perilous circumstances, in time of pestilence, sedition, or when the commonwealth was attacked by dangerous enemies.

His power was supreme both in peace and war, and was even above the laws; he could raise and disband armies, and determine upon the life and fortune of Roman citizens, without consulting the senate or people; when he was appointed, all other magistrates resigned their offices except the tribunes of the commons.

The dictator could continue in office only six months; but he usually resigned when he had effected the business for which he had been created. He was neither permitted to go out of Italy, nor ride on horseback, without the permission of the people; but the principal check against any abuse of power, was that he might be called to an account for his conduct, when he resigned his office.

A master of horse was nominated by the dictator immediately after his creation, usually from those of consular or prætorian rank, whose office was to command the cavalry, and execute the orders of the dictator.

The decemviri were ten men invested with supreme power, who were appointed to draw up a code of laws, all the other magistrates having first resigned their offices.

They at first behaved with great moderation, and administered justice to the people every tenth day. Ten tables of laws were proposed by them, and ratified by the people at the comitia centuriata.

[49]As two other tables seemed to be wanting, decemviri were again appointed for another year, to make them. But as these new magistrates acted tyrannically, and seemed disposed to retain their command beyond the legal time, they were compelled to resign, chiefly on account of the base passion of Appius Claudius, one of their number, for Virginia, a virgin of plebeian rank, who was slain by her father to prevent her falling into the decemvir's hands. The decemviri all perished, either in prison or in banishment.

The consuls and all the chief magistrates, except the censors and the tribunes of the people, were preceded in public by a certain number, according to their rank of office, called lictors, each bearing on his shoulders as the insignia of office, the fasces and securis, which were a bundle of rods, with an axe in the centre of one end; but the lictors in attendance on an inferior magistrate, carried the fasces only, without the axe, to denote that he was not possessed of the power of capital punishments.

They opened a way through the crowd for the consul, saying words like these—“cedite, Consul venit,” or “date viam Consuli.” It was their duty also to inflict punishment on the condemned.


Of Military Affairs.

According to the Roman constitution, every free-born citizen was a soldier, and bound to serve if called upon, in the armies of the state at any period, from the age of seventeen to forty-six.

When the Romans thought themselves injured by any nation, they sent one or more of the priests, called feciales, to demand redress, and if it was not immediately given, thirty-three days were granted to consider the matter, after which war might be justly declared; then the feciales again went to their confines, and having thrown a bloody spear into them, formally declared war against that nation.

The levy of the troops, the encampment, and much of the civil discipline, as well as the temporary command of [50]the army, was intrusted to the military tribunes, six of whom were appointed to each legion.

During the early period of the republic, the standing army in time of peace usually consisted of only four legions, two of which were commanded by each consul, and they were relieved by new levies every year, the soldiers then serving without any pay beyond their mere subsistence. But this number was afterwards greatly augmented, and the inconvenience of raw troops having been experienced, a fixed stipend in money was allowed to the men, and they were constantly retained in the service.

The legion usually consisted of three hundred horse, and three thousand foot: the different kinds of infantry which composed it were three, the hastati, principes, and triarii. The first were so called because they fought with spears: they consisted of young men in the flower of life, and formed the first line in battle. The principes were men of middle age who occupied the second line. The triarii were old soldiers of approved valor, who formed the third line.

There was a fourth kind of troops, called velĭtes from their swiftness and agility: these did not form a part of the legion, and had no certain post assigned them, but fought in scattered parties, wherever occasion required, usually before the lines.

The imperial eagle was the common standard of the legion; it was of gilt metal, borne on a spear by an officer of rank, styled, from his office, aquilifer, and was regarded by the soldiery with the greatest reverence. There were other ensigns, as A. B. C. D. in the frontispiece.

The only musical instruments used in the Roman army, were brazen trumpets of different forms, adapted to the various duties of the service.

The arms of the soldiery varied according to the battalion in which they served. Some were equipped with light javelins, and others with a missile weapon, called pilum, which they flung at the enemy; but all carried shields and short swords of that description, usually styled cut and thrust, which they wore on the right side, to prevent its interfering with the buckler, which they bore on the left arm.

The shield was of an oblong or oval shape, with an iron boss jutting out in the middle, to glance off stones or darts; [51]it was four feet long and two and a half broad, made of pieces of wood joined together with small plates of iron, and the whole covered with a bull's hide.

They were partly dressed in a metal cuirass with an under covering of cloth; on the head they wore helmets of brass, either fastened under the chin, with plates of the same metal, or reaching to the shoulders, which they covered and ornamented on the top with flowing tufts of horse hair.

The light infantry were variously armed with slings and darts as well as swords, and commonly wore a shaggy cap, in imitation of the head of some wild beast, of which the skirt hung over their shoulders. The troops of the line wore greaves on the legs and heavy iron-bound sandals on the feet. These last were called caligæ, from which the emperor Caius Cæsar obtained the name of Caligula, in consequence of having worn them in his youth among the soldiery.

The cavalry were armed with spears and wore a coat of mail of chain work, or scales of brass or steel, often plated with gold, under which was a close garment that reached to their buskins. The helmet was surmounted with a plume, and with an ornament distinctive of each rank, or with some device according to the fancy of the wearers, and which was then, as now in heraldry, denominated the crest. This term was crista, derived from the resemblance of the ornament to the comb of a cock.

The Romans made no use of saddles or stirrups, but merely cloths folded according to the convenience of the rider.

Among the instruments used in war were towers consisting of different stories, from which showers of darts were discharged on the townsmen by means of engines called catapultæ, balistæ, and scorpiones.

But the most dreadful machine of all was the battering ram: this was a long beam like the mast of a ship, and armed at one end with iron, in the form of a ram's head, whence it had its name. It was suspended by the middle, with ropes or chains fastened to a beam which lay across two posts, and hanging thus equally balanced, it was violently thrust forward, drawn back, and again pushed forward, until by repeated strokes it had broken down the wall.

[52]The discipline of the army was maintained with great severity; officers were exposed to degradation for misconduct, and the private soldier to corporal punishment. Whole legions who had transgressed their military duty were exposed to decimation, which consisted in drawing their names by lot, and putting every tenth man to the sword.

The most common rewards were crowns of different forms; the mural crown was presented to him who in the assault first scaled the rampart of a town; the castral, to those who were foremost in storming the enemy's entrenchments; the civic chaplet of oak leaves, to the soldier who saved his comrade's life in battle, and the triumphal laurel wreath to the general who commanded in a successful engagement. The radial crown was that worn by the emperors.

When an army was freed from a blockade, the soldiers gave their deliverer a crown called obsidionalis, made of the grass which grew in the besieged place; and to him who first boarded the ship of an enemy, a naval crown.

But the greatest distinction that could be conferred on a commander, was a triumph; this was granted only by the senate, on the occasion of a great victory. When decreed, the general returned to Rome, and was appointed by a special edict to the supreme command in the city; on the day of his entry, a triumphal arch was erected of sculptured masonry, under which the procession passed.

First came a detachment of cavalry, with a band of military music preceding a train of priests in their robes, who were followed by a hecatomb of the whitest oxen with gilded horns entwined with flowers; next were chariots, laden with the spoils of the vanquished; and after them, long ranks of chained captives conducted by files of lictors. Then came the conqueror, clothed in purple and crowned with laurel, having an ivory sceptre in his hand; a band of children followed dressed in white, who threw perfumes from silver censors, while they chanted the hymns of victory and the praises of the conqueror. The march was closed by the victorious troops, with their weapons wreathed with laurel; the procession marched to the temple of Jupiter, where the victor descended and dedicated his spoils to the gods.

When the objects of the war had been obtained by a bloodless victory, a minor kind of triumph was granted, in [53]which the general appeared on horseback, dressed in white, and crowned with myrtle, while in his hand he bore a branch of olive. No other living sacrifice was offered but sheep, from the name of which the ceremony was called an ovation.

In consequence of the continual depredations to which the coast of Italy was subject, the Romans commenced the building of a number of vessels, to establish a fleet, taking for their model a Carthaginian vessel, which was formerly stranded on their coast.

Their vessels were of two kinds, naves onerariæ, ships of burden, and naves longæ, ships of war: the former served to carry provisions, &c.: they were almost round, very deep, and impelled by sails.

The ships of war received their name from the number of banks of oars, one above another, which they contained: thus a ship with three banks of oars was called triremis, one with four, quadriremis, &c.; in these, sails were not used.


Assemblies, Judicial Proceedings, and Punishments of the Romans.

The assemblies of the whole Roman people, to give their vote on any subject, were called comitia. There were three kinds, the curiata, centuriata, and tributa.

The comitia curiata were assemblies of the resident Roman citizens, who were divided into thirty curiæ, a majority of which determined all matters of importance that were laid before them, such as the election of magistrates, the enacting of laws and judging of capital causes.

[54]Comitia centuriata were assemblies of the various centuries into which the six classes of the people were divided.

Those who belonged to the first class were termed classici, by way of pre-eminence—hence auctores classici, respectable or standard authors; those of the last class, who had no fortune, were called capite censi, or proletarii; and those belonging to the middle classes were all said to be infra classem—below the class.

Comitia centuriata were the most important of all the assemblies of the people. In these, laws were enacted, magistrates elected, and criminals tried. Their meeting was in the Campus Martius.

It was necessary that these assemblies should have been summoned seventeen days previously to their meeting, in order that the people might have time to reflect on the business which was to be transacted.

Candidates for any public office, who were to be elected here, were obliged to give in their names before the comitia were summoned. Those who did so, were said to petere consulatum vel præturam, &c.; and they wore a white robe called toga candida, to denote the purity of their motives; on which account they were called candidati.

Candidates went about to solicit votes (ambire,) accompanied by a nomenclator, whose duty it was to whisper the names of those whose votes they desired; for it was supposed to be an insult not to know the name of a Roman citizen.

Centuria prærogativa was that century which obtained by ballot the privilege of voting first.

When the centuria prærogativa had been elected, the presiding magistrate sitting in a tent (tabernaculum,) called upon it to come and vote. All that century then immediately separated themselves from the rest, and entered into that place of the Campus Martius, called septa or ovilia. Going into this, they had to cross over a little bridge (pons;) hence the phrase de ponte dejici—to be deprived of the elective franchise.

At the farther end of the septa stood officers, called diribitores, who handed waxen tablets to the voters, with the names of the candidates written upon them. The voter then putting a mark (punctus) on the name of him for whom he voted, threw the tablet into a large chest; and when all were done, the votes were counted.

If the votes of a century for different magistrates, or respecting any law, were equal when counted, the vote of the entire century was not reckoned among the votes of the other centuries; but in trials of life and death, if the tablets pro and con were equal, the criminal was acquitted.

The candidate for whom the greatest number of centuries voted, was duly elected, (renunciatus est:) when the votes were unanimous, he was said ferre omne punctum—to be completely successful.

[55]When a law was proposed, two ballots were given to each voter: one with U. R. written upon it, Uti Rogas—as you propose; and the other with A. for Antiquo—I am for the old one.

In voting on an impeachment, one tablet was marked with A. for Absolvo—I acquit; hence this letter was called litera salutaris; the other with C. for condemno—I condemn; hence C. was called litera tristis.

In the comitia tributa, the people voted, divided into tribes, according to their regions or wards; they were held to create inferior magistrates, to elect certain priests, to make laws, and to hold trials.

The comitia continued to be assembled for upwards of seven hundred years, when that liberty was abridged by Julius Cæsar, and after him by Augustus, each of whom shared the right of creating magistrates with the people. Tiberius the second emperor, deprived the people altogether of the right of election.

The extension of the Roman empire, the increase of riches, and consequently of crime, gave occasion to a great number of new laws, which were distinguished by the name of the person who proposed them, and by the subject to which they referred.

Civil trials, or differences between private persons were tried in the forum by the prætor. If no adjustment could be made between the two parties, the plaintiff obtained a writ from the prætor, which required the defendant to give bail for his appearance on the third day, at which time, if either was not present when cited, he lost his cause, unless he had a valid excuse.

Actions were either real, personal, or mixed. Real, was for obtaining a thing to which one had a real right, but was possessed by another. Personal, was against a person to bind him to the fulfilment of a contract, or to obtain redress for wrongs. Mixed, was when the actions had relation to persons and things.

After the plaintiff had presented his case for trial, judges were appointed by the prætor, to hear and determine the matter, and fix the number of witnesses, that the suit might not be unreasonably protracted. The parties gave security that they would abide by the judgment, and the judges took a solemn oath to decide impartially; after this the cause was argued on both sides, assisted by witnesses, [56]writings, &c. In giving sentence, the votes of a majority of the judges were necessary to decide against the defendant; but if the number was equally divided, it was left to the prætor to determine.

Trial by jury, as established with us, was not known, but the mode of judging in criminal cases, seems to have resembled it. A certain number of senators and knights, or other citizens of respectability, were annually chosen by the prætor, to act as his assessors, and some of these were appointed to sit in judgment with him. They decided by a majority of voices, and returned their verdict, either guilty, not guilty, or uncertain, in which latter instance the case was deferred; but if the votes for acquittal and condemnation were equal, the culprit was discharged.

There were also officers called centumviri, to the number at first of 100, but afterwards of 180, who were chosen equally, from the 35 tribes, and together with the prætor constituted a court of justice.

Candidates for office wore a white robe, rendered shining by the art of the fuller. They did not wear tunics, or waist-coats, either that they might appear more humble, or might more easily show the scars they had received on the breast.

For a long time before the election, they endeavored to gain the favor of the people, by every popular art, by going to their houses, by shaking hands with those they met, by addressing them in a kindly manner, and calling them by name, on which occasion they commonly had with them a monitor, who whispered in their ears every body's name.

Criminal law was in many instances more severe than it is at the present day. Thus adultery, which now only subjects the offender to a civil suit, was by the Romans, as well as the ancient Jews, punished corporally.

Forgery was not punished with death, unless the culprit was a slave; but freemen guilty of that crime were subject to banishment, which deprived them of their property and privileges; and false testimony, coining, and those offences which we term misdemeanors, exposed them to an interdiction from fire and water, or in fact an excommunication from society, which necessarily drove them into banishment.

The punishments inflicted among the Romans, were—fine, (damnum,) bonds, (vincula,) stripes, (verbera,) retaliation, (talio,) infamy, (ignominia,) banishment, (exilium,) slavery, (servitus,) and death.

[57]The methods of inflicting death were various; the chief were—beheading (percussio securi), strangling in prison (strangulatio), throwing a criminal from that part of the prison called Robur (precipitatio de robore), throwing a criminal from the Tarpeian rock (dejectio e rupe Tarpeia), crucifixion (in crucem actio), and throwing into the river (projectio in profluentem).

The last-mentioned punishment was inflicted upon parricides, or the murderers of any relation. So soon as any one was convicted of such crimes, he was immediately blindfolded as unworthy of the light, and in the next place whipped with rods. He was then sewed up in a sack, and thrown into the sea. In after times, to add to the punishment, a serpent was put in the sack; and still later, an ape, a dog, and a cock. The sack which held the malefactor was called Culeus, on which account the punishment itself is often signified by the same name.

In the time of Nero, the punishment for treason was, to be stripped stark naked, and with the head held up by a fork to be whipped to death.


The Roman Dress.

The ordinary garments of the Romans were the toga and the tunic.

The toga was a loose woollen robe, of a semicircular form, without sleeves, open from the waist upwards, but closed from thence downwards, and surrounding the limbs as far as the middle of the leg. The upper part of the vest was drawn under the right arm, which was thus left uncovered, and, passing over the left shoulder, was there gathered in a knot, whence it fell in folds across the breast: this flap being tucked into the girdle, formed a cavity which sometimes served as a pocket, and was frequently used as a covering for the head. Its color was white, except in case of mourning, when a black or dark color was worn. The Romans were at great pains to adjust the toga and make it hang gracefully.

[58]It was at first worn by women as well as men—but afterwards matrons wore a different robe, called stola, with a broad border or fringe, reaching to the feet. Courtezans, and women condemned for adultery, were not permitted to wear the stola—hence called togatæ.

Roman citizens only were permitted to wear the toga, and banished persons were prohibited the use of it. The toga picta was so termed from the rich embroidery with which it was covered:—the toga palmata from its being wrought in figured palm leaves—this last was the triumphal habit.

Young men, until they were seventeen years of age, and young women until they were married, wore a gown bordered with purple, called the toga prætexta.

After they had arrived at the age of seventeen, young men assumed the toga virilis.

The tunic was a white woollen vest worn below the toga, coming down a little below the knees before, and to the middle of the leg behind, at first without sleeves. Tunics with sleeves were reckoned effeminate: but under the emperors, these were used with fringes at the hands. The tunic was fastened by a girdle or belt about the waist, to keep it tight, which also served as a purse.

The women wore a tunic which came down to their feet and covered their arms.

Senators had a broad stripe of purple, sewed on the breast of their tunic, called latus clavus, which is sometimes put for the tunic itself, or the dignity of a senator.

The equites were distinguished by a narrow stripe called angustus clavus.

The Romans wore neither stockings nor breeches, but used sometimes to wrap their legs and thighs with pieces of cloth called from the parts which they covered, tibialia and feminalia.

The chief coverings for the feet were the calceus, which covered the whole foot, somewhat like our shoes, and was tied above with a latchet or lace, and the solea, a slipper or sandal which covered only the sole of the foot, and was fastened on with leather thongs or strings.

The shoes of the senators came up to the middle of their legs, and had a golden or silver crescent on the top of the foot. The shoes of the soldiery were called caligæ, sometimes shod with nails. Comedians wore the socci or slippers, and tragedians the cothurni.

[59]The ancient Romans went with their heads bare except at sacred rites, games, festivals, on journey or in war.—Hence, of all the honors decreed to Cæsar by the senate, he is said to have been chiefly pleased with that of always wearing a laurel crown, because it covered his baldness, which was reckoned a deformity. At games and festivals a woollen cap or bonnet was worn.

The head-dress of women was at first very simple. They seldom went abroad, and when they did they almost always had their faces veiled. But when riches and luxury increased, dress became, with many, the chief object of attention. They anointed their hair with the richest perfumes, and sometimes gave it a bright yellow color, by means of a composition or wash. It was likewise adorned with gold and pearls and precious stones: sometimes with garlands and chaplets of flowers.


Of the Fine Arts and Literature.

The Romans invented short or abridged writing, which enabled their secretaries to collect the speeches of orators, however rapidly delivered. The characters used by such writers were called notes. They did not consist in letters of the alphabet, but certain marks, one of which often expressed a whole word, and frequently a phrase. The same description of writing is known at the present day by the word stenography. From notes came the word notary, which was given to all who professed the art of quick writing.

The system of note-writing was not suddenly brought to perfection: it only came into favor when the professors most accurately reported an excellent speech which Cato pronounced in the senate. The orators, the philosophers, the dignitaries, and nearly all the rich patricians then took for secretaries note-writers, to whom they allowed handsome pay. It was usual to take from their slaves all who had intellect to acquire a knowledge of that art.

The fine arts were unknown at Rome, until their successful commanders brought from Syracuse, Asia, Macedonia and Corinth, the various specimens which those [60]places afforded. So ignorant, indeed, were they of their real worth, that when the victories of Mummius had given him possession of some of the finest productions of Grecian art, he threatened the persons to whom he intrusted the carriage of some antique statues and rare pictures, “that if they lost those, they should give him new ones.” A taste by degrees began to prevail, which they gratified at the expense of every liberal feeling of public justice and private right.

The art of printing being unknown, books were sometimes written on parchment, but more generally on a paper made from the leaves of a plant called papyrus, which grew and was prepared in Egypt. This plant was about ten cubits high, and had several coats or skins, one above another, which they separated with a needle.

The instrument used for writing was a reed, sharpened and split at the point, like our pens, called calamus. Their ink was sometimes composed of a black liquid emitted by the cuttle fish.

The Romans commonly wrote only on one side of the paper, and joined one sheet to the end of another, till they finished what they had to write, and then rolled it on a cylinder or staff, hence called volumen.

But memoranda or other unimportant matters, not intended to be preserved, were usually written on tablets spread with wax. This was effected by means of a metal pencil called stylus, pointed at one end to scrape the letters, and flat at the other to smooth the wax when any correction was necessary.

Julius Cæsar introduced the custom of folding letters in a flat square form, which were then divided into small pages, in the manner of a modern book. When forwarded for delivery, they were usually perfumed and tied round with a silken thread, the ends of which were sealed with common wax.

Letters were not subscribed; but the name of the writer, and that of the person to whom they were addressed, were inserted at the commencement—thus, Julius Cæsar to his friend Antony, health. At the end was written a simple, Farewell!

The Romans had many private and public libraries. Adjoining to some of them were museums for the accommodation of a college or society of learned men, who were [61]supported there at the public expense, with a covered walk and seats, where they might dispute.

The first public library at Rome, and probably in the world, was erected by Asinius Pollio, in the temple of liberty, on Mount Aventine. This was adorned by the statues of the most celebrated men.


Roman Houses.

The houses of the Romans are supposed at first to have been nothing more than thatched cottages. After the city was burnt by the Gauls, it was rebuilt in a more solid and commodious manner; but the streets were very irregular.

In the time of Nero the city was set on fire, and more than two-thirds of it burnt to the ground. That tyrant himself is said to have been the author of this conflagration. He beheld it from the tower of Mæcenas, and being delighted, as he said, with the beauty of the flames, played the taking of Troy, dressed like an actor.

The city was then rebuilt with greater regularity and splendor—the streets were widened, the height of the houses was limited to seventy feet, and each house had a portico before it, fronting the street.

Nero erected for himself a palace of extraordinary extent and magnificence. The enclosure extended from the Palatine to the Esquiline mount, which was more than a mile in breadth, and it was entirely surrounded with a spacious portico embellished with sculpture and statuary, among which stood a colossal statue of Nero himself, one hundred and twenty feet in height. The apartments were lined with marble, enriched with jasper, topaz, and other precious gems: the timber works and ceilings were inlaid with gold, ivory and mother of pearl.

This noble edifice, which from its magnificence obtained the appellation of the golden house, was destroyed by Vespasian as being too gorgeous for the residence even of a Roman emperor.

The lower floors of the houses of the great were, at this time, either inlaid marble or mosaic work. Every thing [62]curious and valuable was used in ornament and furniture. The number of stories was generally two, with underground apartments. On the first, were the reception-rooms and bed-chamber; on the second, the dining-room and apartments of the women.

The Romans used portable furnaces in their rooms, on which account they had little use for chimneys, except for the kitchen.

The windows of some of their houses were glazed with a thick kind of glass, not perfectly transparent; in others, isinglass split into thin plates was used. Perfectly transparent glass was so rare and valuable at Rome, that Nero is said to have given a sum equal to £50,000 for two cups of such glass with handles.

Houses not joined with the neighboring ones were called Insulæ, as also lodgings or houses to let. The inhabitants of rented houses or lodgings, Insularii or Inquilini.

The principal parts of a private house were the vestibulum, or court before the gate, which was ornamented towards the street with a portico extending along the entire front.

