Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

. (page 26 of 153)
Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 26 of 153)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


the burning of a fox {vulpium combustio). " A fox was burnt to death at her sacred
rites, with torches tied round it ; because a fox wrapt round with stubble and hay set on
fire, being let go by a boy, once burnt the growing corn of the people of Carseoli, a
town of the ^qui, as the foxes of Samson did the standing corn of the Philistines."

Cf Ovid, Fast. iv. 6Sl.— Judges xv. i.— Classical Journal, vi. 325.

2. The ruins of the famous temple of Ceres at Eleusis, where the Mysteries were celebrated,
were conspicuous when Dr. Clarke visited the spot. He found also a fragment of a colossal
statue of the goddess among the nuddering vestiges of her once splendid sanctuary. With
great exertion that traveler procured the removal of the statue, in order to its being transported
to England.

See Clarke's Travels, Part ii. sect. 2. ch. 18.— Land. Quart. Rev. xvii. 202.

§ 64. The symbolical accompaniments to the image of Ceres are ears of
corn, and the poppy, her usual ornament. She is often exhibited with a torch
in her hand, to signify her search after Proserpine.

In some representations she appears a tall and majestic lady with a garland on her
head composed of ears of corn, a lighted torch in one hand, and a cluster of poppies and
ears of corn in the other. Thus she appears in our Plate XI. fig. 5, and in the Sup.
Plate 15. She also appears as a country woman mounted upon the back of an ox,
carrying a basket and a hoe. Sometimes she was represented as in a chariot drawn
by winged dragons. Her associate Triptolemus also appears occupying h^r chariot
(Ot. Met. V. 646).

§ 65. (17) Vesta. The ideas conceived in the Greek and Roman fables respect-
ing the earth as a person and goddess were exceedingly numerous and various.
Besides Gaia, Titeea or Tellus, who represented the earth taken in a general
cense they in'agined Cybele to denote the earth as inhabited and cultivated :



p. n. INFERIOR GODS. 0(ELUS. MS"

Ceres more particularly si^ified the fertility of the soil ; and the name of
Vesia or 'E-jna was employed to represent the earth as warmed by internal
heat. The latter goddess also represented civil union and domestic happiness,
being supposed to preside over the household hearth. She was called the
daughter of Saturn and Rhea, and said to have first taught men the use of fire.

1m. Jupiter guarantied her vow of perpetual celibacy (Ov. Fast. iv. 249), and
granted to her the first oblations in all sacrifices.

2. She is sometimes termed Vesta the younger, to distinguish her from Cybele (^19),
who is also called Vesta the elder. Vesta the younger is the same with Ig?iis or fire.

§ G6. The establishment of family habitations was ascribed to Vesta, and for
this, altars were usually erected to her in the interior or front of all houses.
The same was done in the buildings termed UpvtavHa, which were usually
found in the Greek cities near their center; that at Athens (P. I. § 115) was
the most famous. More rarely were temples raised for her. In her temple at
Rome the celebrated Palladium was supposed to be kept.

The temple of Vesta erected by Numa at Rome was round, and without any image
of the goddess. It still exists. Cf. P. I. § 60.

§ 67 a. She was represented in a long robe, wearing a veil, bearing in her
hand a lamp, or sacrifical vase. It is, however, more frequently a priestess of
Vesta that is thus represented.

In Plate XI. fig. 10, from a medal given by Montfancon, we have such a representation. In
the Sup. Plate 3. Vesta is seen as re^resentfid in a beautiful statue mentioned by Moutfaucon
(Vol. i. p. 64). — Vesta is sometimes exhibited holding in one hand a javelin or a Palladium;
sometimes also with a drum in one hand and an image of Victory in the other.

$ 67 u. Her priestesses among the Greeks were widows. But those among the Ro-
mans under the name of Vestales, the vestal virgins, were much more celebrated ; the
mother of Romulus having belonged to the order, although their first regular institution
is ascribed to Numa. (Cf. P. III. § 218.) Their principal duty was to watch and keep
alive the sacred fire of Vesta, and guard the Palladium (cf. § 43). Their rigid seclusion was
rewarded by various privileges, and a peculiar sacredness was attached to their persons.

