Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

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

. (page 27 of 153)
Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 27 of 153)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


miration of those who were distinguished in the art of healing, and the greater
readiness to deify them. Hence the deification of ^Esculapius, who was
viewed as the god of Medicine, and said to be the son of Apollo and the nymph
Coronis^ Hygeia, the goddess of health, was called his daughter, and two
celebrated physicians belonging to the age of the Trojan w^ar, Machaon and
Podalirius, were called his sons, and honored like him after their death, ^s-
culapius was killed with a thunderbolt by Jupiter, at the request of Pluto. His
most celebrated grove and temple was at Epidaurus*, where he was worshiped
under the form of a serpent.

» Ou. Metam. ii. 591. 2 Qo. Met. xt. 622.

1. The ruins of the temple at Epidaurus are still visible at the place now called Jero, pro-
nounced Yero, a corruption perhaps of '\Epdv (sacra eedes). There were at this ancient seat of
ttie god of health medical springs and wells, which may yet be traced.

Ciarne't Travels, part ii. sect. 2. ch. xv.—Fteret, Culte rendu a ^Isculapius, in the Mem. Acad. Inscr. xxi. 28.

2 u. The serpent was usually attached as a symbol to the image of this god, eithe
free or wound about a staff, expressing the idea of health, or prudence and foresight.



118 GREEK AND ROMAN MYTHOLOGY.

3. In Plate XIV. fig. 6, ^sculapius holds in one hand a round vase or patera, from which a
eerpent is eating. In the Sup. Plate 21, he is seen as presented in an ancient statue delineated
in Montfaucon ; on his left is the trunk of a tree, around which the serpent winds ; on his right
stands Telesphorus, who was said to be a son of ^sculapius, and was considered as the god of
convalescents; Telesphorus appears here, as in all representations of him, in a robe covering
his arms and whole body, with a hood upon his head, .^sculapius and Telesphorus appear to-
gether thus on a coin of Caracalla.

4. Hygeia may be considered as the same with the Roman goddess of health, Salus.
The Roinans honored Salus with a temple and festivals. One of the city-gates, being
near her temple, was called Porta Salutaris. She was represented with a bowl in
her right hand and a serpent in her left. Her altar had a serpent twining round it and
lifting his head upon it.

In Sup. Plate 21, we have a representation of Hygeia from a beautiful statue ; she sits on a
rock, with one hand raised and holding a scepter, and the other holding a bowl, towards which
a large serpent is advancing his head over her lap.

§ 85. (12) Plutus. The god of riches, Uvmvto?, was probably of allegorical
rather than mythical origin, since his name in Greek is but the common term
for wealth. His father, according to the fable, was Jasion, a son of Jupiter by
Electra, and his mother was Ceres, who gave him birth in a beautiful region in
Crete. Jupiter, as it was allegorically represented, deprived him of sight, and
his usual residence was low beneath the earth. — By some Plutus is considered
as the same personage as Pluto, ruler of the world of spirits, and this may
have been the case.

1 ?<. Tt is not known by what figure he was visibly represented. Pausanias barely
remarks, that in the temple of Fortune at Thebes, he appeared in the form of an infant
in the arms of that goddess, and at Athens the goddess of Peace held him as an infant
in her arms.

2. " Plutus was blind and lame, injudicious, and mighty timorous. He is lame, be-
cause large estates come slowly. He is fearful and timorous, because rich men watch
their treasures with a great deal of \ear and care."

§ 86. (13) Fortune. Of a like allegorical character was the goddess o^ For-
tune. Tv%y;, Fortuna, to whom was ascribed the distribution and the superin-
tendence of prosperity and adversity in general. Among the Greeks she had
temples at Elis, Corinth, and Smyrna; and in Italy, before the building of
Rome, she was honored at Antium, and especially at Praeneste. The Romans
made her worship in general very splendid, and gave her various epithets ori-
ginating from different occasions; as Fortuna Publica, Equestris, Bona, Blanda,
Virgo, Virilis, Muliebris, &c.