The atrium or hall, which was in the form of an oblong square, surrounded by galleries supported on pillars. It contained a hearth on which a fire was kept constantly burning, and around which were ranged the lares, or images of the ancestors of the family.

These were usually nothing more than waxen busts, and, though held in great respect, were not treated with the same veneration as the penates, or household gods, which were considered of divine origin, and were never exposed to the view of strangers, but were kept in an inner apartment, called penetralia.

The outer door was furnished with a bell: the entrance was guarded by a slave in chains: he was armed with a staff, and attended by a dog.

The houses had high sloping roofs, covered with broad tiles, and there was usually an open space in the centre to afford light to the inner apartments.

The Romans were unacquainted with the use of chimnies, and were consequently much annoyed by smoke. To remedy this, they sometimes anointed the wood of which their fuel was composed, with lees of oil.

The windows were closed with blinds of linen or plates of horn, but more generally with shutters of wood. Dur[63]ing the time of the emperors, a species of transparent stone, cut into plates, was used for the purpose. Glass was not used for the admission of light into the apartments until towards the fifth century of the christian era.

A villa was originally a farm-house of an ordinary kind, and occupied by the industrious cultivator of the soil; but when increasing riches inspired the citizens with a taste for new pleasures, it became the abode of opulence and luxury.

Some villas were surrounded with large parks, in which deer and various foreign wild animals were kept, and in order to render the sheep that pastured on the lawn ornamental, we are told that they often dyed their fleeces with various colours.

Large fish ponds were also a common appendage to the villas of persons of fortune, and great expense was often incurred in stocking them. In general, however, country houses were merely surrounded with gardens, of which the Romans were extravagantly fond.


Marriages and Funerals.

A marriage ceremony was never solemnized without consulting the auspices, and offering sacrifices to the gods, particularly to Juno; and the animals offered up on the occasion were deprived of their gall, in allusion to the absence of every thing bitter and malignant in the proposed union.

A legal marriage was made in three different ways, called confarreatio, usus and coemptio.

The first of these was the most ancient. A priest, in the presence of ten witnesses, made an offering to the gods, of a cake composed of salt water, and that kind of flour called “far,” from which the name of the ceremony was derived. The bride and bridegroom mutually partook of this, to denote the union that was to subsist between them, and the sacrifice of a sheep ratified the interchange of their vows.

When a woman, with the consent of her parents or [64]guardian, lived an entire year with a man, with the intention of becoming his wife, it was called usus.

Coemptio was an imaginary purchase which the husband and wife made of each other, by the exchange of some pieces of money.

A plurality of wives was forbidden among the Romans. The marriageable age was from fourteen for men, and twelve for girls.

On the wedding day the bride was dressed in a simple robe of pure white, bound with a zone of wool, which her husband alone was to unloose: her hair was divided into six locks, with the point of a spear, and crowned with flowers; she wore a saffron colored veil, which enveloped the entire person: her shoes were yellow, and had unusually high heels to give her an appearance of greater dignity.

Thus attired she waited the arrival of the bridegroom, who went with a party of friends and carried her off with an appearance of violence, from the arms of her parents, to denote the reluctance she was supposed to feel at leaving her paternal roof.

The nuptial ceremony was then performed; in the evening she was conducted to her future home, preceded by the priests, and followed by her relations, friends, and servants, carrying presents of various domestic utensils.

The door of the bridegroom's house was hung with garlands of flowers. When the bride came hither, she was asked who she was; she answered, addressing the bridegroom, “Where thou art Caius, there shall I be Caia.” intimating that she would imitate the exemplary life of Caia, the wife of Tarquinius Priscus. She was then lifted over the threshold, or gently stepped over, it being considered ominous to touch it with her feet, because it was sacred to Vesta the goddess of Virgins.

Upon her entrance, the keys of the house were delivered to her, to denote her being intrusted with the management of the family, and both she and her husband touched fire and water to intimate that their union was to last through every extremity. The bridegroom then gave a great supper to all the company. This feast was accompanied with music and dancing, and the guests sang a nuptial song in praise of the new married couple.

The Romans paid great attention to funeral rites, because they believed that the souls of the unburied were [65]not admitted into the abodes of the dead; or at least wandered a hundred years along the river Styx before they were allowed to cross it.

When any one was at the point of death, his nearest relation present endeavored to catch his last breath with his mouth, for they believed that the soul or living principle thus went out at the mouth. The corpse was then bathed and perfumed; dressed in the richest robes of the deceased, and laid upon a couch strewn with flowers, with the feet towards the outer door.

The funeral took place by torch light. The corpse was carried with the feet foremost on an open bier covered with the richest cloth, and borne by the nearest relatives and friends. It was preceded by the image of the deceased, together with those of his ancestors.

The procession was attended by musicians, with wind instruments of a larger size and a deeper tone than those used on less solemn occasions; mourning women were likewise hired to sing the praises of the deceased.

On the conclusion of the ceremony the sepulchre was strewed with flowers, and the mourners took a last farewell of the remains of the deceased. Water was then thrown upon the attendants, by a priest, to purify them from the pollution which the ancients supposed to be communicated by any contact with a corpse.

The manes of the dead were supposed to be propitiated by blood:—on this account a custom prevailed of slaughtering, on the tomb of the deceased, those animals of which he was most fond when living.

When the custom of burning the dead was introduced, a funeral pile was constructed in the shape of an altar, upon which the corpse was laid; the nearest relative then set fire to it:—perfumes and spices were afterwards thrown into the blaze, and when it was extinguished, the embers were quenched with wine. The ashes were then collected and deposited in an urn, to be kept in the mausoleum of the family.



Customs at Meals.

The food of the ancient Romans was of the simplest kind; they rarely indulged in meat, and wine was almost wholly unknown. So averse were they to luxury, that epicures were expelled from among them. But when riches were introduced by the extension of conquest, the manners of the people were changed, and the pleasures of the table became the chief object of attention.

Their principal meal was what they called cœna or supper. The usual time for it was the ninth hour, or about three o'clock in the afternoon.

While at meals, they reclined on sumptuous couches of a semicircular form, around a table of the same shape. This custom was introduced from the nations of the east, and was at first adopted only by the men, but afterwards allowed also to the women.

The dress worn at table differed from that in use on other occasions, and consisted merely of a loose robe of a slight texture, and generally white.

Before supper the Romans bathed themselves, and took various kinds of exercise, such as tennis, throwing the discus or quoit, riding, running, leaping, &c.

Small figures of Mercury, Hercules and the penates, were placed upon the table, of which they were deemed the presiding genii; and a small quantity of wine was poured upon the board, at the commencement and end of the feast, as a libation in honor of them, accompanied by a prayer.

As the ancients had not proper inns for the accommodation of travellers, the Romans, when they were in foreign countries, or at a distance from home, used to lodge at the houses of certain persons whom they in return entertained at their houses in Rome. This was esteemed a very intimate connexion, and was called hospitium, or jus hospitii: hence hospes is put both for a host and a guest.



Weights, Measures and Coins.

The principal Weight in use among the Romans, was the pound, called As or Libra, which was equal to 12 oz. avoirdupoise, or 16 oz. 18 pwts. and 13¾ grains, troy weight. It was divided into twelve ounces, the names of which were as follow: Uncia, 1 oz.—Sextans, 2 oz.—Triens, 3 oz.—Quadrans, 4 oz.—Quincunx, 5 oz.—Semis, ½ lb.—Septunx, 7 oz—Bes, 8 oz.—Dodrans, 9 oz.—Dextans, 10 oz.—Deunx, 11 oz.

The As and its divisions were applied to anything divided into twelve parts, as well as to a pound weight. The twelth part of an acre was called Uncia and half a foot, Semis, &c.

The Measures for Things Dry.Modius, a peck—Semimodius, a gallon—Sextanus, a pint—Hemina, one-half pint, and 3 smaller measures, for which we have not equivalent names in English. One Modius contained 2 Semimodii—each Semimodius contained 8 Sextarii—each Sextarius, 2 Heminæ—each Hemina, 4 Acetabula—each Acetabulum, 1½ Cyathi—each Cyathus—4 Ligulæ.

The Liquid Measures of Capacity were the Culeus, which was equal to 144½ gallons—it contained 20 Amphoræ or Quadrantales—each Amphora, 2 Urnæ—each Urna, 4 Congii—each Congius, 6 Sextarii—and each Sextarius, 2 Quartarii or naggins—each Quartarius, 2 Heminæ—each Hemina, 3 Acetabula or glasses—each Acetabulum, 1½ Cyathi—and each Cyathus, 4 Ligulæ.

The Measures of Length in use among the Romans were, Millarium or Mille, a mile—each mile contained 8 Stadia, or furlongs—each Stadium, 125 Passus—each Pace, 5 feet.

The Pes, or foot, was variously divided. It contained 4 Palmi or handbreadths, each of which was therefore 3 inches long—and it contained 16 Digiti, or finger breadths, each of which was therefore three-quarters of an inch long—and it contained 12 Unciæ, or inches: any number of which was used to signify the same number of ounces.

Cubitus, a cubit, was 1½ feet long—Pollex, a thumb's breadth, 1 inch—Palmipes, a foot and hand's breadth, i.e. 15 inches long—Pertica, a perch, 10 feet long—the [68]lesser Actus was a space of ground 120 feet long by four broad—the greater Actus was 120 feet square—two square Actus made a Jugerum, or acre, which contained therefore 28,000 square feet.

The first money in use among the Romans was nothing more than unsightly lumps of brass, which were valued according to their weight. Servius Tullius stamped these, and reduced them to a fixed standard. After his reign, the Romans improved the old, and added some new coins. Those in most frequent use, were the As, Sestertius, Victoriatus, Denarius, Aureus.

The As was a brass coin, stamped on one side with the beak of a ship, and on the other with the double head of Janus. It originally weighed one pound; but was afterwards reduced to half an ounce, without suffering, however, any diminution of value. It was worth one cent and forty-three hundredths.

Sestertius was a silver coin, stamped on one side with Castor and Pollux, and on the opposite with the city. This was so current a coin, that the word Nummus, money, is often used absolutely to express it. It was worth three cents and fifty-seven hundredths.

Denarius was a silver coin, valued at ten asses; that is, fourteen cents and thirty-five hundredths of our money. It was stamped with the figure of a carriage drawn by four beasts, and on the other side, with a head covered with a helmet, to represent Rome.

Victoriatus was a silver coin, half the value of a Denarius. It was stamped with the figure of Victory, from whence its name was derived. Being worth five Asses, it was called Quinarius.

Libella, Sembella, Teruncius, were also silver coins, but of less value than the above. Libella was of the same worth as the As—Sembella was half a Libella, equal to seventy-one hundredths of a cent—and the Teruncius was half of a Sembella.

Aureus Denarius was a gold coin, about the size of a silver Denarius, and probably stamped in a similar manner. At first, forty Aurei were made out of a pound of gold; but under the Emperors it was not so intrinsically valuable, being mixed with alloy.

The value of the Aureus, which was also called Solidus, varied at different times. According to Tacitus, it was val[69]ued and exchanged for 25 Denarii, which amounted to three dollars, fifty-eight cents and seventy-five hundredths.

The Abbreviations used by the Romans to express these various kinds of money, were, for the As, L.—for the Sesterce, L. L. S. or H. S.—for the Quinary, V. or λ.—for the Denarius, X. or :!:

Sesterces were the kind of money in which the Romans usually made their computations.—1,000 Sesterces made up a sum called Sestertium, the value of which in our money, was thirty-five dollars and seventy cents.

The art of reckoning by Sesterces was regulated by these rules:

First—If a numeral adjective were joined to Sestertii, and agreed with it in case, it signified just so many Sesterces; as decem Sestertii, 10 Sesterces—thirty-five cents and seven tenths.

Second—If a numeral adjective, of a different case, were joined to the genitive plural of Sestertius, it signified so many thousand Sesterces; as decem Sestertium, 10,000 Sesterces—$357.

Third—If a numeral adverb were placed by itself, or joined to Sestertium, it signified so many hundred thousand Sesterces; as Decies, or decies Sestertium, 1,000,000 Sesterces—$35,700.

Fourth—When the sums are expressed by letters, if the letters have a line over them, they signify also so many hundred thousand Sesterces: thus, H. S. M̅. C̅.—denotes the sum of 1,100 times 100,000 Sesterces, i.e. 110,000,000—nearly $4,000,000. [70]


Pl. 3.


Pope's Homer's Iliad. B. 20. L. 51.




Celestial Gods.

JUPITER, the supreme god of the Pagans, though set forth by historians as the wisest of princes, is described by his worshippers as infamous for his vices. There were many who assumed the name of Jupiter; the most considerable, however, and to whom the actions of the others are ascribed, was the Jupiter of Crete, son to Saturn and Rhea, who is differently said to have had his origin in Crete, at Thebes in Bœotia, and among the Messenians.

His first warlike exploit, and, indeed, the most memorable of his actions, was his expedition against the Titans, to deliver his parents, who had been imprisoned by these princes, because Saturn, instead of observing an oath he had sworn, to destroy his male children, permitted his son Jupiter, by a stratagem of Rhea, to be educated. Jupiter, for this purpose, raised a gallant army of Cretans, and engaged the Cecrŏpes as auxiliaries in this expedition; but these, after taking his money, having refused their services, he changed into apes. The valor of Jupiter so animated the Cretans, that by their aid he overcame the Titans, released his parents, and, the better to secure the reign of his father, made all the gods swear fealty to him upon an altar, which has since gained a place among the stars.

This exploit of Jupiter, however, created jealousy in Saturn, who, having learnt from an oracle, that he should be [72]dethroned by one of his sons, secretly meditated the destruction of Jupiter as the most formidable of them. The design of Saturn being discovered by one of his council, Jupiter became the aggressor, deposed his father, threw him into Tartarus, ascended the throne, and was acknowledged as supreme by the rest of the gods.

The reign of Jupiter being less favorable to his subjects than that of Saturn, gave occasion to the name of the silver age, by which is meant an age inferior in happiness to that which preceded, though superior to those which followed.

The distinguishing character of his person is majesty, and every thing about him carries dignity and authority with it; his look is meant to strike sometimes with terror, and sometimes with gratitude, but always with respect. The Capitoline Jupiter, or the Jupiter Optimus Maximus, (him now spoken of,) was the great guardian of the Romans, and was represented, in his chief temple, on the Capitoline hill, as sitting on a curule chair, with the lightning in his right hand, and a sceptre in his left.

The poets describe him as standing amidst his rapid horses, or his horses that make the thunder; for as the ancients had a strange idea of the brazen vault of heaven, they seem to have attributed the noise in a thunder storm to the rattling of Jupiter's chariot and horses on that great arch of brass all over their heads, as they supposed that he himself flung the flames out of his hand, which dart at the same time out of the clouds, beneath this arch.

APOLLO was son of Jupiter and Latona, and brother of Diana, and of all the divinities in the pagan world, the chief cherisher and protecter of the polite arts, and the most conspicuous character in heathen theology; nor unjustly, from the glorious attributes ascribed to him, for he was the god of light, medicine, eloquence, music, poetry and prophecy.

Amongst the most remarkable adventures of this god, was his quarrel with Jupiter, on account of the death of his son Æsculapius, killed by that deity on the complaint of Pluto, that he decreased the number of the dead by his cures. Apollo, to revenge this injury, killed the Cyclops who forged the thunder-bolts. For this he was banished heaven, and endured great sufferings on earth, being forced to hire himself as a shepherd to Admetus, king of Thessaly. During his pastoral servitude, he is said [73]to have invented the lyre to sooth his troubles. He was so skilled in the bow, that his arrows were always fatal. Python and the Cyclops experienced their force.

He became enamored of Daphne, daughter of the river Peneus of Thessaly. The god pursued her, but she flying to preserve her chastity, was changed into a laurel, whose leaves Apollo immediately consecrated to bind his temples, and become the reward of poetry.

His temple at Delphi became so frequented, that it was called the oracle of the earth; all nations and princes vieing in their munificence to it. The Romans erected to him many temples.

The animals sacred to him were the wolf, from his acuteness of sight, and because he spared his flocks when the god was a shepherd; the crow and the raven, because these birds were supposed to have, by instinct, the faculty of prediction; the swan, from its divining its own death; the hawk, from its boldness in flight; and the cock, because he announces the rising of the sun.

As to the signification of this fabulous divinity, all are agreed that, by Apollo, the sun is understood in general, though several poetical fictions have relation only to the sun, and not to Apollo. The great attributes of this deity were divination, healing, music, and archery, all which manifestly refer to the sun. Light dispelling darkness, is a strong emblem of truth dissipating ignorance;—the warmth of the sun conduces greatly to health; and there can be no juster symbol of the planetary harmony, than Apollo's lyre, the seven strings of which are said to represent the seven planets. As his darts are reported to have destroyed the monster Python, so his rays dry up the noxious moisture which is pernicious to vegetation and fertility.

Apollo was very differently represented in different countries and times, according to the character he assumed. In general he is described as a beardless youth, with long flowing hair floating as it were in the wind, comely and graceful, crowned with laurel, his garments and sandals shining with gold. In one hand he holds a bow and arrows, in the other a lyre; sometimes a shield and the graces. At other times he is invested in a long robe, and carries a lyre and a cup of nectar, the symbol of his divinity.

He has a threefold authority: in heaven, he is the [74]Sun; and by the lyre intimates, that he is the source of harmony: upon earth he is called Liber Pater, and carries a shield to show he is the protector of mankind, and their preserver in health and safety. In the infernal regions he is styled Apollo, and his arrows show his authority; whosoever is stricken with them being immediately sent thither. As the Sun, Apollo was represented in a chariot, drawn by the four horses, Eöus, Æthon, Phlegon, and Pyröeis.

Considered in his poetical character, he is called indifferently either Vates or Lyristes; music and poetry, in the earliest ages of the world, having made but one and the same profession.

MERCURY was the offspring of Jupiter and Maia, the daughter of Atlas. Cyllëne, in Arcadia, is said to have been the scene of his birth and education, and a magnificent temple was erected to him there.

That adroitness which formed the most distinguishing trait in his character, began very early to render him conspicuous. Born in the morning, he fabricated a lyre, and played on it by noon; and, before night, filched from Apollo his cattle. The god of light demanded instant restitution, and was lavish of menaces, the better to insure it. But his threats were of no avail, for it was soon found that the same thief had disarmed him of his quiver and bow. Being taken up into his arms by Vulcan, he robbed him of his tools, and whilst Venus caressed him for his superiority to Cupid in wrestling, he slipped off her cestus unperceived. From Jupiter he purloined his sceptre, and would have made as free with his thunder-bolt, had it not proved too hot for his fingers.

From being usually employed on Jupiter's errands, he was styled the messenger of the gods. The Greeks and Romans considered him as presiding over roads and cross-ways, in which they often erected busts of him. He was esteemed the god of orators and eloquence, the author of letters and oratory. The caduceus, or rod, which he constantly carried, was supposed to be possessed of an inherent charm that could subdue the power of enmity: an effect which he discovered by throwing it to separate two serpents found by him fighting on Mount Cytheron: each quitted his adversary, and twined himself on the rod, which Mercury, from that time, bore as the symbol of concord. His musical skill was great, for to him is as[75]cribed the discovery of the three tones, treble, bass, and tenor.

It was part of his function to attend on the dying, detach their souls from their bodies, and conduct them to the infernal regions. In conjunction with Hercules, he patronized wrestling and the gymnastic exercises; to show that address upon these occasions should always be united with force. The invention of the art of thieving was attributed to him, and the ancients used to paint him on their doors, that he, as god of thieves, might prevent the intrusion of others. For this reason he was much adored by shepherds, who imagined he could either preserve their own flocks from thieves, or else help to compensate their losses, by dexterously stealing from their neighbors.

At Rome on the fifteenth of May, the month so named from his mother, a festival was celebrated to his honor, by merchants, traders, &c. in which they sacrificed a sow, sprinkled themselves, and the goods they intended for sale, with water from his fountain, and prayed that he would both blot out all the frauds and perjuries they had already committed, and enable them to impose again on their buyers.

Mercury is usually described as a beardless young man, of a fair complexion, with yellow hair, quick eyes, and a cheerful countenance, having wings annexed to his hat and sandals, which were distinguished by the names of petăsus and talaria: the caduceus, in his hand, is winged likewise, and bound round with two serpents: his face is sometimes exhibited half black, on account of his intercourse with the infernal deities: he has often a purse in his hand, and a goat or cock, or both, by his side.

The epithets applied to Mercury by the ancients were Εναγωνιος, the presider over combats; Στροφαιος, the guardian of doors; Εμπολαιος, the merchant; Εριουνιος, beneficial to mortals; Δολιος, subtle; Ἡγεμονιος, the guide, or conductor.

As to his origin, it must be looked for amongst the Phœnicians. The bag of money which he held signified the gain of merchandise; the wings annexed to his head and his feet were emblematic of their extensive commerce and navigation; the caduceus, with which he was said to conduct the spirit of the deceased to Hades, pointing out the immortality of the soul, a state of rewards and punishments after death, and a resuscitation of the body: it is described [76]as producing three leaves together, whence it was called by Homer, the golden three-leaved wand.

BACCHUS was the son of Jupiter, by Semĕle, daughter of Cadmus, king of Thebes, in which city he is said to have been born. He was the god of good-cheer, wine, and hilarity; and of him, as such, the poets have not been sparing in their praises: on all occasions of mirth and jollity, they constantly invoked his presence, and as constantly thanked him for the blessings he bestowed. To him they ascribed the forgetfulness of cares, and the delights of social converse.

He is described as a youth of a plump figure, and naked, with a ruddy face, and an effeminate air; he is crowned with ivy and vine leaves, and bears in his hand a thyrsus, or javelin with an iron head, encircled with ivy and vine leaves: his chariot is sometimes drawn by lions, at others by tigers, leopards, or panthers; and surrounded by a band of Satyrs, Bacchæ, and Nymphs, in frantic postures; whilst old Silēnus, his preceptor, follows on an ass, which crouches with the weight of his burden.

The women who accompained him as his priestesses, were called Mænădes, from their madness; Thyădes, from their impetuosity; Bacchæ, from their intemperate depravity; and Mimallōnes, or Mimallonĭdes, from their mimicking their leaders.

The victims agreeable to him were the goat and the swine; because these animals are destructive to the vine. Among the Egyptians they sacrificed a swine to him before their doors; and the dragon, and the pye on account of its chattering: the trees and plants used in his garlands were the fir, the oak, ivy, the fig, and vine; as also the daffodil, or narcissus. Bacchus had many temples erected to him by the Greeks and the Romans.

Whoever attentively reads Horace's inimitable ode to this god, will see that Bacchus meant no more than the improvement of the world by tillage, and the culture of the vine.

MARS was the son of Jupiter and Juno, or of Jupiter and Erys. He was held in high veneration among the Romans, both on account of his being the father of Romulus, their founder, and because of their own genius, which always inclined them to war. Numa, though otherwise a pacific prince, having, during a great pestilence, [77]implored the favor of the gods, received a small brass buckler, called ancīle from heaven, which the nymph Egeria advised him to keep with the utmost care, as the fate of the people and empire depended upon it. To secure so valuable a pledge, Numa caused eleven others of the same form to be made, and intrusted the preservation of these to an order of priests, which he constituted for the purpose, called Salii, or priests of Mars, in whose temple the twelve ancilia were deposited.