1. The extinction of the fire of Vesta was supposed to forbode sudden and terrible disasters,
and if it ever happened, all business was at once interrupted until expiation had been made willi
great ceremony. Negligence on the part of the virgins was severely punished. The fire waa
every year renewed or replaced, on the Calends of March, by fire produced from the rays of the
gun.

2. In our Plate XXVIII. is a representation of a priestess of Vesta, holding a pan of fire. In
the same Plate is seen a Vestal holding the cribritm or sieve ; from a statue in honor of the Ves-
tal Tuccia, who is said to have vindicated her innocence by bringing water in a sieve from the
Tiber. Cf. Val. Max. viii. 2.

On Vesta and the Vestals ; Livy, i. 20.— Plutarch^ Life of ^oma.— Class. Joum. xv. 123, 257. xvi. 32.— AWaZ, Histoire dei
Vestales, in the Mem. de V.icad. da Insar. vol. iv. p. 161, 227.— Lipjit«, de Vesta, in bis Works.— Du^y, La maniere dont lea
anciens rallumoient le/eu sacre, &c in the Mem. Acad. Insar. xxxv. p. 393.



II. — Mythological History of the Inferior Gods.

% 68. The divinities included in the class, which are here d.ex\omm^.XeA Inferior gods,
are Coelus or 'O^pavos; Sol or TIXws ; Luna or SfX?)^?? ; Aurora or 'Hd)j ; No.x or A""v^;
Iris, Ipi?; iEolus or A^oXof ; Pan, nav, Latona or K^to; Themis or e/j/ii? ; ^scula-
pius or 'AwXrjridj ; Plutus or nXotlroj ; Fortuna or Tux?; ; and Fama or $1^/^?; ; which
were all common to the Greeks and Romans. But to this class are also to be referred
several divinities, which were peculiar to the Greeks as distinguished from the Romans;
and also several, which were peculiar to the Romans as distinguished from the Greeks

§ 69. (I) Ccslus. Although this god was considered as one of the most
ancient and the father of Saturn, yet not much importance was attached to his
worship either among the Greeks or Romans. His wife was the goddess of the
earth, Tita?a or Gaia ; their offspring were the Titans, the Cyclops, and the Cer^
timani. Through fear that these sons would deprive him of his kingdom, he
precipitated them all to Tartarus, whence they were liberated, however, by the
aid of Saturn, who himself usurped his father's throne. Venus and the Furies
were called daughters of Uranus, or Ccslus.

^10 n. The fictions respecting this god perhaps had some foundation in the histor*
15 k2



114 GREEK AND ROMAN MYTHOLOGY.

of early nations. According to the account of Diodorus', Uranus would seem to navft
been a king of the Atlantides^, the founder of their civilization, and the author of many
useful inventions. Among other things he was a diligent observer of the heavenly
bodies, and became able to announce beforehand many of their changes. Admiration
of such knowledge might lead to his deification. Perhaps it might occasion the use of his
name (0''pavdi) to signify the heavens. The idea, however, of a deity thus called, ap-
pears to have been very ancient.

1 See Diod. Sic. iii. 56. v. 44. * The Atlantides were a people of Africa, living near Mt. Atlas.

§ 71. (2) Sol. Although the Greeks and Romans worshiped Apollo as the
god and dispenser of light, and in view of this attribute named him Phoebus,
yet they conceived another distinct divinity, distinguished from Apollo espe-
cially in the earlier fables, under the literal name applied to designate the sun,
viz. Sol or "Hxtoj. These words, therefore, were employed to express not only
the actual body in the heavens, but also a supposed being having a separate
and personal existence. In the Homeric Hymn addressed to Helius, he is
called the son of Hyperion and Euryphaessa. Eos and Selene are called his
sisters. Many circumstances, which are mentioned as pertaining to him, are
also related of Phcebus or Apollo, when considered as the god of the sun.

See Ovid, Metamorph. ii.