1 n. In the temple at Aniium were two statues of Fortune, which were consulted as
oracles, and gave answer by winks and nods of the head, or by means of the lot.
Siiralar divinations were practiced also at Praeneste, where her temple was one of the
richest and most celebrated.

See Horace, Odes, 1. i. od. 35. (Ad Fortunam) — Of. P. III. § 222.

2. " The goddess of Fortune is represented on ancient monuments whh a horn of
plenty and sometimes two in her hands. She is blindfolded, and generally holds a
wheel in her hand as an emblem of her inconstancy. Sometimes she appears with
wings, and treads upon the prow of a ship, and holds a rudder in her hands."

Her image in Plate XIV. fig. 9, is taken from an Imperial coin ; in her left hand is a horn of
plenty ; her right rests upon a rudder ; a wheel is behind her. In the Sup. Plate 18, she appears
without the wheel, with the images of the sun and moon on her head.

§ 87. (14) Fame. The goddess styled ^r;urj, or Fama, was also of allego-
rical origin. Virgil calls her the youngest daughter of Earth, who gave birth
to this child, in revenge for the overthrow of her sons, the Giants ; in order
that she might divulge universally the scandalous conduct of Jupiter and the
other gods. She had a place in the Greek Theogony, and was honored with a
temple at Athens. She was viewed as the author and spreader of reports both
good and bad.

1 a. The poets represented her as having wings, always awake, always flying about,
accompanied by vain fear, groundless joy, falsehood and creduUty.

Cf. Virg ^u. if. 173.— Ou. Met. xii. 39.-S/<H. Theb. iii. 426.

2. In the Sup. Plate 18, is a representation of Fame with her wings extended as just ready to
flv, with her finger pointing upwards.

^ 88. (15) Deities peculiar to the Greehs. Athough generally the same deities were
common to the Greeks and Romans, each nation had some peculiar to itself. These
nnist be included in the class of Inferior Gods. Those pecuUar to the Greeks were



P II, INFERIOR GODS. DEITIES PECULIAR TO ROMANS. 119

less numerous and important than those pecuhar to the Romans ; and nearly all of them
may be reduced under one or other of the four following divisions.

1. Places, rivers, mountains, &lc., personified. Almost every important city was
converted into a goddess, whose image was placed on its coins. Almost every river and
stream also was made into a god, of whom some fabulous tale was related; thus Al-
pheus is said to have pursued the nymph Arethusa from Greece to Sicily.

2. Eminent personages deified. The most important of the deities belonging to this
division would come under the class denominated Heroes ; although many of them are
seldom if ever thus classed, as Orpheus, Homer, Trophonius, &-c. ; besides many of
later times,

3. Virtues and vices personified. The Greeks did not carry such personifications so
far as the Romans ; yet imaginary deities were thus formed, and altars were erected to
them in Athens and other chies. Some deified among the Greeks are not distinctly
named among the Romans ; e. g. Chance, 'Avroixaria ; Voracity, 'A66r]ipayia ; Lust,
under the name of KoTv-rru), Cotyito, a notorious prostitute.

4. Particular pursuits and conditions of life ascribed to some guardian spirit. Thus,
'Epydi'r] designated a goddess of weaving, distinct from Minerva, to whom this term is
applied. 'Emo, the goddess of tear, nearly corresponded to the Roman Bellona ; and
Kw/iOf, the god C){ feasting, and Mw/ioj, the god oi jesting, are recognized in the Latin
Comus and Momus.

% &9. (16) Deities peculiar to the Romans, These may be arranged under the fol-
lowing divisions :

1. Places, rivers, &c., personified. — 2. Pursuits and conditions of life ascribed to
guardian spirits. — 3. Eminent persons, especially emperors, deified. — 4. Virtues and
vices personified. — 5. Foreign deities introduced.