The fiercest and most ravenous creatures were consecrated to Mars: the horse, for his vigor; the wolf, for his rapacity and quickness of sight; the dog, for his vigilance; and he delighted in the pye, the cock, and the vulture. He was the reputed enemy of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and arts, because in time of war they are trampled on, without respect, as well as learning and justice.

Ancient monuments represent this deity as of unusual stature, armed with a helmet, shield, and spear, sometimes naked, sometimes in a military habit; sometimes with a beard, and sometimes without. He is often described riding in a chariot, drawn by furious horses, completely armed, and extending his spear with one hand, while, with the other, he grasps a sword imbued with blood. Sometimes Bellona, the goddess of war, (whether she be his sister, wife or daughter, is uncertain,) is represented as driving his chariot, and inciting the horses with a bloody whip. Sometimes Discord is exhibited as preceding his chariot, while Clamor, Fear, Terror, with Fame, full of eyes, ears, and tongues, appear in his train.


Pl. 4.



Pope's Homer's Illiad, B. 8. L. 47.


Celestial Goddesses.

JUNO, daughter of Saturn and Rhea, was sister and wife of Jupiter. Though the poets agree that she came into the world at the same birth with her husband, yet they differ as to the place. Some fix her nativity at Argos, others at Samos, near the river Imbrasus. The latter opinion is, however, the more generally received. Samos, was highly honored, and received the name of Parthenia, from the consideration that so eminent a vir[78]gin as Juno was educated and dwelt there till her marriage.

As queen of heaven, Juno was conspicuous for her state. Her usual attendants were Terror, Boldness—Castor and Pollux, accompanied by fourteen nymphs; but her most inseparable adherent was Iris, who was always ready to be employed in her most important affairs: she acted as messenger to Juno, like Mercury to Jupiter. When Juno appeared as the majesty of heaven, with her sceptre and diadem beset with lilies and roses, her chariot was drawn by peacocks, birds sacred to her; for which reason, in her temple at Eubœa, the emperor Adrian made her a most magnificent offering of a golden crown, a purple mantle, with an embroidery of silver, describing the marriage of Hercules and Hebe, and a large peacock, whose body was of gold, and his train of most valuable jewels. There never was a wife more jealous than Juno; and few who have had so much reason: on which account we find from Homer that the most absolute exertions of Jupiter were barely sufficient to preserve his authority.

There was none except Apollo whose worship was more solemn or extensive. The history of the prodigies she had wrought, and of the vengeance she had taken upon persons who had vied with, or slighted her, had so inspired the people with awe, that, when supposed to be angry, no means were omitted to mitigate her anger; and had Paris adjudged to her the prize of Beauty, the fate of Troy might have been suspended. In resentment of this judgment, and to wreak her vengeance on Paris, the house of Priam, and the Trojan race, she appears in the Iliad to be fully employed. Minerva is commissioned by her to hinder the Greeks from retreating; she quarrels with Jupiter; she goes to battle; cajoles Jupiter with the cestus of Venus; carries the orders of Jupiter to Apollo and Iris; consults the gods on the conflict between Æneas and Achilles; sends Vulcan to oppose Xanthus; overcomes Diana, &c.

She is generally pictured like a matron, with a grave and majestic air, sometimes with a sceptre in her hand, and a veil on her head: she is represented also with a spear in her hand, and sometimes with a patĕra, as if she were about to sacrifice: on some medals she has a peacock at her feet, and sometimes holds the Palladium. Homer represents her in a chariot adorned with gems, having wheels of ebony, nails of silver, and horses with reins of gold, [79]though more commonly her chariot is drawn by peacocks, her favourite birds. The most obvious and striking character of Juno, and that which we are apt to imbibe the most early of any, from the writings of Homer and Virgil, is that of an imperious and haughty wife. In both of these poets we find her much oftener scolding at Jupiter than caressing him, and in the tenth Æneid in particular, even in the council of the gods, we have a remarkable instance of this.

If, in searching out the meaning of this fable, we regard the account of Varro, we shall find, that by Juno was signified the earth; by Jupiter, the heavens; but if we believe the Stoics, by Juno is meant the air and its properties, and by Jupiter the ether: hence Homer supposes she was nourished by Oceănus and Tethys: that is, by the sea; and agreeable to this mythology, the poet makes her shout aloud in the army of the Greeks, the air being the cause of the sound.

MINERVA, or Pallas, was one of the most distinguished of the heathen deities, as being the goddess of wisdom and science. She is supposed to have sprung, fully grown and completely armed, from the head of Jupiter.

One of the most remarkable of her adventures, was her contest with Neptune. When Cecrops founded Athens, it was agreed that whoever of these two deities could produce the most beneficial gift to mankind, should have the honor of giving their name to the city. Neptune, with a stroke of his trident, formed a horse, but Minerva causing an olive-tree to spring from the ground, obtained from the god the prize. She was the goddess of war, wisdom, and arts, such as spinning, weaving, music, and especially of the pipe. In a word, she was patroness of all those sciences which render men useful to society and themselves, and entitle them to the esteem of posterity.

She is described by the poets, and represented by the sculptors and painters in a standing attitude, completely armed, with a composed but smiling countenance, bearing a golden breast-plate, a spear in her right hand, and the ægis in her left, having on it the head of Medusa, entwined with snakes. Her helmet was usually encompassed with olives, to denote that peace is the end of war, or rather because that tree was sacred to her: at her feet is generally placed the owl or the cock, the former being the emblem of wisdom, and the latter of war.

[80]Minerva represents wisdom, that is, skilful knowledge joined with discreet practice, and comprehends the understanding of the noblest arts, the best accomplishments of the mind, together with all the virtues, but more especially that of chastity. She is said to be born of Jupiter's brain, because the ingenuity of man did not invent the useful arts and sciences, which, on the contrary, were derived from the fountain of all wisdom. She was born armed, because the human soul, fortified with wisdom and virtue, is invincible; in danger, intrepid; under crosses, unbroken; in calamities, impregnable.

The owl, a bird seeing in the dark, was sacred to Minerva; this is symbolical of a wise man, who, scattering and dispelling the clouds of error, is clear-sighted where others are blind.

VENUS was one of the most celebrated deities of the ancients. She was the goddess of beauty, the mother of love, and the queen of laughter. She is said to have sprung from the froth of the sea, near the island Cyprus, after the mutilated part of the body of Urănus had been thrown there by Saturn. Hence she obtained the name of Aphrodite, from Αφρος, froth. As soon as Venus was born, she is said to have been laid in a beautiful couch or shell, embellished with pearls, and by the assistance of Zephyrus wafted first to Cythēræ, an island in the Ægæan, and thence to Cyprus; where she arrived in the month of April. Here, immediately on her landing, flowers sprung beneath her feet, the Horæ or Seasons awaited her arrival, and having braided her hair with fillets of gold, she was thence wafted to heaven. As she was born laughing, an emanation of pleasure beamed from her countenance, and her charms were so attractive, in the assembly of the gods, that most of them desired to obtain her in marriage. Vulcan, however, the most deformed of the celestials, became the successful competitor.

One of the most remarkable adventures of this goddess was her contest with Juno and Minerva for the superiority of beauty. At the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, the goddess Discordia, resenting her not being invited, threw a golden apple among the company, with this inscription, Let the fairest take it. The competitors for this prize were Juno, Venus, and Minerva. Jupiter referred them to Paris, who then led a shepherd's life on Mount Ida. Before him the goddesses appeared. Juno offered him [81]empire or power, Minerva wisdom, and Venus promised him the possession of the most beautiful woman in the world. Fatally for himself and family, the shepherd, more susceptible of love than of ambition or virtue, decided the contest in favor of Venus.

The sacrifices usually offered to Venus, were white goats and swine, with libations of wine, milk and honey. The victims were crowned with flowers, or wreaths of myrtle, the rose and myrtle being sacred to Venus. The birds sacred to her were the swan, the dove, and the sparrow.

It were endless to enumerate the variety of attitudes in which Venus is represented on antique gems and medals; sometimes she is clothed in purple, glittering with diamonds, her head crowned with myrtle intermixed with roses, and drawn in her car of ivory by swans, doves, or sparrows: at other times she is represented standing with the Graces attending her, and in all positions Cupid is her companion. In general she has one of the prettiest, as Minerva has sometimes one of the handsomest faces that can be conceived. Her look, as she is represented by the ancient artists and poets, has all the enchanting airs and graces that they could give it.


Pl. 5.


Pope's Homer's Odyssey. B. 12. L. 2.

LATONA. This goddess was daughter of Cæus the Titan and Phœbe, or, according to Homer, of Saturn. As she grew up extremely beautiful, Jupiter fell in love with her; but Juno, discovering their intercourse, not only expelled her from heaven, but commanded the serpent Python to follow and destroy both her and her children. The earth also was caused by the jealous goddess to swear that she would afford her no place in which to bring forth. It happened, however, at this period, that the island Delos, which had been broken from Sicily, lay under water, and not having taken the oath, was commanded by Neptune to rise in the Ægean sea, and afford her an asylum. Latona, being changed by Jupiter into a quail, fled thither, and from this circumstance occasioned it to be called Ortygia, from the name in Greek of that bird. She here gave birth to Apollo and Diana. Niŏbe, daughter of Tantălus, and wife of Amphīon, king of Thebes, experienced the resentment of Latona, whose children Apollo and Diana, at her instigation, destroyed. Her beauty became fatal to Tityus, the giant, who was put to death also by the same divinities. After having been long persecuted by [82]Juno, she became a powerful deity, beheld her children exalted to divine honors, and received adoration where they were adored.

In explanation of the fable, it may be observed, that as Jupiter is taken for the maker of all things, so Latona is physically understood to be the matter out of which all things were made, which, according to Plato, is called Λητω or Latona, from ληθειν to lie hid or concealed, because all things originally lay hid in darkness till the production of light, or birth of Apollo.

AURORA, goddess of the morning, was the youngest daughter of Hyperion and Theia, or, according to some, of Titan and Terra. Orpheus calls her the harbinger of Titan, for she is the personification of that light which precedes the appearance of the sun. The poets describe this goddess as rising out of the ocean in a saffron robe, seated in a flame-colored car, drawn by two or four horses, expanding with her rosy fingers the gates of light, and scattering the pearly dew. Virgil represents her horses as of flame color, and varies their number from two to four, according as she rises slower or faster.

She is said to have been daughter of Titan and the earth, because the light of the morning seems to rise out of the earth, and to proceed from the sun, which immediately follows it. She is styled mother of the four winds, because, after a calm in the night, the winds rise in the morning, as attendant upon the sun, by whose heat and light they are begotten. There is no other goddess of whom we have so many beautiful descriptions in the poets.


Terrestrial Gods.

SATURN was the son of Cœlus and Titæa or Terra, and married his sister Vesta. She, with her other sisters, persuaded their mother to join them in a plot, to exclude Titan, their elder brother, from his birthright, and raise Saturn to his father's throne. Their design so far succeeded, that Titan was obliged to resign his claim, though on condition, that Saturn brought up no male children, and thus the succession might revert to the Titans again. [83]Saturn, it is said, observed this covenant so faithfully, that he devoured, as soon as they were born, his legitimate sons. His punctuality, however, in this respect, was at last frustrated by the artifice of Vesta, who, being delivered of twins, Jupiter and Juno, presented the latter to her husband, and concealing the former, sent him to be nursed on Mount Ida in Crete, committing the care of him to the Curētes and Corybantes.

The reign of Saturn was so mild and happy, that the poets have given it the name of the golden age. The people, who before wandered about like beasts, were then reduced to civil society; laws were enacted, and the art of tilling and sowing the ground introduced; whence Varro tells us, that Saturn had his name a satu, from sowing.

He was usually represented as an old man, bare-headed and bald, with all the marks of infirmity in his eyes, countenance, and figure. In his right hand they sometimes placed a sickle or scythe; at others, a key, and a circumflexed serpent biting its tail, in his left. He sometimes was pictured with six wings, and feet of wool, to show how insensibly and swiftly time passes. The scythe denoted his cutting down and subverting all things, and the serpent the revolution of the year, quod in sese volvitur annus.

JANUS was a pagan deity, particularly of the ancient Romans. He was esteemed the wisest sovereign of his time, and because he was supposed to know what was past, and what was to come, they feigned that he had two faces, whence the Latins gave him the epithets of Biceps, Bifrons, and Biformis.

He is introduced by Ovid as describing his origin, office and form: he was the ancient Chaos, or confused mass of matter before the formation of the world, the reduction of which into order and regularity, gave him his divinity. Thus deified, he had the power of opening and shutting every thing in the universe: he was arbiter of peace and war, and keeper of the door of heaven. He was the god who presided over the beginning of all undertakings; the first libations of wine and wheat were offered to him, and the preface of all prayers directed to him. The first month of the year took its denomination from Janus.

It is certain that Janus early obtained divine honors among the Romans. Numa ordained that his temple should be shut in time of peace, and opened in time of [84]war, from which ceremony Janus was called Clusius and Patulcius.

The peculiar offerings to Janus were cakes of new meal and salt, with new wine and frankincense. In the feasts instituted by Numa, the sacrifice was a ram, and the solemnities were performed by men, in the manner of exercises and combats. Then all artificers and tradesmen began their works, and the Roman consuls for the new year solemnly entered on their office: all quarrels were laid aside, mutual presents were made, and the day concluded with joy and festivity. Janus was seated in the centre of twelve altars, in allusion to the twelve months of the year, and had on his hands fingers to the amount of the days in the year. Sometimes his image had four faces, either in regard to the four seasons of the year, or to the four quarters of the world: he held in one hand a key, and in the other a sceptre; the former may denote his opening, as it were, and shutting the world, by the admission and exclusion of light; and the latter his dominion over it.

VULCAN was the offspring of Jupiter and Juno. He was so remarkably deformed that Jupiter threw him down from heaven to the isle of Lemnos. In this fall he broke his leg, as he also would have broken his neck, had he not been caught by the Lemnians. It is added that he was a day in falling from heaven to earth. Some report that Juno herself, disgusted at his deformity, hurled down Vulcan into the sea, where he was nursed by Thetis and her nymphs, whilst others contend that he fell upon land, and was brought up by apes. It is probable that Juno had some hand in his disgrace, since Vulcan, afterwards, in resentment of the injury, presented his mother with a golden chair, which was so contrived by springs unseen, that being seated in it she was unable to rise, till the inventor was prevailed upon to grant her deliverance.

The first abode of Vulcan on earth was in the isle of Lemnos. There he set up his forges, and taught men the malleability and polishing of metals. Thence he removed to the Liparean islands, near Sicily, where, with the assistance of the Cyclops, he made Jupiter fresh thunder-bolts as the old ones decayed. He also wrought an helmet for Pluto, which rendered him invisible; a trident for Neptune, which shook both land and sea; and a dog of brass for Jupiter, which he animated so as to perform the functions of nature. At the request of Thetis he fabricated the divine [85]armor of Achilles, whose shield is so beautifully described by Homer; as also the invincible armor of Æneas, at the entreaty of Venus. However disagreeable the person of Vulcan might be, he was susceptible notwithstanding of love. His first passion was for Minerva, having Jupiter's consent to address her; but his courtship, in this instance, failed of success, not only on account of his person, but also because the goddess had vowed perpetual virginity. He afterwards became the husband of Venus.

He was reckoned among the gods presiding over marriage, from the torches lighted by him to grace that solemnity. It was the custom in several nations, after gaining a victory, to pile the arms of the enemy in a heap on the field of battle, and make a sacrifice of them to Vulcan. As to his worship, Vulcan had an altar in common with Prometheus, who first invented fire, as did Vulcan the use of it, in making arms and utensils. His principal temple was in a consecrated grove at the foot of mount Ætna, in which was a fire continually burning. This temple was guarded by dogs, which had the discernment to distinguish his votaries by tearing the vicious, and fawning upon the virtuous.

He was highly honored at Rome. Romulus built him a temple without the walls of the city, the augurs being of opinion that the god of fire ought not to be admitted within. But the highest mark of respect paid him by the Romans was, that those assemblies were kept in his temple where the most important concerns of the republic were debated, the Romans thinking they could invoke nothing more sacred to confirm their treaties and decisions, than the avenging fire of which that god was the symbol.

This deity, as the god of fire, was represented differently in different nations: the Egyptians depicted him proceeding from an egg, placed in the mouth of Jupiter, to denote the radical or natural heat diffused through all created beings. In ancient gems and medals he is figured as a lame, deformed and squalid man, with a beard, and hair neglected; half naked; his habit reaching down to his knee only, and having a round peaked cap on his head, a hammer in his right hand, and a smith's tongs in his left, working at the anvil, and usually attended by the Cyclops, or by some of the gods or goddesses for whom he is employed.

[86]The poets described him as blackened and hardened from the forge, with a face red and fiery whilst at his work, and tired and heated after it. He is almost always the subject either of pity or ridicule. In short, the great celestial deities seem to have admitted Vulcan among them as great men used to keep buffoons at their tables, to make them laugh, and to be the butt of the whole company.

If we wish to come at the probable meaning of this fable, we must have recourse to Egyptian antiquities. The Horus of the Egyptians was the most mutable figure on earth, for he assumed shapes suitable to all seasons, and to all ranks. To direct the husbandman he wore a rural dress; by a change of attributes he became the instructer of smiths and other artificers, whose instruments he appeared adorned with. This Horus of the smiths had a short or lame leg, to signify that agriculture or husbandry will halt without the assistance of the handicraft or mechanic arts. In this apparatus he was called Mulciber, (from Mulci, to direct and manage, and ber or beer, a cave or mine, comes Mulciber, the king of the mines or forges;) he was called also Hephaistos, (from Aph, father, and Esto, fire, comes Ephaisto, or Hephaiston, the father of fire; and from Wall, to work, and Canan, to hasten, comes Wolcon, Vulcan, or work furnished;) all which names the Greeks and Romans adopted with the figure, and, as usual, converted from a symbol to a god.

ÆOLUS, god of the winds, is said to have been the son of Jupiter by Acasta or Sigesia, daughter of Hippotas. His residence was, according to most authors, at Rhegium in Italy; but wherever it was, he is represented as holding the winds, enchained in a vast cave, to prevent their committing any more such devastations as they had before occasioned; for, to their violence was imputed not only the disjunction of Sicily from Italy, but also the separation of Europe from Africa, by which a passage was opened for the ocean to form the Mediterranean sea. According to some, the Æolian, or Lipări islands were uninhabited till Lipărus, son of Auson, settled a colony there, and gave one of them his name. Æŏlus married his daughter Cyăne, peopled the rest and succeeded him on the throne. He was a generous and good prince, who hospitably entertained Ulysses, and as a proof [87]of his kindness, bestowed on him several skins, in which he had enclosed the winds. The companions of Ulysses, unable to restrain their curiosity, having opened the skins, the winds in consequence were set free, and occasioned the wildest uproar; insomuch that Ulysses lost all his vessels, and was himself alone saved by a plank. It may not be improper to remark, that over the rougher winds the poets have placed Æŏlus; over the milder, Juno; and the rain, thunder and lightning they have committed to Jupiter himself.

MOMUS, son of Somnus and Nox, was the god of pleasantry and wit, or rather the jester of the celestial assembly; for, like other monarchs, it was but reasonable that Jupiter too should have his fool. We have an instance of Momus's fantastic humor in the contest between Neptune, Minerva, and Vulcan, for skill. The first had made a bull, the second a house, and the third a man. Momus found fault with them all. He disliked the bull because his horns were not placed before his eyes, that he might give a surer blow: he condemned Minerva's house because it was immovable, and could not therefore be taken away if placed in a bad neighborhood; and in regard to Vulcan's man, he said he ought to have made a window in his breast, by which his heart might be seen, and his secrets discovered.


Terrestrial Goddesses.

CYBELE, or Vesta the elder. It is highly necessary, in tracing the genealogy of the heathen deities, to distinguish between this goddess and Vesta the younger, her daughter, because the poets have been faulty in confounding them, and ascribing the attributes and actions of the one to the other. The elder Vesta, or Cybĕle, was daughter of Cœlus and Terra, and wife of her brother Saturn, to whom she bore a numerous offspring. She had a variety of names besides that of Cybĕle, under which she is most generally known, and which she obtained from Mount Cybĕlus, in Phrygia, where sacrifices to her were first instituted. Her sacrifices and festivals, like those of [88]Bacchus, were celebrated with a confused noise of timbrels, pipes, and cymbals; the sacrificants howling as if mad, and profaning both the temple of the goddess, and the ears of their hearers with the most obscene language and abominable gestures.

Under the character of Vesta, she is generally represented upon ancient coins in a sitting posture, with a lighted torch in one hand, and a sphere or drum in the other. As Cybĕle, she makes a more magnificent appearance, being seated in a lofty chariot drawn by lions, crowned with towers, and bearing in her hand a key. Being goddess, not of cities only, but of all things which the earth sustains, she was crowned with turrets, whilst the key implies not only her custody of cities, but also that in winter the earth locks those treasures up, which she brings forth and dispenses in summer: she rides in a chariot, because (fancifully) the earth hangs suspended in the air, balanced and poised by its own weight; and that the chariot is supported by wheels, because the earth is a voluble body and turns round. Her being drawn by lions, may imply that nothing is too fierce and intractable for a motherly piety and tenderness to tame and subdue. Her garments are painted with divers colors, but chiefly green, and figured with the images of several creatures, because such a dress is suitable to the variegated and more prevalent appearance of the earth.

VESTA was the daughter of Vesta the elder, by Saturn, and sister of Ceres, Juno, Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter. She was so fond of a single life, that when her brother Jupiter ascended the throne, and offered to grant whatever she asked, her only desires were the preservation of her virginity, and the first oblation in all sacrifices. Numa Pompilius, the great founder of religion among the Romans, is said first to have restored the ancient rites and worship of this goddess, to whom he erected a circular temple, which in succeeding ages was not only much embellished, but also, as the earth was supposed to retain a constant fire within, a perpetual fire was kept up in the temple of Vesta, the care of which was intrusted to a select number of young females appointed from the first families in Rome, and called Vestal virgins.

As this Vesta was the goddess of fire, the Romans had no images of her in her temple; the reason for which, assigned by Ovid, is that fire has no representative, as no [89]bodies are produced from it: yet as Vesta was the guardian of houses or hearths, her image was usually placed in the porch or entry, and daily sacrifices were offered up to her. It is certain nothing could be a stronger or more lively symbol of the supreme being than fire; accordingly we find this emblem in early use throughout the east. The Romans looked upon Vesta as one of the tutelar deities of their empire; and they so far made the safety and fate of Rome depend on the preservation of the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta, that they thought the extinction of it foreboded the most terrible misfortune.