§ 72 a. The early prevalence of Sun-worship, which was one of the first and
most natural forms of idolatry, renders it probable, that the worship of this god
was early introduced into Greece. Many temples were consecrated to Helius.
The island Rhodes in particular was sacred to him, where was erected his
celebrated colossal statue. Among the Romans his worship was organized
with special solemnities by Heliogabalus, who had been a priest of the same
god in Syria, and afterwards erected a temple to his honor at Rome.

Of his splendid temple at Helinpolis or Bialbec in Syria, said to have been erected by Antoni-
nus Pius, interesting remains still exist. Cf. P. I. $ 166.

§ 72 h. Sol or Helius is represented usually in a juvenile form, entirely
clothed, and having his head surrounded with rays, and attended by the Horai,
and the Seasons. He is sometimes riding in a chariot drawn by four horses,
which bear distinct names.

1. Helius is represented on coins of the Rhodians by the head of a young man
crowned with rays ; a specimen is seen in our Plate XIV. fig. 1. — A view of the colossal
statue of ffelius erected at Rhodes is given in Plate VI. This was reckoned among
the seven wonders.

2 The seven wonders of the world were, 1. The statue of the Sun at Rhodes, 70 cubits high, placed
across the harbor so that a large vessel could sail between its legs; 2. The Mausoleum, or sepulchre
of >Iau50lus,kingof Caria, built of marble, above 400 feet in compass, surrounded with 36 beautiful
columns(P.III.H8T.);3. The statue of Jupiter in Olynipia by Phidias (cf P. IV. $ 170); 4. The tem-
ple of Diana at Ephesus, with 127 pillars, 60 feet in height, with a splendid image of the goddess;
5. The walls of Babylon built by Semiramis, 50 or 80 feet wide, and 60 miles in circuit (RoUin's
Anc. Hist. bk. iii. ch. 1); 6. The pyramids of Egypt; 7. The palace of Cyrus.

§ 73. (3) Luna. She was the daughter of Hyperion and Theia, and was
called Xs'Krivrj by the Greeks, being distinct in name, descent, and story from
Diana or "Ap-ffjUtj, who was, however, taken as goddess of the moon. To
Luna was ascribed great influence in relation to the birth of men. Pandia was
said to be a daughter of Luna and Jupiter or Saturn". In common with her
brother Helius, Luna seems to have been especially worshiped by the Atlan-
tides.

o Cf. Ho-ner, Hymn to Luna,

1 a • Both the Greeks and Romans consecrated appropriate temples to her, although
the worship of Diana as the goddess of the moon was much more prevalent among
ihem. She was represented like Diana in this character, as a goddess riding in a chariot
through the skies, with the stars as her attendants.

2. 8he is represented on coins by the bust of a fair young woman with a crescent on
Iter head; as seen in Plate XIV. fig. 3.

§ 74. (4) Aurora. A sister of Luna, of the same parents, was the goddess
of the morning or day-dawn; styled by the Greeks 'Ewj or 'H^uapa; by the
Romans Aurora. By others she is said to have been the daughter of the giant
Pallas, and therefore called Pallantias. Orion and Tithonus were her prin-
cipal lovers, and Lucifer and Memnon her most distinguished sons. The latter



p. II. INFERIOR GODS. AURORA. IRIS. 115

is memorable for the honors paid to him in Egypt, and for his famous vocal
statue at Thebes.

1. The statue of Memnon is supposed to be one of those existing at the present day among the
ruins of ancient Thebes, near the place now called Medinet Abou. A part of the body of it is said
to be now in the British Museum. It is called by the Arabians Salamat, the statue which bids
good morning, a name evidently originating in a belief of the ancient and common tradition ;
which was, that this statue uttered sounds at the rising of the sun, when it shone upon it. The
statue is covered with inscriptions by persons declaring that they had heard its voice at the
rising of the sun.— Mr. fVil/civson states, from experiment actually made by himself, that if a per-
son in the lap of this colossus, which is in a sitting posture, give it a blow with a hammer, it will
cause a sound to a person standing at its foot as if from an instrument of brass.