CERES was daughter of Saturn and Ops, or Vesta. Sicily, Attica, Crete, and Egypt, claim the honor of her birth, each country producing the ground of its claims, though general suffrage favors the first. In her youth, being extremely beautiful, Jupiter fell in love with her, and by him she had Perephăta, called afterwards Proserpine. For some time she took up her residence in Corcyra, so called in later times, from a daughter of Asōpus, there buried, but anciently Drepănum, from the sickle used by the goddess in reaping, which had been presented her by Vulcan. Thence she removed to Sicily, where the violence of Pluto deprived her of Proserpine. Disconsolate at her loss, she importuned Jupiter for redress; but obtaining little satisfaction, she lighted torches at the volcano of Mount Ætna, and mounting her car, drawn by winged dragons, set out in search of her beloved daughter. This transaction the Sicilians annually commemorated by running about in the night with lighted torches and loud exclamations.

It is disputed, by several nations, who first informed Ceres where her daughter was, and thence acquired the reward, which was the art of sowing corn. Some ascribe the intelligence to Triptolĕmus, and his brother Eubulĕus; but the generality of writers agree in conferring the honor on the nymph Arethūsa, daughter of Nereus and Doris, and companion of Diana, who, flying from the pursuit of the river Alphēus, saw Proserpine in the infernal regions.

Pl. 6.



It must be owned that Ceres was not undeserving the highest titles bestowed upon her, being considered as the deity who had blessed men with the art of cultivating the earth, having not only taught them to plough and sow, but also to reap, harvest, and thresh out their grain; to make flour and bread, and fix limits or boundaries to ascertain [90]their possessions. The garlands used in her sacrifices were of myrtle, or rape-weed; but flowers were prohibited, Proserpine being carried off as she gathered them. The poppy alone was sacred to her, not only because it grows amongst corn, but because, in her distress, Jupiter gave it her to eat, that she might sleep and forget her troubles. Cicero mentions an ancient temple dedicated to her at Catania, in Sicily in which the offices were performed by matrons and virgins only, no man being admitted.

If to explain the fable of Ceres, we have recourse to Egypt; it will be found, that the goddess of Sicily and Eleusis, or of Rome and Greece, is no other than the Egyptian Isis, brought by the Phœnicians into those countries. The very name of mystery, from mistor, a veil or covering, given to the Eleusinian rites, performed in honor of Ceres, shows them to have been of Egyptian origin. The Isis, or the emblematical figure exhibited at the feast appointed for the commemoration of the state of mankind after the flood, bore the name of Ceres, from Cerets, dissolution or overthrow. She was represented in mourning, and with torches, to denote the grief she felt for the loss of her favorite daughter Persephŏne (which word, translated, signifies corn lost) and the pains she was at to recover her. The poppies with which this Isis was crowned, signified the joy men received at their first abundant crop, the word which signifies a double crop, being also a name for the poppy. Persephŏne or Proserpine found again, was a lively symbol of the recovery of corn, and its cultivation, almost lost in the deluge. Thus, emblems of the most important events which ever happened in the world, simple in themselves, became when transplanted to Greece and Rome, sources of fable and idolatry.

Ceres was usually represented of a tall majestic stature, fair complexion, languishing eyes, and yellow or flaxen hair; her head crowned with a garland of poppies, or ears of corn; holding in her right hand a bunch of the same materials with her garland, and in her left a lighted torch. When in a car or chariot, she is drawn by lions, or winged dragons.

MUSÆ, the Muses. This celebrated sisterhood is said to have been the daughters of Jupiter and Mnēmŏsyne. They were believed to have been born on Mount Piĕrus, [91]and educated by Euphēme. In general they were considered as the tutelar goddesses of sacred festivals and banquets, and the patronesses of polite and useful arts. They supported virtue in distress, and preserved worthy actions from oblivion. Homer calls them superintendants and correctors of manners. In respect to the sciences, these sisters had each their separate province; though poetry seemed more immediately under their united protection.

These divinities, formerly called Mosæ, were so named from a Greek word signifying to inquire; because, by inquiring of them, the sciences might be learnt. Others say they had their name from their resemblance, because there is a similitude, an infinity, and relation, betwixt all the sciences, in which they agree together, and are united with each other; for which reason they are often painted with their hands joined, dancing in a circle round Apollo their leader.

They were represented crowned with flowers, or wreaths of palm, each holding some instrument, or emblem of the science or art over which she presided. They were depicted as in the bloom of youth; and the bird sacred to them was the swan, probably because that bird was consecrated to their sovereign Apollo. There was a fountain of the Muses near Rome, in the meadow where Numa used to meet the goddess Egeria; the care of which and of the worship paid to the Muses, was intrusted to the Vestal virgins.

Their names were as follows: Clio, who presided over history. Her name is derived from κλειος, glory, or from κλειω, to celebrate. She is generally represented under the form of a young woman crowned with laurel, holding in her right hand a trumpet, and in her left a book: others describe her with a lute in one hand, and in the other a plectrum, or quill.

Euterpe is distinguished by tibiæ or pipes whence she was called also Tibīcĭna. Some say logic was invented by her. It was very common with the musicians of old to play on two pipes at once, agreeably to the remarks before Terence's plays, and as we often actually find them represented in the remains of the artists. It was over this species of music that Euterpe presided, as we learn from the first ode of Horace.

Thălīa presided over comedy, and whatever was gay, [92]amiable, and pleasant. She holds a mask in her right hand, and on medals she is represented leaning against a pillar. She was the Muse of comedy, of which they had a great mixture on the Roman stage in the earliest ages of their poetry, and long after. She is distinguished from the other Muses in general by a mask, and from Melpomĕne, the tragic Muse, by her shepherd's crook, not to speak of her look, which is meaner than that of Melpomĕne, or her dress, which is shorter, and consequently less noble, than that of any other of the Muses.

Melpomĕne was so styled from the dignity and excellence of her song. She presided over epic and lyric poetry. To her the invention of all mournful verses, and, particularly, of tragedy, was ascribed; for which reason Horace invokes her when he laments the death of Quintilius Varus. She is usually represented of a sedate countenance, and richly habited, with sceptres and crowns in one hand, and in the other a dagger. She has her mask on her head, which is sometimes placed so far backward that it has been mistaken for a second face. Her mask shows that she presided over the stage; and she is distinguished from Thălīa, or the comic Muse, by having more of dignity in her look, stature, and dress. Melpomĕne was supposed to preside over all melancholy subjects, as well as tragedy; as one would imagine at least from Horace's invoking her in one of his odes, and his desiring her to crown him with laurel in another.

Terpsĭchŏre; that is, the sprightly. Some attribute her name to the pleasure she took in dancing; others represent her as the protectress of music, particularly the flute; and add, that the chorus of the ancient drama was her province, to which also logic has been annexed. She is further said to be distinguished by the flutes which she holds, as well on medals as on other monuments.

Erăto, presided over elegiac or amorous poetry, and dancing, whence she was sometimes called Saltatrix. She is represented as young, and crowned with myrtle and roses, having a lyre in her right hand, and a bow in her left, with a little winged Cupid placed by her, armed with his bow and arrows.

Polyhymnia. Her name, which is of Greek origin, and signifies much singing, seems to have been given her for the number of her songs, rather than her faithfulness of memory. To Polyhymnia belonged that har[93]mony of voice and gesture which gives a perfection to oratory and poetry. She presided over rhetoric, and is represented with a crown of pearls and a white robe, in the act of extending her right hand, as if haranguing, and holding in her left a scroll, on which the word Suadere is written; sometimes, instead of the scroll, she appears holding a caduceus or sceptre.

Urania, or Cœlestis. She is the Muse who extended her care to all divine or celestial subjects, such as the hymns in praise of the gods, the motions of the heavenly bodies, and whatever regarded philosophy or astronomy. She is represented in an azure robe, crowned with stars and supporting a large globe with both hands: on medals this globe stands upon a tripod.

Calliŏpe, who presides over eloquence and heroic poetry; so called from the ecstatic harmony of her voice. The poets, who are supposed to receive their inspirations from the Muses, chiefly invoked Calliŏpe, as she presided over the hymns made in honor of the gods. She is spoken of by Ovid, as the chief of all the Muses. Under the same idea, Horace calls her Regina, and attributes to her the skill of playing on what instrument she pleases.

ASTRÆA, or ASTREA, goddess of justice, was daughter of Astræus, one of the Titans; or according to Ovid, of Jupiter and Themis. She descended from heaven in the golden age, and inspired mankind with principles of justice and equity, but the world growing corrupt, she re-ascended thither, where she became the constellation in the Zodiac called Virgo.

This goddess is represented with a serene countenance, her eyes bound or blinded, having a sword in one hand, and in the other a pair of balances, equally poised, or rods with a bundle of axes, and sitting on a square stone. Among the Egyptians, she is described with her left hand stretched forth and open, but without a head. According to the poets, she was conversant on earth during the golden and silver ages, but in those of brass and iron, was forced by the wickedness of mankind to abandon the earth and retire to heaven. Virgil hints that she first quitted courts and cities, and betook herself to rural retreats before she entirely withdrew.

NEMESIS, daughter of Jupiter and Necessity, or, according to some, of Oceănus and Nox, had the care of [94]revenging the crimes which human justice left unpunished. The word Nemĕsis is of Greek origin, nor was there any Latin word that expressed it, therefore the Latin poets usually styled this goddess Rhamnusia, from a famous statue of Nemĕsis at Rhamnus in Attica. She is likewise called Adrastea, because Adrastus, king of Argos, first raised an altar to her. Nemĕsis is plainly divine vengeance, or the eternal justice of God, which severely punishes the wicked actions of men. She is sometimes represented with wings, to denote the celerity with which she follows men to observe their actions.


Gods of the Woods.

Pan, the god of shepherds and hunters, leader of the nymphs, president of the mountains, patron of a country life, and guardian of flocks and herds, was likewise adored by fishermen, especially those who lived about the promontories washed by the sea. There is scarcely any of the gods to whom the poets have given a greater diversity of parents. The most common opinion is, that he was the son of Mercury and Penelŏpe. As soon as he was born, his father carried him in a goat's skin to heaven, where he charmed all the gods with his pipe, so that they associated him with Mercury in the office of their messenger. After this he was educated on Mount Mænălus, in Arcadia, by Siŏne and the other nymphs, who, attracted by his music, followed him as their conductor.

Pan, though devoted to the pleasures of rural life, distinguished himself by his valor. In the war of the giants he entangled Typhon in his nets. Bacchus, in his Indian expedition, was accompanied by him with a body of Satyrs, who rendered Bacchus great service. When the Gauls invaded Greece, and were just going to pillage Delphi, Pan struck them with such a sudden consternation by night, that they fled without being pursued: hence the expression of a Panic fear, for a sudden terror. The Romans adopted him among their deities, by the names of [95]Lupercus and Lycæus, and built a temple to him at the foot of Mount Palatine.

He is represented with a smiling, ruddy face, and thick beard covering his breast, two horns on his head, a star on his bosom, legs and thighs hairy, and the nose, feet, and tail of a goat. He is clothed in a spotted skin, having a shepherd's crook in one hand, and his pipe of unequal reeds in the other, and is crowned with pine, that tree being sacred to him.

Pan probably signifies the universal nature, proceeding from the divine mind and providence, of which the heaven, earth, sea, and the eternal fire, are so many members. Mythologists are of opinion that his upper parts are like a man, because the superior and celestial part of the world is beautiful, radiant, and glorious: his horns denote the rays of the sun, as they beam upwards, and his long beard signifies the same rays, as they have an influence upon the earth: the ruddiness of his face resembles the splendor of the sky, and the spotted skin which he wears is the image of the starry firmament: his lower parts are rough, hairy, and deformed, to represent the shrubs, wild creatures, trees, and mountains here below: his goat's feet signify the solidity of the earth; and his pipe of seven reeds, that celestial harmony which is made by the seven planets; lastly, his sheep-hook denotes that care and providence by which he governs the universe.

SILENUS. As Bacchus was the god of good humor and fellowship, so none of the deities appeared with a more numerous or splendid retinue, in which Silēnus was the principal person; of whose descent, however, we have no accounts to be relied on. Some say he was born at Malea, a city of Sparta; others at Nysa in Arabia; but the most probable conjecture is, that he was a prince of Caria, noted for his equity and wisdom. But whatever be the fate of these different accounts, Silēnus is said to have been preceptor to Bacchus, and was certainly a very suitable one for such a deity, the old man being heartily attached to wine. He however distinguished himself greatly in the war with the giants, by appearing in the conflict on an ass, whose braying threw them into confusion; for which reason, or because, when Bacchus engaged the Indians, their elephants were put to flight by the braying of the ass, it was raised to the skies, and there made a constellation.

[96]The historian tells us that Silēnus was the first of all the kings that reigned at Nysa; that his origin is not known, it being beyond the memory of mortals: it is likewise said that he was a Phrygian, who lived in the reign of Midas, and that the shepherds having caught him, by putting wine into the fountain he used to drink of, brought him to Midas, who gave him his long ears; a fable intended to intimate that this extraordinary loan signified the faculty of receiving universal intelligence. Virgil makes Silēnus deliver a very serious and excellent discourse concerning the creation of the world, when he was scarcely recovered from a fit of drunkenness, which renders it probable that the sort of drunkenness with which Silēnus is charged, had something in it mysterious, and approaching to inspiration.

He is described as a short, corpulent old man, bald-headed, with a flat nose, prominent forehead and long ears. He is usually exhibited as over-laden with wine, and seated on a saddled ass, upon which he supports himself with a long staff in the one hand, and in the other carries a cantharus or jug, with the handle almost worn out with frequent use.

SYLVANUS. The descent of Sylvānus is extremely obscure. Some think him son of Faunus, some say he was the same with Faunus, whilst others suppose him the same deity with Pan, which opinion Pliny seems to adopt when he says that the Ægipans were the same with the Sylvans. He was unknown to the Greeks; but the Latins received the worship of him from the Pelasgi, upon their migration into Italy, and his worship seems wholly to have arisen out of the ancient sacred use of woods and groves, it being introduced to inculcate a belief that there was no place without the presence of a deity. The Pelasgi consecrated groves, and appointed solemn festivals, in honor of Sylvānus. The hog and milk were the offerings tendered him. A monument consecrated to this deity, by one Laches, gives him the epithet of Littorālis, whence it would seem that he was worshipped upon the sea-coasts.

The priests of Sylvānus constituted one of the principal colleges of Rome, and were in great reputation, a sufficient evidence of the fame of his worship. Many writers confound the Sylvāni, Fauni, Satyri, and Silēni, with Pan.

[97]Some monuments represent him as little of stature, with the face of a man, and the legs and feet of a goat, holding a branch of cypress in his hand, in token of his regard for Cyparissus, who was transformed into that tree. The pineapple, a pruning-knife in his hand, a crown coarsely made, and a dog, are the ordinary attributes of the representations of this rural deity. He appears sometimes naked, sometimes covered with a rustic garb which reaches down to his knee.

Sylvānus, as his name imports, presided over woods, and the fruits that grew in them; agreeable to which, (in some figures) he has a lap full of fruit, his pruning-hook in one hand, and a young cypress tree in the other. Virgil mentions the latter as a distinguishing attribute of this god: the same poet, on another occasion, describes him as crowned with wild flowers, and mentions his presiding over the cornfields as well as the woods.

SATYRI, or SATYRS, a sort of demi-gods, who with the Fauns and Sylvans, presided over groves and forests under the direction of Pan. They made part of the dramatis persōnæ in the ancient Greek tragedies, which gave rise to the species of poetry called satirical.

There is a story that Euphēmus, passing from Caria to the extreme parts of the ocean, discovered many desert islands, and being forced by tempestuous weather to land upon one of them, called Satyrĭda, he found inhabitants covered with yellow hair, having tails not much less than horses. We are likewise told, that in the expedition which Hanno the Carthaginian made to the parts of Lybia lying beyond Hercules' pillars, they came to a great bay called the Western Horn, in which was an island where they could find or see nothing by day-light but woods, and yet in the night they observed many fires, and heard an incredible and astonishing noise of drums and trumpets; whence they concluded that a number of Satyrs abode there.

It is pretended there really were such monsters as the pagans deified under the name of Satyrs; and one of them, it is said, was brought to Sylla, having been surprised in his sleep. Sylla ordered him to be interrogated by people of different countries, to know what language he spoke; but the Satyr only answered with cries, not unlike those of goats and the neighing of horses. This mon[98]ster had a human body, but the thighs, legs, and feet of a goat. To the above stories may be added that of the Satyr who passed the Rubicon in presence of Cæsar and his whole army.

The Satyrs of the ancients were the ministers and attendants of Bacchus. Their form was not the most inviting; for though their countenances were human, they had horns on their foreheads, crooked hands, rough and hairy bodies, feet and legs like a goat's, and tails which resembled those of horses. The shepherds sacrificed to them the firstlings of their flocks, but more especially grapes and apples; and they addressed to them songs in their forests by which they endeavored to conciliate their favor. When Satyrs arrived at an advanced age they were called Silēni.

FAUNI, or FAUNS, a species of demi-gods, inhabiting the forests, called also Sylvāni. They were sons of Faunus and Fauna, or Fatua, king and queen of the Latins, and though accounted demi-gods, were supposed to die after a long life. Arnobius, indeed, has shown that their father, or chief, lived only one hundred and twenty years. The Fauns were Roman deities, unknown to the Greeks. The Roman Faunus was the same with the Greek Pan; and as in the poets we find frequent mention of Fauns, and Pans, or Panes, in the plural number, most probable the Fauns were the same with the Pans, and all descended from one progenitor.

The Romans called them Fauni and Ficarii. The denomination Ficarii was not derived from the Latin ficus a fig, as some have imagined, but from ficus, fici, a sort of fleshy tumor or excrescence growing on the eyelids and other parts of the body, which the Fauns were represented as having. They were called Fauni, a fando, from speaking, because they were wont to speak and converse with men; an instance of which is given in the voice that was heard from the wood, in the battle between the Romans and Etrurians for the restoration of the Tarquins, and which encouraged the Romans to fight. We are told that the Fauni were husbandmen, the Satyrs vine-dressers, and the Sylvāni those who cut down wood in the forests.

They were represented with horns on their heads, pointed ears, and crowned with branches of the pine, which was [99]a tree sacred to them, whilst their lower extremities resembled those of a goat.

Horace makes Faunus the guardian and protector of men of wit, and Virgil, a god of oracles and predictions; but this is, perhaps, founded on the etymology of his name, for φωνειν in Greek, and Fari in Latin, of which it has been supposed a derivative, signify to speak; and it was, perhaps, for the same reason, they called his wife Fauna, that is, Fatidica, prophetess. Faunus is described by Ovid with horns on his head, and crowned with the pine tree.

PRIAPUS is said, by some, to have been the son of Bacchus and Nais, or as others will have it, of Chiŏne; but the generality of authors agree, that he was son of Bacchus and Venus. He was born at Lampsăchus, a city of Mysia, at the mouth of the Hellespont, but in so deformed a state, that his mother, through shame, abandoned him. On his growing up to maturity, the inhabitants of the place banished him their territories, on account of his vicious habits; but being soon after visited with an epidemic disease, the Lampsacans consulted the oracle of Dodōna, and Priāpus was in consequence recalled. Temples were erected to him as the tutelar deity of vineyards and gardens, to defend them from thieves and from birds.

He is usually represented naked and obscene, with a stern countenance, matted hair, crowned with garden herbs, and holding a wooden sword, or scythe, whilst his body terminates in a shapeless trunk. His figures are generally erected in gardens and orchards to serve as scarecrows. Priāpus held a pruning-hook in his hands, when he had hands, for he was sometimes nothing more than a mere log of wood, as Martial somewhat humorously calls him. Indeed the Roman poets in general seem to have looked on him as a ridiculous god, and are all ready enough either to despise or abuse him.

Trimalchio, in his ridiculous feasts described by Petronius, had a figure of this god to be held up during his dessert: it was made of paste, and, as Horace observes on another occasion, that he owed all his divinity to the carpenter, Petronius seems to hint that he was wholly obliged for it to the pastry cook in this. Some mythologists make the birth of Priāpus allude to that radical moisture which supports all vegetable productions, and which is produced [100]by Bacchus and Venus, that is, the solar heat, and the fluid whence Venus is said to have sprung. Some affirm that he was the same with the Baal of the Phœnicians, mentioned in scripture.

ARISTÆUS, son of Apollo, by the nymph Cyrene, daughter of Hypseus, king of the Lapĭthæ, was born in Lybia, and in that part of it where the city Cyrene was built. He received his education from the nymphs, who taught him to extract oil from olives, and to make honey, cheese, and butter; all which arts he communicated to mankind. Going to Thebes, he there married Autonŏe, daughter of Cadmus, and, by her, was father to Actæon, who was torn in pieces by his own dogs. At length he passed into Thrace, where Bacchus initiated him into the mysteries of the Orgia, and taught him many things conducive to the happiness of life. Having dwelt some time near Mount Hemus, he disappeared, and not only the barbarous people of that country, but the Greeks likewise decreed him divine honors.

It is remarked by Bayle, that Aristæus found out the solstitial rising of Sirius, or the dog-star; and he adds, it is certain that this star had a particular relation to Aristæus; for this reason, when the heats of the dog-star laid waste the Cyclădes, and occasioned there a pestilence, Aristæus was entreated to put a stop to it. He went directly into the isle of Cea, and built an altar to Jupiter, offered sacrifices to that deity, as well to the malignant star, and established an anniversary for it. These produced a very good effect, for it was from thence that the Etesian winds had their origin, which continue forty days, and temper the heat of the summer. On his death, for the services he had rendered mankind, he was placed among the stars, and is the Aquarius of the Zodiac.

TERMINUS was a very ancient deity among the Romans, whose worship was first instituted by Numa Pompilius, he having erected in his honor on the Tarpeian hill a temple which was open at the top. This deity was thought to preside over the stones or land-marks, called Termĭni, which were so highly venerated, that it was sacrilege to move them, and the criminal becoming devoted to the gods, it was lawful for any man to kill him. The Roman Termĭni were square stones or posts, much resembling our mile-stones, erected to show that no force or violence should be used in settling mutual boun[101]daries; they were sometimes crowned with a human head, but had seldom any inscriptions; one, however, is mentioned to this effect, “Whosoever shall take away this, or shall order it to be taken away, may he die the last of his family.”

VERTUMNUS, the Proteus of the Roman ritual, was the god of tradesmen, and, from the power he had of assuming any shape, was believed to preside over the thoughts of mankind. His courtship of Pomōna makes one of the most elegant and entertaining stories in Ovid. The Romans esteemed him the god of tradesmen, from the turns and changes which traffic effects. There was no god had a greater variety of representations than Vertumnus. He is painted with a garland of flowers on his head, a pruning hook in one hand, and ripe fruits in the other. Pomōna has a pruning hook in her right hand, and a branch in her left. Pliny introduces this goddess personally, even in his prose, to make her speak in praise of the fruits committed to her care. We learn from Ovid that this goddess was of that class which they anciently called Hamadryads.

Both these deities were unknown to the Greeks, and only honored by the Romans. Some imagine Vertumnus an emblem of the year, which, though it assume different dresses according to the different seasons, is at no time so luxuriant as in autumn, when the harvest is crowned, and the fruits appear in their full perfection and lustre; but historians say that Vertumnus was an ancient king of the Tuscans, who first taught his people the method of planting orchards, gardens, and vineyards, and the manner of cultivating, pruning, and grafting fruit-trees; whence he is reported to have married Pomōna. Some think he was called Vertumnus, from turning the lake Curtus into the Tiber.


Goddesses of the Woods.

Diana, daughter of Jupiter and Latōna, and sister of Apollo, was born in the island of Delos. She had a [102]threefold divinity, being styled Diāna on earth, Luna, or the moon, in heaven, and Hecăte, or Proserpine, in hell. The poets say she had three heads, one of a horse, another of a woman, and the third of a dog. Hesiod makes Diāna, Luna, and Hecăte, three distinguished goddesses.

Of all the various characters of this goddess, there is no one more known than that of her presiding over woods, and delighting in hunting. The Diāna Venatrix, or goddess of the chase, is frequently represented as running on, with her vest flying back with the wind, notwithstanding its being shortened, and girt about her for expedition. She is tall of stature, and her face, though so very handsome, is something manly. Her feet are sometimes bare, and sometimes adorned with a sort of buskin, which was worn by the huntresses of old. She often has a quiver on her shoulder, and sometimes holds a javelin, but more usually her bow, in her right hand. It is thus she makes her appearance in several of her statues, and it is thus the Roman poets describe her, particularly in the epithets they give this goddess, in the use of which they are so happy that they often bring the idea of whole figures of her into your mind by a single word. The statues of this Diāna were very frequent in woods: she was represented there in all the different ways they could think of; sometimes as hunting, sometimes as bathing, and sometimes as resting herself after her fatigue. The height of Diāna's stature is frequently marked out in the poets, and that, generally, by comparing her with her nymphs.

Another great character of Diāna is that under which she is represented as the intelligence which presides over the planet of the moon; in which she is depicted in her car as directing that planet. Her figure under this character is frequently enough to be met with on gems and medals, which generally exhibit her with a lunar crown, or crescent on her forehead, and sometimes as drawn by stags, sometimes by does, but, more commonly than either, by horses. The poets speak of her chariot and her horses; they agree with the artists in giving her but two, and show, that the painters of old generally drew them of a perfect white color.

A third remarkable way of representing Diāna was with three bodies; this is very common among the an[103]cient figures of the goddess, and it is hence the poets call her the triple, the three-headed, and the three-bodied Diāna. Her distinguishing name under this triple appearance is Hecăte, or Trivia; a goddess frequently invoked in enchantments, and fit for such black operations; for this is the infernal Diana, and as such is represented with the characteristics of a fury, rather than as one of the twelve great celestial deities: all her hands hold instruments of terror, and generally grasp either cords, or swords, or serpents, or fire-brands.

There are various conjectures concerning the name Hecăte, which is supposed to come from a Greek word signifying an hundred, either because an hundred victims at a time used to be offered to her, or else because by her edicts the ghosts of those who die without burial, wander an hundred years upon the banks of the Styx. Mythologists say that Hecăte is the order and force of the Fates, who obtained from the divine power that influence which they have over human bodies; that the operation of the Fates are hidden, but descend by the means and interposition of the stars, wherefore it is necessary that all inferior things submit to the cares, calamities, and death which the Fates bring upon them, without any possibility of resisting the divine will.

Hesiod relates of Hecate, to show the extent of her power, that Jupiter had heaped gifts and honors upon her far above all the other deities; that she was empress of the earth and sea, and all things which are comprehended in the compass of the heavens; that she was a goddess easy to be entreated, kind, and always ready to do good, bountiful of gold and riches, which are wholly in her power; that whatever springs from seed, whether in heaven, or on earth, is subject to her, and that she governs the fates of all things.

PALES was a rural goddess of the Romans. She was properly the divinity of shepherds, and the tutelar deity and protectress of their flocks. Her votaries had usually wooden images of her. A feast called Palilia or Parilia was celebrated on the twenty-first of April, or, according to some, in May, in the open fields. The offerings were milk and cakes of millet, in order to engage her to defend their flocks from wild beasts and infectious diseases. As part of the ceremony, they burned heaps of straw, and leaped over them. Some make Pales the same with Ves[104]ta or Cybĕle. This goddess is represented as an old woman.

FLORA, the goddess of flowers, was a Roman deity. The ancients made her the wife of Zephyrus, to intimate that Flora, or the natural heat of the plant, must concur with the influence of the warmest wind for the production of flowers. Varro reckons Flora among the ancient deities of the Sabines, which were received into Rome on the union of the Sabines with the Romans. Ovid says, that her Greek name was Chloris, and that the Latins changed it into Flora.

FERONIA was the goddess of woods and orchards. She is called Feronia from the verb fero, to bring forth, because she produced and propagated trees, or from Ferōnĭci, a town situated near the foot of Mount Soracte, in Italy, where was a wood, and a temple dedicated to her; which town and wood are mentioned by Virgil, in his catalogue of the forces of Turnus. The Lacedemonians first introduced her worship into Italy under Evander; for these people, being offended at the rigor of the laws of Lycurgus, resolved to seek out some new plantation, and arriving, after a long and dangerous voyage, in Italy, they, to show their gratitude for their preservation, built a temple to Feronia, so called from their bearing patiently all the fatigues and dangers they had encountered in their voyage. This edifice casually taking fire, the people ran to remove and preserve the image of the goddess, when on a sudden the fire became extinguished, and the grove assumed a native and flourishing verdure.

Horace mentions the homage that was paid to this deity, by washing the face and hands, according to custom, in the sacred fountain which flowed near her temple. Slaves received the cap of liberty at her shrine, on which account they regarded her as their patroness. How Feronia was descended, where born, or how educated, is not transmitted to us; but she is said to have been wife to Jupiter Anxur, so called, because he was worshipped in that place.

NYMPHÆ, the NYMPHS, were certain inferior goddesses, inhabiting the mountains, woods, valleys, rivers, seas, &c. said to be daughters of Oceanus and Tethys. According to ancient mythology, the whole universe was full of these nymphs, who are distinguished into several ranks and classes, though the general division of them is into [105]celestial and terrestrial. I. The Celestial Nymphs, called Uraniæ, were supposed to govern the heavenly bodies or spheres. II. The Terrestrial Nymphs, called Epigeiæ, presided over the several parts of the inferior world; these were again subdivided into those of the water, and those of the earth.

The Nymphs of the water were ranged under several classes: 1. The Oceanĭdes, or Nymphs of the ocean. 2. The Nereids, daughters of Nereus and Doris. 3. The Naiads, Nymphs of the fountains. 4. The Ephydriădes, also Nymphs of the fountains; and 5. The Limniădes, Nymphs of the lakes. The Nymphs of the earth were likewise divided into different classes; as, 1. The Oreădes, or Nymphs of the mountains. 2. The Napææ, Nymphs of the meadows; and 3. The Dryads and Hamadryads, Nymphs of the woods and forests. Besides these, there were Nymphs who took their names from particular countries, rivers, &c. as the Dardanĭdes, Tiberĭdes, Ismenĭdes, &c.

Pausanias reports it as the opinion of the ancient poets that the Nymphs were not altogether free from death, or immortal, but that their years wore in a manner innumerable; that prophecies were inspired by the Nymphs, as well as the other deities; and that they had foretold the destruction of several cities: they were likewise esteemed as the authors of divination.

Meursius is of opinion, that the Greeks borrowed their notion of these divinities from the Phœnicians, for nympha, in their language, signifying soul, the Greeks imagined that the souls of the ancient inhabitants of Greece had become Nymphs; particularly that the souls of those who had inhabited the woods were called Dryads; those who inhabited the mountains, Oreădes; those who dwelt on the sea-coasts, Nereids; and, lastly, those who had their place of abode near rivers or fountains, Naiads. Though goats were sometimes sacrificed to the Nymphs, yet their stated offerings were milk, oil, honey and wine. They were represented as young and beautiful virgins, and dressed in conformity to the character ascribed to them.


Pl. 7.



Pope's Homer's Iliad. B. 13. L. 41



Gods of the Sea.

NEPTUNE was the son of Saturn, and Rhea or Ops, and brother of Jupiter. When arrived at maturity, he assisted his brother Jupiter in his expeditions, for which that god, on attaining to supreme power, assigned him the sea and the islands for his empire. Whatever attachment Neptune might have had to his brother at one period, he was at another expelled heaven for entering into a conspiracy against him, in conjunction with several other deities; whence he fled, with Apollo, to Laomedon, king of Troy, where Neptune having assisted in raising the walls of the city, and being dismissed unrewarded, in revenge, sent a sea-monster to lay waste the country.

On another occasion, this deity had a contest with Vulcan and Minerva, in regard to their skill. The goddess, as a proof of her's, made a horse, Vulcan a man, and Neptune a bull, whence that animal was used in the sacrifices to him, though it is probable that, as the victim was to be black, the design was to point out the raging quality and fury of the sea, over which he presided. The Greeks make Neptune to have been the creator of the horse, which he produced from out of the earth with a blow of his trident, when disputing with Minerva who should give the name to Cecropia, which was afterwards called Athens, from the name in Greek of Minerva, who made an olive tree spring up suddenly, and thus obtained the victory.

In this fable, however, it is evident that the horse could signify nothing but a ship; for the two things in which that region excelled being ships and olive-trees, it was thought politic by this means to bring the citizens over from too great a fondness for sea affairs, to the cultivation of their country, by showing that Pallas was preferable to Neptune, or, in other words, husbandry to sailing, which, without some further meaning, the production of a horse could never have done. It notwithstanding appears that Neptune had brought the management of the horse, as likewise the art of building ships, to very great perfection; insomuch that Pamphus, who was the most [107]ancient writer of hymns to the gods, calls him the benefactor of mankind, in bestowing upon them horses and ships which had stems and decks that resembled towers.

If Neptune created the horse, he was likewise the inventor of chariot-races; hence Mithridātes, king of Pontus, threw chariots, drawn by four horses, into the sea, in honor of Neptune: and the Romans instituted horse-races in the circus during his festival, at which time all horses ceased from working, and the mules were adorned with wreaths of flowers.

Neptune, represented as a god of the sea, makes a considerable figure: he is described with black or dark hair, his garment of an azure or sea-green color, seated in a large shell drawn by whales, or sea-horses, with his trident in his hand, attended by the sea-gods Palæmon, Glaucus, and Phorcys; the sea-goddesses Thetis, Melita, and Panopēa, and a long train of Tritons and sea-nymphs.

The inferior artists represent him sometimes with an angry and disturbed air; and we may observe the same difference in this particular between the great and inferior poets as there is between the bad and the good artists. Thus Ovid describes Neptune with a sullen look, whereas Virgil expressly tells us that he has a mild face, even where he is representing him in a passion. Even at the time that he is provoked, and might be expected to have appeared disturbed, and in a passion, there is serenity and majesty in his face.

On some medals he treads on the beak of a ship, to show that he presided over the seas, or more particularly over the Mediterranean sea, which was the great, and almost the only scene for navigation among the old Greeks and Romans. He is standing, as he generally was represented; he most commonly, too, has his trident in his right hand: this was his peculiar sceptre, and seems to have been used by him chiefly to rouse up the waters; for we find sometimes that he lays it aside when he is to appease them, but he resumes it when there is occasion for violence. Virgil makes him shake Troy from its foundation with it; and in Ovid it is with the stroke of this that the waters of the earth are let loose for the general deluge. The poets have generally delighted in describing this god as passing over the calm surface of the waters, in his chariot drawn by sea-horses. The fine [108]original description of this is in Homer, from whom Virgil and Statius have copied it.

In searching for the mythological sense of the fable, we must again have recourse to Egypt, that kingdom which, above all others, has furnished the most ample harvest for the reaper of mysteries. The Egyptians, to denote navigation, and the return of the Phœnician fleet, which annually visited their coast, used the figure of an Osīris borne on a winged horse, and holding a three-forked spear, or harpoon. To this image they gave the name of Poseidon, or Neptune, which, as the Greeks and Romans afterwards adopted, sufficiently proves this deity had his birth here. Thus the maritime Osīris of the Egyptians became a new deity with those who knew not the meaning of the symbol.

TRITON. It is not agreed who were the parents of Triton; but he was a sea-deity, the herald and trumpeter of Oceănus and Neptune. He sometimes delighted in mischief, for he carried off the cattle from the Tanagrian fields, and destroyed the smaller coasting vessels; so that to appease his resentment, the Tanagrians offered him libations of new wine. Pleased with its flavor and taste, he drank so freely that he fell asleep, and tumbling from an eminence, one of the natives cut of his head. He left a daughter called Tristia.

The poets ordinarily attribute to Triton, the office of calming the sea, and stilling of tempests: thus in the Metamorphoses we read, that Neptune desiring to recall the waters of the deluge, commanded Triton to sound his trumpet, at the noise of which they retired to their respective channels, and left the earth again habitable, having swept off almost the whole human race.

This god is exhibited in the human form from the waist upwards, with blue eyes, a large mouth, and hair matted like wild parsley; his shoulders covered with a purple skin, variegated with small scales, his feet resembling the fore feet of a horse, and his lower parts terminating in a double forked tail: sometimes he is seen in a car, with horses of a bright cerulean. His trumpet is a large conch, or sea-shell. There were several Tritons, but one chief over all, the distinguished messenger of Neptune, as Mercury was of Jupiter, and Iris of Juno.

OCEANUS, oldest son of Cœlus and Terra, or Vesta. He married Tethys, and besides her had many other [109]wives. He had several sisters, all Nymphs, each of whom possessed an hundred woods and as many rivers. Oceănus was esteemed by the ancients as the father both of gods and men, who were said to have taken their beginning from him, on account of the ocean's encompassing the earth with its waves, and because he was the principal of that radical moisture diffused through universal matter, without which, according to Thales, nothing could either be produced or subsist.

Homer makes Juno visit Oceănus at the remotest limits of the earth, and acknowledge him and Tethys as the parents of the gods, adding, that she herself had been brought up under their tuition. Many of his children are mentioned in poetical story, whose names it would be endless to enumerate, and, indeed, they are only the appellations of the principal rivers of the world. Oceănus was described with a bull's head, to represent the rage and bellowing of the ocean when agitated by storms. Oceănus and Tethys are ranked in the highest classes of sea-deities, and as governors in chief over the whole world of waters.

NEREUS, a sea-deity, was son of Oceănus, by Tethys. Apollodōrus gives him Terra for his mother. His education and authority were in the waters, and his residence, more particularly, the Ægean seas. He had the faculty of assuming what form he pleased. He was regarded as a prophet; and foretold to Paris the war which the rape of Helen would bring upon his country. When Hercules was ordered to fetch the golden apples of the Hesperĭdes, he went to the Nymphs inhabiting the grottoes of Eridănus, to know where he might find them; the Nymphs sent him to Nereus, who, to elude the inquiry, perpetually varied his form, till Hercules having seized him, resolved to hold him till he resumed his original shape, on which he yielded the desired information. Nereus had, by his sister Doris, fifty daughters called Nereids. Hesiod highly celebrates him as a mild and peaceful old man, a lover of justice and moderation. Nereus and Doris, with their descendants the Nereids, or Oceaniads, so called from Oceănus, are ranked in the third class of water deities.

PALÆMON, or MELICERTES, was son of Athămas, king of Thebes and Ino. The latter fearing the rage of her husband, who in his madness had killed his son Learchus, took Melicertes in her arms, and leaped with him from the rock Molyris into the sea. Neptune received [110]them with open arms, and gave them a place among the marine gods, only changing their names, Ino being called Leucothea, or Leucothŏe, and Melicertes, Palæmon. Ino, under the name Leucothea, is supposed, by some, to be the same with Aurora: the Romans gave her the name of Matuta, she being reputed the goddess that ushers in the morning; and Palæmon, they called Portumnus, or Portunnus, and painted him with a key in his hand, to denote that he was the guardian of harbors. Adorations were paid to him chiefly at Tenĕdos, and the sacrifice offered to him was an infant.

Pausanias says that the body of Melicertes was thrown on the Isthmus of Corinth where Sisyphus, his uncle, who reigned in that city, instituted the Isthmian games in his honor. For this fable we are indebted to the fertile invention of the Greeks, Melicertes being no other than the Melcarthus or the Hercules of Tyre, who, from having been drowned in the sea, was called a god of it, and from his many voyages, the guardian of harbors.

GLAUCUS, a sea-deity. His story, which is very fanciful, shows the extravagance of poetical fiction amongst the ancients. Before his deification, Glaucus is said to have been a fisherman of Anthēdon, who having one day remarked that the fishes which he laid on a particular herb revived and threw themselves into the sea, resolved himself to taste it, and immediately followed their example: the consequence was, that he became a Triton, and ever after was reputed a marine deity, attending with the rest on the car of Neptune.

The descent of this deity is exceeding dubious. He is said to have carried off Ariadne from the island Dia, for which Bacchus bound him fast with vine-twigs. The ship Argo is said to have been constructed by him, and he is not only mentioned as commanding her, when Jason fought with the Tyrrhenians, but as being the only one of her crew that came off without a wound. He dwelt some time at Delos, and, besides prophesying with the Nereids, is affirmed to have instructed Apollo in the art.

SCYLLA was the daughter of Phorcus, or Phorcys, by Ceto. Glaucus, being passionately fond of Scylla, after vainly endeavoring to gain her affections, applied to Circe, and besought her, by her art, to induce her to return his affection. On this, Circe disclosed to him her passion, but Glaucus remaining inexorable, the enchantress vowed revenge, and by her magic charms so infected the fountain in which Scylla bathed, that on entering it, her lower parts [111]were turned into dogs; at which the nymph, terrified at herself, plunged into the sea, and there was changed to a rock, notorious for the shipwrecks it occasioned.

Authors are disagreed as to Scylla's form; some say she retained her beauty from the neck downwards, but had six dog's heads: others maintain, that her upper parts continued entire, but that she had below the body of a wolf, and the tail of a serpent. The rock named Scylla, lies between Italy and Sicily, and the noise of the waves beating on it is supposed to have occasioned the fable of the barking of dogs, and howling of wolves, ascribed to the imaginary monster.

CHARYBDIS was a rapacious woman, a female robber, who, it is said, stole the oxen of Hercules, for which she was thunder-struck by Jupiter, and turned into a whirlpool, dangerous to sailors. This whirlpool was situated opposite the rock Scylla, at the entrance of the Faro from Messina, and occasioned the proverb of running into one danger to avoid another. Some affirm that Hercules killed her himself; others, that Scylla committed this robbery, and was killed for it by Hercules.


Tartarus and its Deities.

TARTARUS or HELL, the region of punishment after death. The whole imaginary world, which we call Hell, though according to the ancients it was the receptacle of all departed persons, of the good as well as the bad, is divided by Virgil into five parts: the first may be called the previous region; the second is the region of waters, or the river which they were all to pass; the third is what we may call the gloomy region, and what the ancients called Erĕbus; the fourth is Tartărus, or the region of torments; and the fifth the region of joy and bliss, or what we still call Elysium.

The first part in it Virgil has stocked with two sorts of beings; first, with those which make the real misery of mankind upon earth, such as war, discord, labor, grief, cares, distempers, and old age; and, secondly, with fancied terrors, and all the most frightful creatures of our own imagination, such as Gorgons, Harpies, Chimæras and the like.

[112]The next is the water which all the departed were supposed to pass, to enter into the other world; this was called Styx, or the hateful passage: the imaginary personages of this division are the souls of the departed, who are either passing over, or suing for a passage, and the master of a vessel who carries them over, one freight after another, according to his will and pleasure.

The third division begins immediately with the bank on the other side the river, and was supposed to extend a great way in: it is subdivided again into several particular districts; the first seems to be the receptacle for infants. The next for all such as have been put to death without a cause; next is the place for those who have put a period to their own lives, a melancholy region, and situated amidst the marshes made by the overflowings of the Styx, or hateful river, or passage into the other world: after this are the fields of mourning, full of dark woods and groves, and inhabited by those who died of love: last of all spreads an open champaign country, allotted for the souls of departed warriors; the name of this whole division is Erĕbus: its several districts seem to be disposed all in a line, one after the other, but after this the great line or road divides into two, of which the right hand road leads to Elysium, or the place of the blessed, and the left hand road to Tartărus, or the place of the tormented.

The fourth general division of the subterraneous world is this Tartărus, or the place of torments: there was a city in it, and a prince to preside over it: within this city was a vast deep pit, in which the tortures were supposed to be performed: in this horrid part Virgil places two sorts of souls; first, of such as have shown their impiety and rebellion toward the gods; and secondly, of such as have been vile and mischievous among men: those, as he himself says of the latter more particularly, who hated their brethren, used their parents ill, or cheated their dependants, who made no use of their riches, who committed incest, or disturbed the marriage union of others, those who were rebellious subjects, or knavish servants, who were despisers of justice, or betrayers of their country, and who made and unmade laws not for the good of the public, but only to get money for themselves; all these, and the despisers of the gods, Virgil places in this most horrid division of his subterraneous world, and in the vast abyss, which was the most terrible part even of that division.

[113]The fifth division is that of Elysium, or the place of the blessed; here Virgil places those who died for their country, those of pure lives, truly inspired poets, the inventors of arts, and all who have done good to mankind: he does not speak of any particular districts for these, but supposes that they have the liberty of going where they please in that delightful region, and conversing with whom they please; he only mentions one vale, towards the end of it, as appropriated to any particular use; this is the vale of Lethe or forgetfulness, where many of the ancient philosophers, and the Platonists in particular, supposed the souls which had passed through some periods of their trial, were immersed in the river which gave its name to it, in order to be put into new bodies, and to fill up the whole course of their probation, in an upper world.

In each of these three divisions, on the other side of the river Styx, which perhaps were comprehended under the name of Ades, as all the five might be under that of Orcus, was a prince or judge: Minos for the regions of Erĕbus; Rhadamanthus for Tartărus; and Æăcus for Elysium, Pluto and Proserpine had their palace at the entrance of the road to the Elysian fields, and presided as sovereigns over the whole subterraneous world.

PLUTO, son of Saturn and Ops, assisted Jupiter in his wars, and after victory had crowned their exertions in placing his brother on the throne, be obtained a share of his father's dominions, which, as some authors say, was the eastern continent, and lower regions of Asia; but, according to the common opinion, Pluto's division lay in the west. He fixed his residence in Spain, and lived in Iberia, near the Pyrrenæan mountains: Spain being a fertile country, and abounding in minerals and mines, Pluto was esteemed the god of wealth; for it must be here observed, that the poets confound Pluto, god of hell, with Plutus, god of riches, though they were distinct deities, and always so considered by the ancients.

Pluto's regions being supposed to lie under ground; and as he was the first who taught men to bury their dead, it was thence inferred that he was king of the infernal regions, whence sprung a belief, that as all souls descended to him, so when they were in his possession, he bound them with inevitable chains, and delivered them to be tried by judges, after which he dispensed rewards and punishments according to their several deserts. Pluto was therefore [114]called the infernal Jupiter, and oblations were made to him by the living, for the souls of their friends departed.