See /. G. fVilkinson, on the contrivance by which the statue of Memnon was made vocal ; in the Transactions of the Royal
Society of Literature, vol. ii. Lond. 1S34.— M. Letronne, Inscriptions Grecques et Latines du Colossus de Memnon, &c., in samt
Transactions, vol. iii. Lond. ISST.-'Amer. Quart. Review, No. ix.

2 u. Cephalus was insensible to the love of Aurora towards him, although she seized
and bore him away from his beloved Procris, whom, after his return to her, he had the
misfortune to kill through an accident occasioned by her jealousy.— The early death
of a youth was frequently called in poetic language, a seizure or theft by Aurora

(Il[iepag opTrayh).
On the story of Cephalus, see Otiid, Metam. vii. 661, 703.

§ 75. This goddess was considered as the harbinger of the sun and of the
day, and was sometimes called by the literal name of the latter among the
Greeks, 'H^tf'pa. By the poets she is represented as a beautiflil young woman,
whose chariot was drawn by white or light red horses, and who opened the
portals of the Sun with rosy fingers. Homer designates her by the epithet
'PoSoScixri^Xos.

She is described as rising from the ocean in a saffron robe {KpoKOTrar\og), in a rose-
colored chariot, and scattering the dew upon the flowers. She was called the mother
of the stars and of the winds.

In the Sup. Plate 10, she is beautifully represented as driving in her chariot, accom-
panied by the Hours, and a flying Cupid with a torch in his hand.

§ 76. (5) Nox. The night was personified in ancient fable and placed among
the divinities as a daughter of Chaos. On account of this early origin she is
called, in the Orphic Hymns, the mother of gods and men. Generally, how-
ever, she is an allegorical rather than a mythological personage; and in such a
sense, sleep, death, dreams, the furies, &c. are called her children.

\t. A black cock was the oflTering commonly presented to her. A black sheep was
also offered to her as mother of the Furies.

2 u. According to the descriptions of poets, and in some representations by art, she
is exhibited as enveloped in a long dark robe, with her head covered whh a veil spangled
whh stars. Sometimes she has black wings, or is drawn in a chariot by two horses with
a retinue of stars.

3. Pausanias describes a statue of Nox, holding in her right hand a whhe child, and
a black child in her left, representing sleep and death ; thus she appears in our Plate
XXXVI. She has also been described as a woman wiih her face veiled in black,
crowned with poppies, and in a chariot drawn by owls and bats. In fig. 2 of Plate
XIV., drawn from an ancient engraved gem, she holds a veil over her head, and three
stars appear above it. In plate XLI. she makes a more splendid appearance with a
large spangled veil, and a torch inverted ; thus she is painted in an ancient illuminated
manuscript.

§ 77. (6) Iris. By the name of '^Iptj was designated among the Greeks the
rainbow, as personified and imagined a goddess. Her father was said to be
Thaumas, and her mother Electra, one of the daughters of Oceanus. Her
residence was near the throne of Juno, whose commands she bore as messengei
to the rest of the gods and to mortals. Sometimes, but rarely, she was Jupiter'!<
messenger, and was employed even by other deities.

1. Being the messenger of Juno, she was not unfrequently sent on errands of strilo
and discord ; \yhence some have thought her name derived from f'ptf, strife. Others
derive it from upoi, to sjpeak or declare.

2 u. She had also sometimes in reference to dying females an oflSce, which was
usually assigned to Proserpine, to cut off their hair, "and thereby effect their dissolution.
Virg. lEn. iv. 693, 704. The rainbow was the path by which she descended from
Olympus and returned thitlier.

3. She is represented with wings having the various colors of the rainbow, and often
appears sitting behind Juno as waiting to execute her commands. In the Sup. Plate



116 GREEK AND R03IAN MYTHOLOGY.

20, she appears descending on a cloud. In the Sup. Plate 7, she is seen with Mercury
and Hebe, attending on Jupiter and Juno.