Although Pluto was brother of Jupiter, yet none of the goddesses would condescend to marry him, owing to the deformity of his person, joined to the darkness of his mansions. Enraged at this reluctance in the goddesses, and mortified at his want of issue, Pluto ascended his chariot, and drove to Sicily, where chancing to discover Proserpine with her companions gathering flowers in a valley of Enna, near mount Ætna, the grisly god, struck with her charms, instantly seized her, and forcing her into his chariot, went rapidly off to the river Chemarus, through which he opened himself a passage to the realms of night. Orpheus says, this descent was made through the Cecropian cave in Attica, not far from Eleusis.

His whole domains are washed with vast and rapid rivers, whose peculiar qualities strike horror into mortals. Cocytus falls with an impetuous roaring; Phlegĕthon rages with a torrent of flames; the Acharusian fen is dreadful for its stench and filth: nor does Charon, the ferryman, who wafts souls over, occasion any less horror; Cerbĕrus, the triple-headed dog, stands ready with open mouths to receive them; and the Furies shake at them their serpentine locks.

Thus far the common fable; but the following seems the true foundation of the story which has been so much disguised; Pluto having retired into Spain, applied himself to the working of the mines of silver and gold, which in that country, were very common, especially on the side of Cadiz, where he fixed his abode. Bœtica, his residence, was that province now called Andalusia, and the river Bœtis, now Guadalquiver, gave that name to it. This river formed of old, at its mouth, a small island, called Tartessus, which was the Tartessus of the ancients, and whence Tărtarus was formed.

It may be remarked, that though Spain be not now fertile in mines, yet the ancients speak of it as a country where they abounded. Posidonius says, that its mountains and hills were almost all mountains of gold; Arienus, that near Tartessus was a mountain of silver; and Aristotle, that the first Phœnicians who landed there, found such quantities of gold and of silver, that they made anchors for their ships of those precious metals. This, doubtless, is what determined Pluto, who was ingenius in such operations, to [115]fix himself near to Tartessus; and this making him pass also for a wealthy prince, procured for him the name of Pluto, instead of that of Agelestus.

The situation of Pluto's kingdom, which was low in respect to Greece, occasioned him to be looked on as the god of hell; and as he continually employed laborers for his mines, who chiefly resided in the bowels of the earth, and there commonly died, Pluto was reputed the king of the dead. The ocean, likewise, upon whose coasts he reigned, was supposed to be covered with darkness. These circumstances united, appear to have been the foundation of the fables afterwards invented concerning Pluto and his realms of night. It is probable, for example, that the famous Tartărus, the place so noted in the empire of this god, comes from Tartessus, near Cadiz: the river Lethe not unlikely from the Guada-Lethe, which flows over against that city; and the lake Avernus, or the Acheronian fen, from the word Aharona, importing, at the extremities, a name given to that lake, which is near the ocean.

Pluto was extremely revered both by the Greeks and Romans. He had a magnificent temple at Pylos. Near the river Corellus, in Bœotia, he had also an altar, for some mystical reason, in common with Pallas. His chief festival was in February, and called Charistia, because their oblations were made for the dead. Black bulls were the victims offered up, and the ceremonies were performed in the night, it not being lawful to sacrifice to him in the day time, on account of his aversion to the light. The cypress tree was sacred to Pluto, boughs of which were carried at funerals.

He is usually represented in an ebony chariot, drawn by his four black horses, Orphnæus, Æthon, Nycteus, and Alastor. As god of the dead, keys were the ensigns of his authority, because there is no possibility of returning when the gates of his palace are locked. Sometimes he holds a sceptre, to denote his power; at other times a wand, with which he directs the movements of his subject ghosts. Homer speaks of his hemlet as having the quality of rendering the wearer invisible; and tells us that Minerva borrowed it when she fought against the Trojans, that she might not be discovered by Mars. Perseus also used this hemlet when he cut off Medusa's head.

Mythologists pretend that Pluto is the earth, the natural powers and faculties of which are under his direction, so [116]that he is monarch not only of all riches which come from thence, and are at length swallowed up by it, but likewise of the dead; for as all living things spring from the earth, so are they resolved into the principles whence they arose. Proserpine is by them reputed to be the seed or grain of fruits or corn, which must be taken into the earth, and hid there before it can be nourished by it.

PLUTUS, the god of riches. Though Plutus be not an infernal god, yet as his name and office were similar to Pluto's, we shall here distinguish them, although both were gods of riches. Pluto was born of Saturn and Ops, or Rhea, and was brother of Jupiter and Neptune; but Plutus, the god of whom we here speak, was son of Jason or Jasion by Ceres. He is represented blind and lame, injudicious and fearful. Being lame, he confers estates but slowly: for want of judgment, his favors are commonly bestowed on the unworthy; and as he is timorous, so he obliges rich men to watch their treasures with fear. Plutus is painted with wings, to signify the swiftness of his retreat, when he takes his departure. Little more of him remains in story, than that he had a daughter named Euribœa; unless the comedy of Aristophănes, called by his name, be taken into the account.

Aristophănes says that this deity, having at first a very clear sight, bestowed his favors only on the just and good: but that after Jupiter deprived him of vision, riches fell indifferently to the good and the bad. A design being formed for the recovery of his sight, Penia or poverty opposed it, making it appear that poverty is the mistress of arts, sciences, and virtues, which would be in danger of perishing if all men were rich; but no credit being given to her remonstrance, Plutus recovered his sight in the temple of Æsculapius, whence the temples and altars of other gods, and those of Jupiter himself, were abandoned, the whole world sacrificing to Plutus alone.

PROSERPINE, the daughter of Jupiter and Ceres, was educated with Minerva and Diāna. By reason of this familiar intercourse, each chose a place in the island of Sicily for her particular residence. Minerva look the parts near Himĕra; Diāna those about Syracuse; and Proserpine, in common with her sister goddesses, enjoyed the pleasant fields of Enna. Near at hand are groves and gardens, surrounded with morasses and a deep cave, with a passage under ground, opening towards the north. In this happy re[117]tirement was Proserpine situated, when Pluto, passing in his chariot through the cave, discovered her whilst busy in gathering flowers, with her attendants, the daughters of Oceănus. Proserpine he seized, and having placed her in his chariot, carried her to Syracuse, where the earth opening, they both descended to the infernal regions.

She had not been long there when the fame of her charms induced Theseus and Pirithŏus to combine for the purpose of carrying her thence; but in this they failed. When Ceres, who was disconsolate for the loss of her daughter, discovered where she was, Jupiter upon her repeated solicitations, promised that Proserpine should be restored, provided she had not yet tasted any thing in hell. Ceres joyfully descended, and Proserpine, full of triumph, prepared for her return, when lo! Ascalăphus, son of Achēron and Gorgyra, discovered that he saw Proserpine, as she walked in the garden of Pluto, eat some grains of a pomegranate, upon which her departure was stopped. At last, by the repeated importunity of her mother to Jupiter, she extorted as a favor, in mitigation of her grief, that Proserpine should live half the year in heaven, and the other half in hell.

Proserpine is represented under the form of a beautiful woman, enthroned, having something stern and melancholy in her aspect. Statius has found out a melancholy employment for her, which is, to keep a sort of register of the dead, and to mark down all that should be added to that number. The same poet mentions another of her offices of a more agreeable nature: he says, when any woman dies who had been a remarkably good wife in this world, Proserpine prepares the spirits of the best women in the other to make a procession to welcome her into Elysium with joy, and to strew all the way with flowers where she is to pass.

Some represent Proserpine, Luna, Hecăte, and Diāna, as one; the same goddess being called Luna in heaven, Diāna on earth, and Hecăte in hell: and they explain the fable of the moon, which is hidden from us in the hemisphere of the countries beneath, just so long as it shines in our own. As Proserpine was to stay six months with her mother, and six with her husband, she was the emblem of the seed corn, which lies in the earth during the winter, but in spring sprouts forth, and in summer bears fruit.

The mythological sense of the fable is this: the name of Proserpine, or Persephŏne, among the Egyptians, was used [118]to denote the change produced in the earth by the deluge, which destroyed its former fertility, and rendered tillage and agriculture necessary to mankind.

PARCÆ, or FATES, were goddesses supposed to preside over the accidents and events, and to determine the date or period of human life. They were reckoned by the ancients to be three in number, because all things have a beginning, progress, and end. They were the daughters of Jupiter and Themis, and sisters to the Horæ, or Hours.

Their names, amongst the Greeks, were Atrŏpos, Clotho, and Lachĕsis, and among the Latins, Nona, Decĭma, Morta. They are called Parcæ, because, as Varro thinks, they distributed to mankind good and bad things at their birth; or, as the common and received opinion is, because they spare nobody. They were always of the same mind, so that though dissensions sometimes arose among the other gods, no difference was ever known to subsist among these three sisters, whose decrees were immutable. To them was intrusted the spinning and management of the thread of life; Clotho held the distaff, Lachĕsis turned the wheel, and Atrŏpos cut the thread.

Plutarch tells us they represented the three parts of the world, viz. the firmament of the fixed stars, the firmament of the planets, and the space of air between the moon and the earth; Plato says they represented time past, present, and to come. There were no divinities in the pagan world who had a more absolute power than the Fates. They were looked upon as the dispensers of the eternal decrees of Jupiter, and were all of them sometimes supposed to spin the party-colored thread of each man's life. Thus are they represented on a medal, each with a distaff in her hand. The fullest and best description of them in any of the poets, is in Catullus: he represents them as all spinning, and at the same time singing, and foretelling the birth and fortunes of Achilles, at Peleus' wedding.

An ingenious writer, in giving the true mythology of these characters, apprehends them to have been, originally, nothing more than the mystical figure or symbols which represented the months of January, February, and March, among the Egyptians, who depicted them in female dresses, with the instruments of spinning and weaving, which was the great business carried on in that season. These images they called Parc, which signifies linen cloth, to denote the [119]manufacture produced by this temporary industry. The Greeks, ever fertile in invention, and knowing nothing of the true sense of these allegorical figures, gave them a turn suitable to their genius.

FURIES, EUMENIDES or DIRÆ, were the daughters of Nox and Achĕron. Their names were Alecto, Megæra, and Tisiphŏne. As many crimes were committed in secret, which could not be discovered from a deficiency of proof, it was necessary for the judges to have such officers as by wonderful and various tortures should force from the criminals a confession of their guilt. To this end the Furies, being messengers both of the celestial and terrestrial Jupiter, were always attendant on their sentence.

In heaven they were called Diræ, (quasi Deorum iræ) or ministers of divine vengeance, in punishing the guilty after death; on earth Furies, from that madness which attends the consciousness of guilt; Erynnis, from the indignation and perturbations they raise in the mind; Eumenĭdes, from their placability to such as supplicate them, as in the instance of Orestes, and Argos, upon his following the advice of Pallas, and in hell, Stygian dogs.

The furies were so dreaded that few dared so much as to name them. They were supposed to be constantly hovering about those who had been guilty of any enormous crime. Thus Orestes, having murdered his mother Clytemnestra, was haunted by the Furies. Œdipus, indeed, when blind and raving, went into their grove, to the astonishment of all the Athenians, who durst not so much as behold it. The Furies were reputed so inexorable, that if any person polluted with murder, incest, or any flagrant impiety, entered the temple which Orestes had dedicated to them in Cyrenæ, a town of Arcadia, he immediately became mad, and was hurried from place to place, with the most restless and dreadful tortures.

Mythologists have assigned to each of these tormentresses their proper department. Tisiphŏne is said to punish the sins arising from hatred and anger; Megæra those occasioned by envy; and Alecto the crimes of ambition and lust. The statues of the Furies had nothing in them originally different from the other divinities. It was the poet Æschylus who, in one of his tragedies, represented them in that hideous manner which proved fatal to many of the spectators. The description of these deities by the poet passed from the theatre to the temple: from that time they Were [120]exhibited as objects of the utmost horror, with Terror, Rage, Paleness, and Death, for their attendants; and thus seated about Pluto's throne, whose ministers they were, they awaited his orders with an impatience congenial to their natures.

The Furies are described with snakes instead of hair, and eyes inflamed with madness, brandishing in one hand whips and iron chains, and in the other torches, with a smothering flame. Their robes are black, and their feet of brass, to show that their pursuit, though slow, is steady and certain. As they attended at the thrones of the Stygian and celestial Jupiter, they had wings to accelerate their progress through the air, when bearing the commands of the gods: they struck terror into mortals, either by war, famine, pestilence, or the numberless calamities incident to human life.

NOX, or NIGHT, the oldest of the deities, was held in great esteem among the ancients. She was even reckoned older than Chaos. Orpheus ascribes to her the generation of gods and men, and says, that all things had their beginning from her. Pausanias has left us a description of a remarkable statue of this goddess. “We see,” says he, “a woman holding in her right hand a white child sleeping, and in her left a black child likewise asleep, with both its legs distorted; the inscription tells us what they are, though we might easily guess without it: the two children are Death and Sleep, and the woman is Night, the nurse of them both.”

The poets fancied her to be drawn in a chariot with two horses, before which several stars went as harbingers; that she was crowned with poppies, and her garments were black, with a black veil over her countenance, and that stars followed in the same manner as they preceded her; that upon the departure of the day she arose from the ocean, or rather from Erĕbus, and encompassed the earth with her sable wings. The sacrifice offered to Night was a cock because of its enmity to darkness, and rejoicing at the light.

SOMNUS, or SLEEP, one of the blessings to which the pagans erected altars, was said to be son of Erĕbus and, Night, and brother of Death. Orpheus calls Somnus the happy king of gods and men; and Ovid, who gives a very beautiful description of his abode, represents him dwelling in a deep cave in the country of the Cimmerians. Into this cavern the sun never enters, and a perpetual stillness [121]reigns, no noise being heard but the soft murmur caused by a stream of the river Lethe, which creeps over the pebbles, and invites to slumber; at its entrance grow poppies, and other soporiferous herbs. The drowsy god lies reclined on a bed stuffed with black plumes, the bedstead is of ebony, the covering is also black, and his head is surrounded by fantastic visions.

We learn from Statius, that the attendants and guards before the gates of this palace were Rest, Ease, Indolence, Silence, and Oblivion; as the ministers or attendants within are a vast multitude of Dreams in different shapes and attitudes. Ovid teaches us who were the supposed governors over these, and what their particular districts or offices were. The three chiefs of all are Morpheus, Phobētor, and Phantăsos, who inspire dreams into great persons only: Morpheus inspires such dreams as relate to men, Phobētor such as relate to other animals, and Phantăsos such as relate to inanimate things. They have each their particular legions under them, to inspire the common people with the sort of dreams which belong to their province.

MINOS was son of Jupiter and Eurōpa, and brother of Rhadamanthus and Sarpēdon. After the death of his father, the Cretans, who thought him illegitimate, would not admit him as a successor to the kingdom, till he persuaded them it was the divine pleasure he should reign, by praying Neptune to give him a sign, which being granted, the god caused a horse to rise out of the sea, upon which he ascended the throne.

Nothing so much distinguished him as the laws he enacted for the Cretans, which obtained him the name of one of the greatest legislators of antiquity. To confer the more authority on these laws, Minos retired to a cave of Mount Ida, where he feigned that Jupiter, his father, dictated them to him; and every time he returned thence a new injunction was promulgated by him. Homer calls him Jupiter's disciple; and Horace says he was admitted to the secrets of that god. Strabo and Ephŏrus contend, that Minos dwelt nine years in retirement in this cave, and that it was afterwards called the cave of Jupiter.

Antiquity entertained the highest esteem for the institutes of Minos: and the testimonies of ancient authors on this head are endless. It will, therefore, suffice to observe that Lycurgus travelled to Crete on purpose to collect the laws of Minos for the benefit of the Lacedemonians; and that [122]Josephus, partial as he was to his own nation, has owned, that Minos was the only one among the ancients who deserved to be compared to Moses. He was reputed the judge of the supreme court of Pluto, Æăcus judged the Europeans; the Asiatics and Africans fell to the lot of Rhadamanthus; and Minos, as president of the infernal court, decided the differences which arose between these two judges. He sat on a throne by himself, and wielded a golden sceptre.

RHADAMANTHUS was the son of Jupiter and Eurōpa, and brother of Minos. He was one of the three judges of hell. It is said that Rhadamanthus, having killed his brother, fled to Œchalia in Bœotia, where he married Alcmēna, widow of Amphitryon. Some make Rhadamanthus a king of Lycia, who on account of his severity and strict regard to justice, was said to have been one of the three judges of hell, where his province was to judge such as died impenitent. It is agreed, that he was the most temperate man of his time, and was exalted amongst the law-givers of Crete, who were renowned as good and just men. The division assigned to Rhadamanthus in the infernal regions was Tartărus.

ÆACUS, son of Jupiter and Ægīna, was king of Œnopia, which, from his mother's name, he called Ægīna. The inhabitants of that country being destroyed by a plague, Æăcus prayed to his father that by some means he would repair the loss of his subjects, upon which Jupiter, in compassion changed all the ants within a hollow tree into men and women, who, from a Greek word signifying ants, were called Myrmidons, and actually were so industrious a people as to become famous for their ships and navigation.

The meaning of which fable is this: The pirates having destroyed the inhabitants of the island, excepting a few, who hid themselves in caves and holes for fear of a like fate, Æăcus drew them out of their retreats and encouraged them to build houses, and sow corn; taught them military discipline, and how to fit out and navigate fleets, and to appear not like ants in holes, but on the theatre of the world, like men. His character for justice was such, that in a time of universal drought he was nominated by the Delphic oracle to intercede for Greece, and his prayers were heard. The pagan world also believed that Æăcus, on account of his impartial justice, was chosen by Pluto, [123]with Minos and Rhadamanthus, one of the three judges of the dead, and that it was his province to judge the Europeans, in which capacity he held a plain rod as a badge of his office.


The condemned in Hell.

TYPHŒUS, a giant of enormous size, was, according to Hesiod, son of Erĕbus, or Tartărus and Terra. His stature was prodigious. With one hand he touched the east, and with the other the west, while his head reached to the stars. Hesiod has given him an hundred heads of dragons, uttering dreadful sounds, and eyes which darted fire; flame proceeded from his mouths and nostrils, his body was encircled with serpents, and his thighs and legs were of a serpentine form. When he had almost discomfited the gods, who fled from him into Egypt, Jupiter alone stood his ground, and pursued the monster to Mount Caucăsus in Syria, where he wounded him with his thunder; But Typhœus, turning upon him, took the god prisoner, and after having cut, with his own sickle, the muscles of his hands and feet, threw him on his shoulders, carried him into Cilicia, and there imprisoned him in a cave, whence he was delivered by Mercury, who restored him to his former vigor. Typhœus afterwards fled into Sicily, where the god overwhelmed him with the enormous mass of mount Ætna.

Historians report, that Typhœus was brother of Osīris, king of Egypt, who in the absence of that monarch, formed a conspiracy to dethrone him; and that having accordingly put Osīris to death, Isis, in revenge of her husband, raised an army, the command of which she gave to Orus her son, who vanquished and slew the usurper: hence the Egyptians, in abhorrence of his memory, painted him under their hieroglyphic characters in so frightful a manner. The length of his arms signified his power, the serpents about him denoted his address and cunning, the scales which covered his body, expressed his cruelty and dissimulation, and the flight of the gods into Egypt showed the precautions taken by the great to screen themselves from his fury and resentment. Mythologists take Typhœus and [124]the other giants, to have been the winds; especially the subterraneous, which cause earthquakes to break forth with fire, occasioned by the sulphur enkindled in the caverns under Campania, Sicily, and the Æolian islands.

TITYOS, or TITYUS, was son of Jupiter and Elara. He resided in Panopea, where he became formidable for rapine and cruelty, till Apollo killed him for offering violence to his mother Latona. After this he was thrown into Tartărus, and chained down on his back, his body taking up such a compass as to cover nine acres. In this posture two vultures continually preyed upon his liver, which constantly grew with the increase of the moon, that there might never be wanting matter for eternal punishment.

PHLEGYAS, son of Mars and Chryse, daughter of Halmus, was king of Lapithæ, a people of Thessaly. Apollo having seduced his daughter Coronis, Phlegyas, in revenge, set fire to the temple of that god at Delphi, for which sacrilege the deity killed him with his arrows, and then cast him into Tartărus; where he was sentenced to sit under a huge rock, which threatened him with perpetual destruction.

IXION was son of Phlegyas, king of the Lapithæ in Thessaly. He married Dia, daughter of Deioneus, whose consent he obtained by magnificent promises, but, failing afterwards to perform them, Deioneus seized on his horses. Ixion dissembled his resentment, and inviting Deioneus to a banquet, received him in an apartment previously prepared, from which, by withdrawing a door, his father-in-law was thrown into a furnace of fire. Stung, however, with remorse, and universally despised, Ixion was overpowered with frenzy, till Jupiter at length re-admitted him to favor, and not only took him into heaven, but intrusted him also with his counsels. So ungrateful, notwithstanding, did Ixion become, as to attempt the chastity of Juno herself. This so incensed Jupiter that the angry deity hurled him into Tartărus, and fixed him on a wheel encompassed with serpents, which was doomed to revolve without intermission.

SALMONEUS, king of Elis, was son of Æolus, (not he who was king of the winds, but another of the name) and Anarete. Not satisfied with an earthly crown, Salmoneus panted after divine honors; and, in order that the people might esteem him a god, he built a brazen bridge over the city, and drove his chariot along it, imitating, by [125]this noise, Jupiter's thunder; at the same time throwing flaming torches among the spectators below, to represent his lightning, by which many were killed. Jupiter, in resentment of this insolence, precipitated the ambitious mortal into hell, where, according to Virgil, Æneas saw him.

SISIPHUS, or SISYPHUS, a descendant of Æŏlus, married Merope, one of the Pleiades, who bore him Glaucus. He resided at Ephyra, in Peloponnesus, and was conspicuous for his craft. Some say he was a Trojan secretary, who was punished for discovering secrets of state; whilst others contend that he was a notorious robber killed by Theseus. However, all the poets agree that he was punished in Tartărus for his crimes, by rolling a great stone to the top of a hill, which constantly recoiling and rolling down again, incessantly renewed his fatigue, and rendered his labor endless.

Ovid, in one passage, seems to describe Sisyphus as bending under the weight of a vast stone; “but the more common way of speaking of his punishment,” says the author of Polymetis, “agrees with the fine description of him in Homer, where we see him laboring to heave the stone that lies on his shoulders up against the side of a steep mountain, and which always rolls precipitately down again before he can get it to rest upon the top. Lucretius makes him only an emblem of the ambitious; as Horace too seems to make Tantălus only an emblem of the covetous.”

BELIDES, or DANAIDES: They were the fifty daughters of Danăus, son of Belus, surnamed the ancient. Some quarrel having arisen between him and Egyptus his brother, it determined Danăus on his voyage into Greece; but Egyptus having fifty sons, proposed a reconciliation, by marrying them to his brother's daughters. The proposal was agreed to, and the nuptials were to be celebrated with singular splendor, when Danăus, either in resentment of former injuries, or being told by the oracle that one of his sons-in-law should destroy him, gave to each of his daughters a dagger, with an injunction to stab her husband. They all executed the order but Hypermnestra, the eldest, who spared the life of Lyncæus. These Belĭdes, for their cruelty, were consigned to the infernal regions, there to draw water in sieves from a well, till they had filled, by that means, a vessel full of holes.

[126]TANTALUS, king of Phrygia, was the son of Jupiter and Plota. Whether it was for this cause, the violation of hospitality, or for his pride, his boasting, his want of secrecy, his insatiable covetousness, his imparting nectar and ambrosia to mortals, or for all of them together, since he has been accused of them all, Tantălus was thrown into Tartărus, where the poets have assigned him a variety of torments. Some represent a great stone as hanging over his head, which he apprehended to be continually falling, and was ever in motion to avoid it. Others describe him as afflicted with constant thirst and hunger, though the most delicious banquets were exposed to his view; one of the Furies terrifying him with her torch whenever he approached towards them. Some exhibit him standing to the chin in water, and whenever he stooped to quench his thirst, the water as constantly eluding his lip. Others, with fruits luxuriously growing around him, which he no sooner advanced to touch, than the wind blew them into the clouds.


Monsters of Hell.

HARPYIÆ, or HARPIES, were three in number, their names, Celæno, Aëllo, and Ocypĕte. The ancients looked on them as a sort of Genii, or Dæmons. They had the faces of virgins, the ears of bears, the bodies of vultures, human arms and feet, and long claws, hooked like the talons of carnivorous birds. Phineas, king of Arcadia, being a prophet, and revealing the mysteries of Jupiter to mortals, was by that deity struck blind, and so tormented by the Harpies that he was ready to perish for hunger; they devouring whatever was set before him, till the sons of Boreas, who attended Jason in his expedition to Colchis, delivered the good old king, and drove these monsters to the islands called Strophădes: compelling them to swear never more to return.

The Harpies, according to the ingenious Abbé la Pluche, had their origin in Egypt. He further observes, in respect to them, that during the months of April, May, and June, especially the two latter, Egypt being very subject to tempests, which laid waste their olive grounds, and carried [127]thither numerous swarms of grasshoppers, and other troublesome insects from the shores of the Red Sea, the Egyptians gave to their emblematic figures of these months a female face, with the bodies and claws of birds, calling them Harop, or winged destroyers. This solution of the fable corresponds with the opinion of Le Clerc, who takes the harpies to have been a swarm of locusts, the word Arbi, whence Harpy is formed, signifying, in their language, a locust.

GORGONS were three in number, and daughters of Phorcus or Porcys, by his sister Ceto. Their names were Medūsa, Euryăle, and Stheno, and they are represented as having scales on their bodies, brazen hands, golden wings, tusks like boars, and snakes for hair. The last distinction, however, is confined by Ovid to Medūsa.

According to some mythologists, Perseus having been sent against Medūsa by the gods, was supplied by Mercury with a falchion, by Minerva with a mirror, and by Pluto with a helmet, which rendered the wearer invisible. Thus equipped, through the aid of winged sandals, he steered his course towards Tartessus, where, finding the object of his search, by the reflection of his mirror, he was enabled to aim his weapon, without meeting her eye, (for her look would have turned him to stone) and at one blow struck off her head. When Perseus had slain Medūsa, the other sisters pursued him, but he escaped from their sight by means of his helmet. They were afterwards thrown into hell.

SPHINX was a female monster, daughter of Typhon and Echidna. She had the head, face, and breasts of a woman, the wings of a bird, the claws of a lion, and the body of a dog. She lived on mount Sphincius, infested the country about Thebes, and assaulted passengers, by proposing dark and enigmatical questions to them, which if they did not explain, she tore them in pieces. Sphinx made horrible ravages in the neighborhood of Thebes, till Creon, then king of that city, published an edict over all Greece, promising that if any one should explain the riddle of Sphinx, he would give him his own sister Iocasta in marriage.

The riddle was this, “What animal is that which goes upon four feet in the morning, upon two at noon, and upon three at night?” Many had endeavored to explain this riddle, but failing in the attempt, were destroyed by the monster; till Œdipus undertook the solution, and thus ex[128]plained it: “The animal is man, who in his infancy creeps, and so may be said to go on four feet; when he gets into the noon of life, he walks on two feet; but when he grows old, or declines into the evening of his days, he uses the support of a staff, and thus may be said to walk on three feet.” The Sphinx being enraged at this explanation, cast herself headlong from a rock and died.


Dii indigĕtes, or Heroes who received divine Honors after Death.

HERCULES was the son of Jupiter by Alcmena, wife of Amphitryon, king of Thebes, and is said to have been born in that city about 1280 years before the Christian era. During his infancy Juno sent two serpents to kill him in his cradle, but the undaunted child grasping one in either hand, immediately strangled them both. As he grew up, he discovered an uncommon degree of vigor both of body and of mind. Nor were his extraordinary endowments neglected; for his education was intrusted to the greatest masters. The tasks imposed on him by Eurystheus, on account of the danger and difficulty which attended their execution, received the name of the Labors of Hercules, and are commonly reckoned, (at least the most material of them) to have been twelve.

The first was his engagement with Cleonæan lion, which furious animal, it is said, fell from the orb of the moon by Juno's direction, and was invunerable. It infested the woods between Phlius and Cleōne, and committed uncommon ravages. The hero attacked it both with his arrows and club, but in vain, till, perceiving his error, he tore asunder its jaws with his hands.

The second labor was his conquest of the Lernæan hydra, a formidable serpent or monster which harbored in the fens of Lerna, and infected the region of Argos with his poisonous exhalations. This seems to have been one of the most difficult tasks in which Hercules was ever engaged. The number of heads assigned the hydra is various; some give him seven, some nine, others fifty, and Ovid an hundred; but all authors agree that when one was cut off, another sprung forth in its place, unless the wound was [129]immediately cauterized. Hercules, not discouraged, attacked him, and having ordered Iŏlas, his friend and companion, to cut down wood sufficient for fire-brands, he no sooner had cut off a head than he applied these brands to the wounds; by which means searing them up, he obtained a complete victory.

The third labor was to bring alive to Eurystheus an enormous wild boar which ravaged the forest of Erymanthus in Arcadia, and had been sent to Phocis by Diāna to punish Ænēas, for neglecting her sacrifices. Hercules brought him bound to Eurystheus. There is nothing descriptive of this exploit in any of the Roman poets.

The fourth labor was the capture of the Mænalæan stag. Eurystheus, after repeated proofs of the strength and valor of Hercules, resolved to try his agility, and commanded him to take a wild stag that frequented mount Mænălus, which had brazen feet and golden horns. As this animal was sacred to Diāna, Hercules durst not wound him; but though it were no easy matter to run him down, yet this, after pursuing him on foot for a year, the hero at last effected.

The fifth labor of Hercules consisted in killing the Stymphalĭdes, birds so called from frequenting the lake Stymphālis in Arcadia, which preyed upon human flesh, having wings, beaks, and talons of iron. Some say Hercules destroyed these birds with his arrows, others that Pallas sent him brazen rattles, made by Vulcan, the sound of which so terrified them, that they took shelter in the island of Aretia. There are authors who suppose these birds called Stymphalĭdes, to have been a gang of desperate banditti who had their haunts near the lake Stymphālis.

The sixth labor was his cleansing the stable of Augeas. This Augeas, king of Elis, had a stable intolerable from the stench occasioned by the filth it contained, which may be readily imagined from the fact that it sheltered three thousand oxen, and had not been cleansed for thirty years. This place Eurystheus ordered Hercules to clear in one day, and Augeas promised, if he performed the task, to give him a tenth part of the cattle. Hercules, by turning the course of the river Alphēus through the stable, executed his design, which Augeas seeing, refused to fulfil his promise. The hero, to punish his perfidy, slew Augeas with his arrows, and gave his kingdom to his son Phyleus, who abhorred his father's treachery.

The seventh labor was the capture of the Cretan bull. [130]Minos, king of Crete, having acquired the dominion of the Grecian seas, paid no greater honor to Neptune than to the other gods, wherefore the deity, in resentment of this ingratitude, sent a bull, which breathed fire from his nostrils, to destroy the people of Crete. Hercules took this furious animal, and brought him to Eurystheus, who, because the bull was sacred, let him loose into the country of Marathon, where he was afterwards slain by Theseus.

The eighth labor of Hercules, was the killing of Diomēdes and his horses. That infamous tyrant was king of Thrace, and son of Mars and Cyrēne. Among other things he is said to have driven in his war-chariot four furious horses, which, to render the more impetuous, he used to feed on the flesh and blood of his subjects. Hercules is said to have freed the world from this barbarous prince, and to have killed both him and his horses, as is signified in some drawings, and said expressly by some of the poets. Some report that the tyrant was given by Hercules as a prey to his own horses.

The ninth labor of Hercules was his combat with Geryon, king of Spain. Geryon is generally represented with three bodies agreeable to the expressions used of him by the poets, and sometimes with three heads. He had a breed of oxen of a purple color, (which devoured all strangers cast to them) guarded by a dog with two heads, a dragon with seven, besides a very watchful and severe keeper. Hercules, however, killed the monarch and all his guards, and carried the oxen to Gades, whence he brought them to Eurystheus. Some mythologists explain this fable by saying that Geryon was king of three islands, now called Majorca, Minorca, and Ivica, on which account he was fabled to be triple bodied and headed.

The tenth labor of Hercules was his conquest of Hippolyte queen of the Amazons. His eleventh labor consisted in dragging Cerebus from the infernal regions into day. The twelfth and last was killing the serpent, and gaining the golden fruit in the gardens of the Hesperides.

Hercules, after his conquests in Spain, having made himself famous in the country of the Celtæ or Gauls, is said to have there founded a large and populous city, which he called Alesia. His favorite wife was Dejanira, whose jealousy most fatally occasioned his death. Hercules having subdued Œchalia and killed Eurytus the king, carried off the fair Iŏle, his daughter, with whom Dejanira suspecting [131]him to be in love, sent him the garment of Nessus, the Centaur, as a remedy to recover his affections; this garment, however, having been pierced with an arrow dipped in the blood of the Lernæan hydra, whilst worn by Nessus, contracted a poison from his blood incurable by art. No sooner, therefore, was it put on by Hercules than he was seized with a delirious fever, attended with the most excruciating torments. Unable to support his pains, he retired to mount Œta, where, raising a pile, and setting it on fire, he threw himself upon it, and was consumed in the flames, after having killed in his phrenzy Lycus his friend. His arrows he bequeathed to Philoctētes, who interred his remains.

After his death he was deified by his father Jupiter. Diōdorus Siculus relates that he was no sooner ranked amongst the gods than Juno, who had so violently persecuted him whilst on earth, adopted him for her son, and loved him with the tenderness of a mother. Hercules was afterwards married to Hebe, goddess of youth, his half sister, with all the splendor of a celestial wedding; but he refused the honor which Jupiter designed him, of being ranked with the twelve gods, alleging there was no vacancy; and that it would be unreasonable to degrade any other god for the purpose of admitting him.

Both the Greeks and Romans honored him as a god, and as such erected to him temples. His victims were bulls and lambs, on account of his preserving the flocks from wolves; that is, delivering men from tyrants and robbers. He was worshipped by the ancient Latins under the name of Dius, or Divus Fidius, that is, the guarantee or protector of faith promised or sworn. They had a custom of calling this deity to witness by a sort of oath expressed in these terms, Me Dius Fidius! that is, so help me the god Fidius! or Hercules.

PERSEUS was the son of Jupiter and Danăe, daughter of Acrisius king of Argos. When Perseus was grown up, Polydectes, who was enamored of his mother, finding him an obstacle to their union, contrived to send him on an exploit, which he hoped would be fatal to him. This was to bring him the head of Medūsa, one of the Gorgons. In his expedition Perseus was favored by the gods; Mercury equipped him with a scymetar, and the wings from his heels; Pallas lent him a shield which reflected objects like a mirror; and Pluto granted him his helmet, which rendered him invisible. In this manner he flew to Tartessus in Spain, where, [132]directed by the reflection of Medūsa in his mirror, he cut off her head, and brought it to Pallas. From the blood arose the winged horse Pegăsus.

After this the hero passed into Mauritania, where repairing to the court of Atlas, that monarch ordered him to retire, with menaces, in case of disobedience; but Perseus, presenting his shield, with the dreadful head of Medūsa, changed him into the mountain which still bears his name. In his return to Greece he visited Ethiopia, mounted on Pegăsus, and delivered Andromĕda, daughter of Cepheus, (who was exposed on a rock of that coast to be devoured by a monster of the deep) on condition he might make her his wife: but Phineas, her uncle, sought to prevent him, by attempting, with a party, to carry off the bride. The attempt, notwithstanding, was rendered abortive; for the hero, by showing them the head of the Gorgon, at once turned them to stone.

Perseus having completed these exploits, was desirous of revisiting home, and accordingly set off for that purpose with his wife and his mother. Arriving on the coast of Peloponnesus, and learning that Teutamias, king of Larissa, was then celebrating games in honor of his father, Perseus, wishing to exhibit his skill at the quoit, of which he has been deemed the inventor, resolved to go thither. In this contest, however, he was so unfortunate as to kill Acrisius, the father of his mother, who, on the report that Perseus was returning to the place of his nativity, had fled to the court of Teutamias his friend, to avoid the denunciation of the oracle, which had induced him to exercise such cruelty on his offspring. At what time Perseus died is unknown; but all agree that divine honors were paid him. He had statues at Mycēnæ and in Seriphos. A temple was erected to him in Athens, and an altar in it consecrated to Dictys.


Pl. 8.


ACHILLES was the offspring of a goddess. Thetis bore him to Peleus, king of Thessaly, and was so fond of him, that she charged herself with his education. By day she fed him with ambrosia, and by night covered him with celestial fire, to render him immortal. She also dipped him in the waters of Styx, by which his whole body became invulnerable, except that part of his heel by which she held him. He was afterwards committed to the care of Chiron the Centaur, who fed him with honey, and the marrow of lions and wild boars; whence he obtained that strength of body and greatness of soul which qualified him for martial toil.

[133]When the Greeks undertook the siege of Troy, Calchas the diviner, and priest of Apollo, foretold that the city should not be taken without the help of Achilles. Thetis, his mother, who knew that Achilles, if he went to the siege of Troy, would never return, clothed him in female apparel, and concealed him among the maidens at the court of Lycomēdes, king of the island of Scyros. But this stratagem proved ineffectual; for Calchas having informed the Greeks where Achilles lay in disguise, they sent Ulysses to the court of Lycomēdes, where, under the appearance of a merchant, he was introduced to the king's daughters, and while they were studiously intent on viewing his toys, Achilles employed himself in examining an helmet, which the cunning politician had thrown in his way.

Achilles thus detected, was prevailed on to go to Troy, after Thetis had furnished him with impenetrable armor made by Vulcan. Thither he led the troops of Thessaly, in fifty ships, and distinguished himself by a number of heroic actions; but being disgusted with Agamemnon for the loss of Briseis, he retired from the camp, and resolved to have no further concern in the war. In this resolution he continued inexorable, till news was brought him that Hector had killed his friend Patrōclus; to avenge his death he not only slew Hector, but fastened the corpse to his chariot, dragged it round the walls of Troy, offered many indignities to it, and sold it at last to Priam his father.

Authors are much divided on the manner of Achilles' death; some relate that he was slain by Apollo, or that this god enabled Paris to kill him, by directing the arrow to his heel, the only part in which he was vulnerable. Others again say, that Paris murdered him treacherously, in the temple of Apollo, whilst treating about his marriage with Polyxĕna, daughter to king Priam.

Though this tradition concerning his death be commonly received, yet Homer plainly enough insinuates that Achilles died fighting for his country, and represents the Greeks as maintaining a bloody battle about his body, which lasted a whole day. Achilles having been lamented by Thetis, the Nereids, and the Muses, was buried on the promontory of Sigæum; and after Troy was captured, the Greeks endeavored to appease his manes by sacrificing Polyxĕna, on his tomb, as his ghost had requested.

The oracle at Dodōna decreed him divine honors, and ordered annual victims to be offered at the place of his sep[134]ulture. In pursuance of this, the Thessalians brought hither yearly two bulls, one black, the other white, crowned with wreaths of flowers, and water from the river Sperchius. It is said that Alexander, seeing his tomb, honored it by placing a crown upon it, at the same time crying out “that Achilles was happy in having, during his life, such a friend as Patrōclus, and after his death, a poet like Homer.”

ATLAS was son of Japĕtus and Clymĕne, and brother of Prometheus, according to most authors; or, as others relate, son of Japĕtus by Asia, daughter of Oceănus. He had many children. Of his sons, the most famous were Hespĕrus (whom some call his brother) and Hyas. By his wife Pleione he had seven daughters, who went by the general names of Atlantĭdes, or Pleiădes; and by his wife Æthra he had also seven other daughters, who bore the common appellation of the Hyădes.

According to Hygīnus, Atlas having assisted the giants in their war against Jupiter, was doomed by the victorious god, as a punishment, to sustain the weight of the heavens. Ovid, however, represents him as a powerful and wealthy monarch, proprietor of the gardens of the Hesperĭdes, which bore golden fruit; but that being warned by the oracle of Themis that he should suffer some great injury from a son of Jupiter, he strictly forbade all foreigners access to his presence. Perseus, however, having the courage to appear before him, was ordered to retire, with strong menaces in case of disobedience; but the hero presenting his shield, with the dreadful head of Medūsa, turned him into the mountain which still bears his name.

The Abbé la Pluche has given a very clear and ingenious explication of this fable. Of all nations the Egyptians had, with the greatest assiduity, cultivated astronomy. To point out the difficulties attending the study of this science, they represented it by an image bearing a globe or sphere on its back, which they called Atlas, a word signifying great toil or labor; but the word also signifying support, the Phœnicians, led by the representation, took it in this sense, and in their voyages to Mauritania, seeing the high mountains of that country covered with snow, and losing their tops in the clouds, gave them the name of Atlas, and thus produced the fable by which the symbol of astronomy used among the Egyptians became a Mauritanian king, transformed into a mountain, whose head supports the heavens.

[135]The rest of the fable is equally obvious to explanation. The annual inundations of the Nile obliged the Egyptians to be very exact in observing the motions of the heavenly bodies. The Hyades, or Huades, took their name from the figure V, which they form in the head of Taurus. The Pleiades were a remarkable constellation and of great use to the Egyptians in regulating the seasons: hence they became the daughters of Atlas; and Orion, who arose just as they set, was called their lover.

By the golden apples that grew in the gardens of the Hesperides, the Phœnicians expressed the rich and beneficial commerce they had in the Mediterranean, which being carried on during three months only of the year, gave rise to the fable of the Hesperian sisters. The most usual way of representing Atlas, among the ancient artists, was as supporting a globe; for the old poets commonly refer to this attitude in speaking of him.

PROMETHEUS was son of Japĕtus, but it is doubtful whether his mother were Asia, or Themis. Having incurred the displeasure of Jupiter, either for stealing some of the celestial fire, or for forming a man of clay, Jupiter, in resentment, commanded Vulcan to make a woman of clay, which, when finished, was introduced into the assembly of the gods, each of whom bestowed on her some additional charm or perfection. Venus gave her beauty, Pallas wisdom, Juno riches, Mercury taught her eloquence, and Apollo music. From all these accomplishments she was styled Pandōra, that is, loaded with gifts and accomplishments, and was the first of her sex.

Jupiter, to complete his designs, presented her a box, in which he had enclosed age, disease, war, famine, pestilence, discord, envy, calumny, and, in short, all the evils and vices with which he intended to afflict the world. Thus equipped, Pandōra was sent to Prometheus, who, being on his guard against the mischief designed him, declined accepting the box; but Epimetheus, his brother, though forewarned of the danger, had less resolution; for, being enamored of the beauty of Pandōra, he married her, and opened the fatal treasure, when immediately flew abroad the contents, which soon overspread the world, hope only remaining at the bottom.

Prometheus escaping the evil which the god designed him, and Jupiter not being appeased, Mercury and Vulcan were despatched by him to seize Prometheus, and chain him on [136]Mount Caucasus, where a vulture, the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, was commissioned to prey upon his liver, which, that his torment might be endless, was constantly renewed by night in proportion to its increase by day; but the vulture being soon destroyed by Hercules, Prometheus was released. Others say, that Jupiter restored Prometheus to freedom, for discovering the conspiracy of Saturn, his father, and dissuading his intended marriage with Thetis.

Nicander, to this fable, offers an additional one. He tells us, that when mankind had received the fire from Prometheus, some ungrateful men discovered the theft to Jupiter, who rewarded them with the gift of perpetual youth. This present they put on the back of an ass, which stopping at a fountain to quench his thirst, was prevented by a water-snake which would not suffer him to drink till he gave him his burden; hence the serpent renews his youth upon changing his skin.

Prometheus was esteemed the inventor of many useful arts. He made man of the mixture and temperament of all the elements, gave him strength of body, vigor of mind, and the peculiar qualities of all creatures, as the craft of the fox, the courage of the lion, &c. He had an altar in the academy of Athens in common with Vulcan and Pallas. In his statues he holds a sceptre in the right hand.

Several explanations have been given of this fable. Prometheus, whose name is derived from a Greek word, signifying foresight and providence, was conspicuous for that quality; and because he reduced mankind, before rude and savage, to a state of culture and improvement, he was feigned to have made them from clay: being a diligent observer of the motions of the heavenly bodies from Mount Caucasus, it was fabled that he was chained there: having discovered the method of striking fire from the flint, or perhaps, the nature of lightning, it was pretended that he stole fire from the gods: and, because he applied himself to study with intenseness, they imagined that a vulture preyed continually on his liver.

There is another solution of this fable, analogous to the preceding. According to Pliny, Prometheus was the first who instituted sacrifices. Being expelled his dominions by Jupiter, he fled to Scythia, where he retired to Mount Caucasus, either to make astronomical calculations or to indulge his melancholy for the loss of his dominions, which occasioned the fable of the vulture or eagle feeding on [137]his liver. As he was the first inventor of forging metals by fire, he was said to have stolen that element from heaven; and, as the first introduction of agriculture and navigation had been ascribed to him, he was celebrated as forming a living man from an inanimate substance.

AMPHION, king of Thebes, son of Jupiter and Antiŏpe, was instructed in the use of the lyre by Mercury, and became so great a proficient, that he is reported to have built the walls of Thebes by the power of his harmony, which caused the listening stones to ascend voluntarily. He married Niŏbe, daughter of Tantălus, whose insult to Diāna occasioned the loss of their children by the arrows of Apollo and Diāna. The unhappy father, attempting to revenge himself by the destruction of the temple of Apollo, was punished with the loss of his sight and skill, and thrown into the infernal regions.