§ 78. (7) ^^olus. Under the name of ^olus both Greeks and Romans
worshiped a god and ruler of winds and storms. He was called the son of
Jupiter, sometimes of Neptune, and by others, of Hippotes, an ancient lord of
the Lipari Isles. From Jupiter he received his authority over the winds, which
had previously been formed into mythical persons, and were known by the
names Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus, and Eurus, and were afterwards considered
the servants of iEolus.

1 u. He held them imprisoned in a cave of an island in the Blediterranean sea, and
let them loose only to further his own designs or those of others, in awakening storms,
hurricanes and floods. (Cf. Horn. Odyss. x. 1. — -Virg. JEn. i. 52.J He is usually de-
scribed by the poets as virtuous, upright, and friendly to strangers.

2. The name JEolus is thought to have come from acoXoj, changeahle. — The island
where iEolus is said to have reigned was Strongyle (SrpoyyiSATj), so called on account of
its round figure, the modern Stromholi.

See Hsyne, Excurs. ad Xn. i. 51.— Cf. Pliny, N. H. iii. 8.

3. In the Sup. Plate 19, are two engravings marked as representations of JEolns. In one, a
vigorous man supporting himself in the air by wings is blowing into a shell trumpet like a Triton,
while his short mantle is waving in the wind ; this is from a bas-relief on an altar, fjund near
Nettnno in Italv, with the inscription ^ra Ventoram ; and it probably is n)erely the representa-
tion of one of the winds, perhaps Eurus ; cf. $ lOSb. — In the other, we have a fragment of a
square stone, which originally contained in bas-relief a representation of the circle of the Zodiac
with its twelve signs, which were sculptured within the circle; on the outer edge of the circle
appear the busts of Jupiter, Diana, Mercury, and Venus ; in the corner is the bust of a man with
wings on the forehead, blowing with inflated cheeks, which probably represents one of the four
principal winds, the other corners of the piece having had each a wind represented in it.

See Montfaucon, Aniiq. Expl. vol. i. plate ccxxiv.

- § 79. (8) Pan. One of the most singular of the inferior gods, was Pan,
whose worship was universally regarded. He was the god of shepherds and.
herdsmen, of groves and fields, and whatever pertained to rural affairs. His
worship was probably derived from the Egyptians. He was said to be the son
of Mercury and Dryope; but his genealogy was variously stated. His favorite
residence was in the woods and mountains of Arcadia. From his love to
Syrinx, who was changed into a reed', he formed his shepherd-pipe out of seven
reeds, and called it by her name. His pride in this invention led him into his
unlucky contest with Apollo^. He also invented a war-trumpet, whose sound
was terrific to the foe ; a circumstance^ which gave rise to the phrase, panic
fear or terror {yiavixov Ssifia).

1 Oo. Metam. i. 682. a lb. x. 146. 3 Pausan. Phoc. c. 23.

§ 80. Pan was originally, among the Egyptians, worshiped in the form of a
goat, and under the name of Mendes^ In Greece, Arcadia was especially
sacred to him, and here he is said to have given oracles on Mount Lycaeus.
His festivals, called Auxata by the Greeks, were introduced by Evander among
the Romans, and by them called Lupercalia^. Goats, honey, and milk were
the usual oflferings to Pan.

1 Hirod. ii. 46. a Ov. Fast. ii. 31, 267.

1 ji. His Greek name IIoj', signifying the whole or all, had reference to the circum-
stance thai he was considered the god of all the natural world ; or, according to others,
it was derived from tocj {to feed), and referred to his patronage of shepherds and their
flocks. The Romans called him hkewise Inuus, Lupercus, Moenalius, and Lycseus.

2. "The figure of Pan (cf Sil. Ital. xiii. 326) is a rude symbol of the universe, and he appears
to have been originally a personification of the ^nima JMundi, or terrestrial soul, by which some
ancient nations believed that the entire universe was directed."— This god does not appear in
the poems of Homer or Hesiod.

3 ?<. His image was generally human only in part, having commonly the form of a
satyr, with ears sharp-pointed and standing erect, with short horns, a flat nose, a body
covered with hair or spotted, and the feet and legs of a goat.