ORPHEUS, son of Apollo by the Muse Calliŏpe, was born in Thrace, and resided near Mount Rhodŏpe, where he married Eurydice, a princess of that country. Aristæus, a neighboring prince, fell desperately in love with her, but she flying from his violence, was killed by the bite of a serpent. Her disconsolate husband was so affected at his loss, that he descended by the way of Tænărus to hell, in order to recover his beloved wife. As music and poetry were to Orpheus hereditary talents, he exerted them so powerfully in the infernal regions, that Pluto and Proserpine, touched with compassion, restored to him his consort on condition that he should not look back upon her till they came to the light of the world. His impatience, however, prevailing, he broke the condition, and lost Eurydice forever.

Whilst Orpheus was among the shades, he sang the praises of all the gods but Bacchus, whom he accidentally omitted; to revenge this affront, Bacchus inspired the Mænădes, his priestesses, with such fury, that they tore Orpheus to pieces, and scattered his limbs about the fields. His head was cast into the river Hebrus, and (together with his harp) was carried by the tide to Lesbos, where it afterwards delivered oracles. The harp, with seven strings, representing the seven planets, which had been given him by Apollo, was taken up into heaven, and graced with nine stars by the nine Muses. Orpheus himself was changed into a swan. He left a son called Methon, who founded in Thrace a city of his own name.

[138]It is certain that Orpheus may be placed as the earliest poet of Greece, where he first introduced astronomy, divinity, music and poetry; all which he had learned in Egypt. He introduced also the rites of Bacchus, which from him were called Orphica. He was a person of most consummate knowledge, and the wisest, as well as the most diligent scholar of Linus.

If we search for the origin of this fable, we must again have recourse to Egypt, the mother-country of fiction. In July, when the sun entered Leo, the Nile overflowed all the plains. To denote the public joy at seeing the inundation rise to its due height, the Egyptians exhibited a youth playing on the lyre, or the sistrum, and sitting by a tame lion. When the waters did not increase as they should, the Horus was represented stretched on the back of a lion, as dead. This symbol they called Oreph, or Orpheus, (from oreph, the back part of the head) to signify that agriculture was then quite unseasonable and dormant.

The songs with which the people amused themselves during this period of inactivity, for want of exercise, were called the hymns of Orpheus; and as husbandry revived immediately after, it gave rise to the fable of Orpheus's returning from hell. The Isis placed near this Horus, they called Eurydice, (from eri, a lion, and daca, tamed, is formed Eridica, Eurydice, or the lion tamed, i.e. the violence of the inundation overcome), and as the Greeks took all these figures in the literal, not in the emblematical sense, they made Eurydice the wife of Orpheus.

OSIRIS, son of Jupiter and Niŏbe, was king of the Argives many years; but, being instigated by the desire of glory, he left his kingdom to his brother Ægiălus, and went into Egypt, in search of a new name and kingdom there. The Egyptians were not so much overcome by the valor of Osīris, as obliged to him for his kindness towards them. Having conferred the greatest benefits on his subjects, by civilizing their manners, and instructing them in husbandry and other useful arts, he made the necessary disposition of his affairs, committed the regency to Isis, and set out with a body of forces in order to civilize the rest of mankind. This he performed more by the power of persuasion, and the soothing arts of music and poetry, than by the terror of his arms.

In his absence, Typhœus, the giant, whom historians call the brother of Osīris, formed a conspiracy to dethrone him; [139]for which end, at the return of Osīris into Egypt, he invited him to a feast, at the conclusion of which a chest of exquisite workmanship was brought in, and offered to him who, when laid down in it, should be found to fit it the best. Osīris, not suspecting a trick to be played him, got into the chest, and the cover being immediately shut upon him, this good but unfortunate prince was thus thrown into the Nile.

When the news of this transaction reached Coptus, where Isis his wife then was, she cut her hair, and in deep mourning went every where in search of the dead body. This was at length discovered, and concealed by her at Butus; but Typhœus, while hunting by moonlight, having found it there, tore it into many pieces, which he scattered abroad. Isis then traversed the lakes and watery places in a boat made of the papyrus, seeking the mangled parts of Osīris, and where she found any, there she buried them; hence the many tombs ascribed to Osīris.

Plutarch seems evidently to prove that the Egyptians worshipped the Sun under the name of Osīris. His reasons are: 1. Because the images of Osīris were always clothed in a shining garment, to represent the rays and light of the sun. 2. In their hymns, composed in honor of Osīris, they prayed to him who reposes himself in the bosom of the sun. 3. After the autumnal equinox, they celebrated a feast called, The disappearing of Osīris, by which is plainly meant the absence and distance of the sun. 4. In the month of November they led a cow seven times round the temple of Osīris, intimating thereby, that in seven months the sun would return to the summer solstice.

He is represented sitting upon a throne, crowned with a mitre full of small orbs, to intimate his superiority over all the globe. The gourd upon the mitre implies his action and influence upon moisture, which, and the Nile particularly, was termed by the Egyptians, the efflux of Osīris. The lower part of his habit is made up of descending rays, and his body is surrounded with orbs. His right hand is extended in a commanding attitude, and his left holds a thyrsus or staff of the papyrus, pointing out the principle of humidity, and the fertility thence flowing, under his direction.

ÆSCULAPIUS. The name of Æsculapius, whom the Greeks called Ασκληπιος, appears to have been foreign, and derived from the oriental languages. Being honored as a god in Phœnicia and Egypt, his worship passed into Greece, [140]and was established, first at Epidaurus, a city of Peloponnesus, bordering on the sea, where, probably, some colonies first settled; a circumstance sufficient for the Greeks to give out that this god was a native of Greece.

Not to mention all we are told of his parents, it will be enough to observe, that the opinion generally received in Greece, made him the son of Apollo by Corōnis, daughter of Phlegyas; and indeed the Messenians, who consulted the oracle of Delphi to know where Æsculapius was born, and of what parents, were told by the oracle, or more properly Apollo, that he himself was his father; that Corōnis was his mother, and that their son was born at Epidaurus.

Phlegyas, the most warlike man of his age, having gone into Peloponnesus under pretence of travelling, but, in truth, to spy into the condition of the country, carried his daughter Corōnis thither, who, to conceal her situation from her father, went to Epidaurus: there she was delivered of a son, whom she exposed upon a mountain, called to this day Mount Titthion, or of the breast; but before this adventure, Myrthion, from the myrtles that grew upon it.

The reason of this change of name was, that the child, having been here abandoned, was suckled by one of those goats of the mountain, which the dog of Aristhĕnes the goat-herd guarded. When Aristhĕnes came to review his flock, he found a she-goat and his dog missing, and going in search of them discovered the child. Upon approaching to lift him from the earth, he perceived his head encircled with fiery rays, which made him believe the child to be of divine origin.

As Κορωνη in the Greek language signifies a crow, hence another fable arose importing, as we see in Lucian, that Æsculapius had sprung from an egg of a bird, under the figure of a serpent. Whatever these fictions may mean, Æsculapius being removed from the mount on which he was exposed, was nursed by Trigo or Trigone, who was probably the wife of the goat-herd that found him; and when he was capable of improving by Chiron, Phlegyas (to whom he had doubtless been returned) put him under the Centaur's tuition.

Being of a quick and lively genius, he made such progress as soon to become not only a great physician, but at length to be reckoned the god and inventor of medicine; though the Greeks, not very consistent in the history of those early ages, gave to Apis, son of Phoroneus, the glory of having discovered the healing art. Æsculapius accompa[141]nied Jason in his expedition to Colchis, and in his medical capacity was of great service to the Argonauts. Within a short time after his death he was deified, and received divine honors: some add, that he formed the celestial sign, Serpentarius.

As the Greeks always carried the encomiums of their great men beyond the truth, they feigned that Æsculapius was so expert in medicine, as not only to cure the sick, but even to raise the dead. Ovid says he did this by Hippolĭtus, and Julian says the same of Tyndărus: that Pluto cited him before the tribunal of Jupiter, and complained that his empire was considerably diminished and in danger of becoming desolate, from the cures Æsculapius performed; so that Jupiter in wrath slew Æsculapius with a thunder-bolt; to which they added that Apollo, enraged at the death of his son, killed the Cyclops who forged Jupiter's thunder-bolts: a fiction which obviously signifies only, that Æsculapius had carried his art very far, and that he cured diseases believed to be desperate.

Æsculapius is always represented under the figure of a grave old man wrapped up in a cloak, having sometimes upon his head the calăthus of Serāpis, with a staff in his hand, which is commonly wreathed about with a serpent; sometimes again with a serpent in one hand, and a patĕra in the other; sometimes leaning upon a pillar, round which a serpent also twines. The cock, a bird consecrated to this god, whose vigilance represents that quality which physicians ought to have, is sometimes at the feet of his statues. Socrates, we know, when dying, said to those who stood around him in his last moments, “We owe a cock to Æsculapius; give it without delay.”

ULYSSES, king of Ithăca, was the son of Laertes, or Laertius and Anticlēa. His wife Penelŏpe, daughter of Icarius brother of Tyndărus king of Sparta, was highly famed for her prudence and virtue; and being unwilling that the Trojan war should part them, Ulysses to avoid the expedition, pretended to be mad, and not only joined different beasts to the same plough, but sowed also the furrows with salt.

Palamēdes, however, suspecting the frenzy to be assumed, threw Telemachus, then an infant, in the way of the plough, to try if his father would alter its course. This stratagem succeeded; for when Ulysses came to the child he turned off from the spot, in consequence of which Palamēdes compelled him to take part in the war. He accord[142]ingly sailed with twelve ships, and was signally serviceable to the Greeks.

To him the capture of Troy is chiefly to be ascribed, since by him the obstacles were removed, which had so long prevented it. For as Ulysses himself was detected by Palamēdes, so he in his turn detected Achilles, who, to avoid engaging in the same war, had concealed himself in the habits of a woman, at the court of Lycomēdes, king of Scyros. Ulysses there discovered him, and as it had been foretold that without Achilles Troy could not be taken, thence drew him to the siege.

He also obtained the arrows of Hercules, from Philoctētes, and carried off that hero from the scene of his retreat. He brought away also the ashes of Laomĕdon, which were preserved in Troy on the Scœan gate. By him the Palladium was stolen from the same city; Rhesus, king of Thrace, killed, and his horses taken before they had drank of the Xanthus. These exploits involved in them the destiny of Troy; for had the Trojans preserved them, their city could never have been conquered.

Ulysses contended afterwards with Telamonian Ajax, the stoutest of all the Grecians, except Achilles, for the arms of that hero, which were awarded to him by the judges, who were won by the charms of his eloquence. His other enterprises before Troy were numerous and brilliant, and are particularly related in the Iliad. When Ulysses departed for Greece, he sailed backwards and forwards for twenty years, contrary winds and severe weather opposing his return to Ithăca.

During this period, he extinguished, with a firebrand, the eye of Polyphēmus; then sailing to Æolia, he obtained from Æŏlus all the winds which were contrary to him, and put them into leathern bags; his companions, however, believing these bags to be full of money, entered into a plot to rob him, and accordingly, when they came on the coast of Ithăca, untied the bags, upon which the wind rushing out, he was again blown back to Æolia.

When Circe had turned his companions into swine and other brutes, he first fortified himself against her charms with the herb Moly, an antidote Mercury had given him; and then rushing into her cave with his drawn sword, compelled her to restore his associates to their original shape.

He is said to have gone down into hell, to know his future fortune, from the prophet Tiresias. When he sailed [143]to the islands of the Sirens, he stopped the ears of his companions, and bound himself with strong ropes to the ship's mast, that he might secure himself against the snares into which, by their charming voices, passengers were habitually allured. Lastly, after his ship was wrecked, he escaped by swimming, and came naked and alone, to the port of Phæacia, in the island of Corcyra, where Nausicăa, daughter of king Alcinŏus, found him in a profound sleep, into which he was thrown by the indulgence of Minerva.

When his companions were found, and his ship refitted, he bent his course toward Ithăca, where arriving, and having put on the habit of a beggar, he went to his neatherds, with whom he found his son Telemachus, and with them went home in disguise. After having received several affronts from the suitors of Penelŏpe, with the assistance of his son Telemachus and the neatherds, to whom he had discovered himself, he killed Antinŏus, and the other princes who were competitors for her favor. After reigning some time, he resigned the government of his kingdom to Telemachus.

CASTOR and POLLUX were the twin sons of Jupiter and Leda. These brothers entered into an inviolable friendship, and when they grew up, cleared the Archipelago of pirates, on which account they were esteemed deities of the sea, and accordingly were invoked by mariners in tempests. They went with the other noble youths of Greece in the expedition to Colchis, in search of the golden fleece, and on all occasions signalized themselves by their courage.

In this expedition Pollux slew Amycus, son of Neptune, and king of Bebrycia, who had challenged all the Argonauts to box with him. This victory, and that which he gained afterwards at the Olympic games which Hercules celebrated in Elis, caused him to be considered the hero and patron of wrestlers, while his brother Castor distinguished himself in the race, and in the management of horses.

Cicero relates a wonderful judgment which happened to one Scopas, who had spoken disrespectfully of these divinities: he was crushed to death by the fall of a chamber, whilst Simonĭdes, who was in the same room, was rescued from the danger, being called out a little before, by two persons unknown, supposed to be Castor and Pollux.

The Greek and Roman histories are full of the miraculous appearance of these brethren; particularly we are told they were seen fighting upon two white horses, at the head [144]of the Roman army, in the battle between the Romans and Latins, near the lake Regillus, and brought the news of the decisive victory of Paulus Æmilius to Rome, the very day it was obtained.

Frequent representations of these deities occur on ancient monuments, and particularly on consular medals. They are exhibited together, each having a helmet, out of which issues a flame, and each a pike in one hand, and in the other a horse held by the bridle: sometimes they are represented as two beautiful youths, completely armed, and riding on white horses, with stars over their helmets.

AJAX, son of Telămon, king of Salămis, by Beribœa, was, next to Achilles, the most valiant among the Greeks at the seige of Troy. He commanded the troops of Salămis in that expedition, and performed the various heroic actions mentioned by Homer, and Ovid, in the speech of Ajax contending for the armor of Achilles. This armor, however, being adjudged to his competitor Ulysses, his disappointment so enraged him, that he immediately became mad, and rushed furiously upon a flock of sheep, imagining he was killing those who had offended him: but at length perceiving his mistake, he became still more furious, and stabbed himself with the fatal sword he had received from Hector, with whom he had fought. Ajax resembled Achilles in several respects; like him he was violent, and impatient of contradiction; and, like him, invulnerable in every part of the body except one.

He has been charged with impiety; not that he denied the gods a very extensive power, but he imagined that, as the greatest cowards might conquer through their assistance, there was no glory in conquering by such aids; and scorned to owe his victory to aught but his own prowess. Accordingly, we are told that when he was setting out for Troy, his father recommended him always to join the assistance of the gods to his own valor; to which Ajax replied, that cowards themselves were often victorious by such helps, but for his own part he would make no reliance of the kind, being assured he should be able to conquer without.

It is further added, upon the head of his irreligion, that to Minerva, who once offered him her advice, he replied with indignation: “Trouble not yourself about my conduct; of that I shall give a good account; you have nothing to do but reserve your favor and assistance for the other Greeks.” Another time she offered to guide his [145]chariot in the battle, but he would not suffer her. Nay, he even defaced the owl, her favorite bird, which was engraven on his shield, lest that figure should be considered as an act of reverence to Minerva, and hence as indicating distrust in himself.

Homer, however, does not represent him in this light, for though he does not pray to Jupiter himself when he prepares to engage the valiant Hector, yet he desires others to pray for him, either in a low voice, lest the Trojans should hear, or louder if they pleased; for, says he, I fear no person in the world.

The poets give to Ajax the same commendation that the holy scripture gives to king Saul, with regard to his stature. He has been the subject of several tragedies, as well in Greek as Latin; and it is related that the famous comedian, Æsop, refused to act that part. The Greeks paid great honor to him after his death, and erected to him a noble monument upon the promontory of Rhœteum, which was one of those Alexander desired to see and honor.

JASON was son of Æson, king of Thessaly, and Alcimĕde. He was an infant when Pelias, his uncle, who was left his guardian, sought to destroy him; but being, to avoid the danger, conveyed by his relations to a cave, he was there instructed by Chiron in the art of physic; whence he took the name of Jason, or the healer, his former name being Diomēdes. Arriving at years of maturity, he returned to his uncle, who, probably with no favorable intention to Jason, inspired him with the notion of the Colchian expedition and agreeably flattered his ambition with the hopes of acquiring the golden fleece.

Jason having resolved on the voyage, built a vessel at Iolchos in Thessaly, for the expedition, under the inspection, of Argos, a famous workman, which, from him, was called Argo: it was said to have been executed by the advice of Pallas, who pointed out a tree in the Dodonæan forest for a mast, which was vocal, and had the gift of prophecy.

The fame of the vessel, the largest that had ever been heard of, but particularly the design itself, soon induced the bravest and most distinguished youths of Greece to become adventurers in it, and brought together about fifty of the most accomplished young persons of the age to accompany Jason in this expedition; authors, however, are not agreed on the precise names or numbers of the Argonauts; some state them to have been forty-nine; others more, and amongst them several were of divine origin.

[146]On his arrival at Colchis he repaired to the court of Æētes, from whom he demanded the golden fleece. The monarch acceded to his request, provided he could overcome the difficulties which lay in his way, and which appeared not easily surmountable; these were bulls with brazen feet, whose nostrils breathed fire, and a dragon which guarded the fleece. The teeth of the latter, when killed, Jason was enjoined to sow, and, after they had sprung up into armed men, to destroy them.

Though success attended the enterprise, it was less owing to valor, than to the assistance of Medēa, daughter of Æētes, who, by her enchantments, laid asleep the dragon, taught Jason to subdue the bulls, and when he had obtained the prize, accompanied him in the night time, unknown to her brother.

The return of the Argonauts is variously related; some contend it was by the track in which they came, and say that the brother of Medēa pursued them as far as the Adriatic, and was overcome by Jason; which occasioned the story that his sister had cut him in pieces, and strewed his limbs in the way, that her father, from solicitude to collect them, might be delayed in the pursuit.


Other fabulous personages.

GRACES or CHARITES. Among the multitude of ancient divinities, none had more votaries that the Graces. Particular nations and countries had appropriate and local deities, but their empire was universal. To their influence was ascribed all that could please in nature and in art; and to them every rank and profession concurred in offering their vows.

Their number was generally limited, by the ancient poets, to three: Euphrosyne, Thalīa, and Aglaia; but they differed concerning their origin. Some suppose them to have been the offspring of Jupiter and Eunomia, daughter of Oceănus; but the most prevalent opinion is, that they were descended from Bacchus and Venus. According to Homer, Aglaia, the youngest, was married to Vulcan, and another of them to the god of Sleep. The Graces were companions of Mercury, Venus, and the Muses.

[147]Festivals were celebrated in honor of them throughout the whole year. They were esteemed the dispensers of liberality, eloquence, and wisdom; and from them were derived simplicity of manners, a graceful deportment, and gaiety of disposition. From their inspiring acts of gratitude and mutual kindness they were described as uniting hand in hand with each other. The ancients partook of but few repasts without invoking them, as well as the Muses.

SIRENS were a kind of fabulous beings represented by some as sea-monsters, with the faces of women and the tails of fishes, answering the description of mermaids; and by others said to have the upper parts of a woman, and the under parts of a bird. Their number is not determined; Homer reckons only two; others five, namely, Leucosia, Ligeia, Parthenŏpe, Aglaŏphon, and Molpe; others admit only the three first.

The poets represent them as beautiful women inhabiting the rocks on the sea-shore, whither having allured passengers by the sweetness of their voices, they put them to death. Virgil places them on rocks where vessels are in danger of shipwreck; Pliny makes them inhabit the promontory of Minerva, near the island Capreæ; others fix them in Sicily, near cape Pelōrus.

Claudian says they inhabited harmonious rocks, that they were charming monsters, and that sailors were wrecked on their coasts without regret, and even expired in rapture. This description is doubtless founded on a literal explication of the fable, that the Sirens were women who inhabited the shores of Sicily, and who, by the allurements of pleasure, stopped passengers, and made them forget their course.

Ovid says they accompanied Proserpine when she was carried off, and that the gods granted them wings to go in quest of that goddess. Homer places the Sirens in the midst of a meadow drenched in blood, and tells us that fate had permitted them to reign till some person should over-reach them; that the wise Ulysses accomplished their destiny, having escaped their snares, by stopping the ears of his companions with wax, and causing himself to be fastened to the mast of his ship, which, he adds, plunged them into so deep despair, that they drowned themselves in the sea, where they were transformed into fishes from the waist downwards.

Others, who do not look for so much mystery in this fable, maintain that the Sirens were nothing but certain [148]straits in the sea, where the waves whirling furiously around seized and swallowed up vessels that approached them. Lastly, some hold the Sirens to have been certain shores and promontories, where the winds, by various reverberations and echoes, cause a kind of harmony that surprises and stops passengers. This probably might be the origin of the Sirens' song, and the occasion of giving the name of Sirens to those rocks.

Some interpreters of the ancient fables contend, that the number and names of the three Sirens were taken from the triple pleasure of the senses, wine, love, and music, which are the three most powerful means of seducing mankind; and hence so many exhortations to avoid the Sirens' fatal song; and probably it was hence that the Greeks obtained their etymology of Siren from a Greek word signifying a chain, as if there were no getting free from their enticement.

But if in tracing this fable to its source, we take Servius as our guide, he tells us that it derived its origin from certain princesses who reigned of old upon the coasts of the Tuscan sea, near Pelōrus and Caprea, or in three small islands of Sicily which Aristotle calls the isles of the Sirens. These women were very debauched, and by their charms allured strangers, who were ruined in their court, by pleasure and prodigality.

This seems evidently the foundation of all that Homer says of the Sirens, in the twelfth book of the Odyssey; that they bewitched those who unfortunately listened to their songs; that they detained them in capacious meadows, where nothing was to be seen but bones and carcasses withering in the sun; that none who visit them ever again enjoy the embraces and congratulations of their wives and children; and that all who dote upon their charms are doomed to perish. What Solomon says in the ninth chapter of Proverbs, of the miseries to which those are exposed who abandon themselves to sensual pleasures, well justifies the idea given us of the Sirens by the Greek poets, and by Virgil's commentator.

[Transcriber's Note:

Certain non-ASCII characters have been marked per the following list. The HTML and UTF-8 text files properly display these characters.

oe|OE are recorded as oe in the Latin-1 and ASCII texts. ae|AE ligatures have been unpacked as ae for ASCII. Greek words have been transliterated and are marked with {word} form.

Corrected typographical errors. The typographic error and its corresponding line are listed.

The office of the legati was very dignified and honorable
collected and deposited in an urn, to be kept in the mausoleum
Trimalchio, in his ridiculous feasts described by Petronius,

End of Notes.]

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Roman Antiquities, and Ancient
Mythology, by Charles K. Dillaway


***** This file should be named 20734-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Barbara Tozier, V. L. Simpson, Bill Tozier and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, is critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.