4. Such is his image in Plate XIV. fig. 4, and in Sup. Plate 15 ; in both of which he has
in one hand a crooked stafl^and in the other a pipe of reeds, and an amphora lies beside
him. Ip some representations, his head was crowned with pine, which was sacred
to him.

§ 8 . (9) Latona. She was called Arrw by the Greeks, and held a distin-
g-uished place as mother of Apollo and Diana, and on this account was often
ranked among the superior deities. She was daughter of Cceus or Polus and



p. II. INFERIOR GODS. THEMIS. ^SCULAPIUS. 117

Phoebe, and one of the objects of Jupiter's love. The jealousy and anger of
Juno was excited against her, and she adjured the goddess of earth to allow
Latona no place to bring forth her offspring. Neptune, however, granted the
island Delos for the purpose. But here she found no sure asylum, and fled to
Lycia, where* she was hindered from quenching her thirst at a lake by some
peasants. These offenders were in return changed into frogs. — Still more
severe was her vengeance in the case of Niobe^, a daughter of Tantalus and
wife of Amphion king of Thebes. Niobe slighted the divinity of Latona, and
the latter engaged both her children, Apollo and Diana, to avenge her ; they, by
their arrows, slew the seven sons and seven daughters of Niobe, who by grief
was changed into stone.

1 Ov. Metam. vi. 335. 2 Qv. Metam. xi. 321. See also § 38.

§ 82. This goddess was honored particularly in Lycia, on the island Delos,
at Athens, and in many of the Grecian cities. In Crete a festival was sacred
to her, called 'Ex8vata.

1 u. Latona is sometimes spoken of as the goddess of night ; and it is possible that
her name originated in this idea, derived from XfjBcj, to be concealed, as narure was
buried in profound darkness before the birth of the Sun and Moon or Apollo and Diana.

2. She is usually represented as a large and comely woman with a black veil, so
painted, or in engraved gems expressed by a dark-colored vein in the stone.

§83. (10) Themis. The goddess of justice (0£|U's) was one of the most
celebrated of the Titanides, or daughters of Uranus and Titsea. To her is
ascribed the first uttering of oracles, and also the first introduction of sacrifices
into Greece. She had by Jupiter three daughters, AtV/^, 'En'o^uta, and 'Etpj^vj;,
which were commonly called the Horse ("Opat), who are represented by the
poets in various lights, but particularly as goddesses presiding over the division
and distribution of time (§ 105). Astraea also was by some called a daughter
of Themis.

1 u. Astrasa M'as likewise a goddess of justice, or rather of property; and, according
to Ovid's account (Ivlet. i. 149), was the last of the divinhies to quit, the earth. She
was placed among the constellations of the Zodiac under the name of Virgo, anciently
called Erigone.

2. Astraea, who according to some was the daughter of Titan and Aurora, was represented
(cf. Aul. Gell. Noct. Att. xiv. 4) as a virgin with a stern countenance, holding in one hand a pair
of balances, and in the other a sword or scepter or a long rod or spear; thus she appears in the
Sup. Plate 18, drawn from an engraved gem.

3 u. There was still another goddess, Nemesis, 'Sejjiang, who was supposed to judge
respecting moral actions, and to exercise vengeance towards unrighteousness. She was
called Adrastia sometimes, from the circumstance that Adrastus first erected a temple
to her, and also Rhamnusia from having a temple at Rhamnusin the territory of Attica.

4. At her temple in Rhamnus was a large and beautiful statue, ranked among the best works
of Phidias. — In Plate XXXVI. are two representations of Nemesis, from ancient gems ; in each
the wheel appears at her feet ; in one she has wings, and holds in one hand a branch with a
ribin attached; in the other representation she holds a rod or scepter.

See Herder's Zerstreuten Blitlern, Samml. 2. p. 213.

§ 84. (11) JEsculapius. In proportion as men in the early ages were igno-
rant of the efficacy and use of remedies for disease, there was the greater ad-



Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 26 of 153)