§ 90. Of the first division, Pl o m a and T i b e r are the principal. Roma was honored
by the Romans with temples, sacrifices, and annual festivals, and is one of the most
common figures on their medals.

In Plate TI. is a splendid representation of the goddess Roma, from a painting formerly belong-
in? to the Barberini family. — In the same Plate is given also a representation of the Tiber as a
god.— For simDar representations of Italy, Judea, the Danube, &c., see PI. XLII.; cf. P. IV. $ 139 2.

% SI. In the second, various rural deities are particularly to be noticed.

\ u. Terminus. In order to express and render still more sacred the rights of
property and the obligations of fixed boundaries in landed possessions, the Romans in-
vented a god, who had it for his peculiar province to guard and protect them, called Ter-
mi7uus. His statue, in the form of those called HermcB^ was employed usually to mark
the limits of fields. Numa first introduced this usage, and ordained a particular festi-
val, the Terminalia, which was celebrated in the month of February by the occupants
and proprietors of contiguous lands^. Upon these occasions offerings were presented to
the god on the boundaries or separating lines. He had a temple on the Tarpeian rock.
— Oftentimes the statues of other gods, particularly the rural, were placed in the form
of Hermae, to mark the limits of landed property, and Jupiter himself was sometimes
represented under the name of Terminus, or received the ephhet Terminalis,

1 See § 56. P. tV. § 164. 2. 3 Cf. Ovid, Fast. ii. 639.

2 M. Priapus. The Romans ranked PWapjis among the deities whose province
was the protection of fields and cultivated grounds. His image was usually placed in
gardens {Hor. 1. i. sat. 8), which were considered as more particularly his care.

Images of Priapus were sometimes worn as a sort of amulet (fascinum) to guard against evil
charms, and hung upon the doors of houses and gardens. The god whose special province It
was to protect from the charm of the evil eye was named Fascinus.—Plin. Hist. Nat. xix. 4.
xxiv. 4.-See P. III. $ 227. 3.

Priapus is usually represented with a human face and the ears of a goat; he has a sickle or
scythe to prune the trees and cut down the corn, and a club to keep off thieves ; his body termi-
nates in a shapeless trunk. — An ass was generally sacrificed to him.

Representations of Priapus are given in Plate XLV. and in the Sup. Plate 23. In the latter,
with an extended arm he holds a bell in his hand. In the former, which is from a large anaglyph
or bas-relief given by Montfaucon after Boissard, we may observe the rites practiced at the fes-
tival of this god. It is celebrated by women ; two priestesses are close by the statue, one of
whom is pouring water or some other liquid upon the image from a bottle; four others are
engaged in sacrificing an ass ; behind the animal stand two others in peculiar costume, one
holding apparently a sistrnrn, the other a bowl or round vase ; on the left of the statue are tw(»
women playing on the double tibia, and others bearing baskets of fruit and flowers and vessels
of wine ; on the right are two playing on the tympanum, one dressed like a bacchanal with a
child on her neck, and others with their offerings of fruit, flowers, and wine.

3 m. Vertumnus. Under this name an old Italian prince, who probably intro-
duced the art of gardening, was honored after death as a god. The Romans considered
him as specially presiding over the fruit of trees. His wife was Pomona, one of the
Hamadryads (cf. ^ 101), a goddess of gardens and fruits, whose love he gained at last
after changing hirnself into many forms, from which circumstance his name (Of. Met.
xiv. 623) was derived. This goddess is represented on some monuments of ancien^
art, and is designated by a basket of fruit placed near or borne by her.

" Vertumnus is generally represented as a young man, crowned with flowers, covered up lo



120 GREEK AND ROMAN MYTHOLOGY.

the waist, and holding in his right hand fruit, and a crown of plenty in the left."— In the Sup.
Plate 23, the horn is in his left hand, and the fruit in his right; he is fully draped, with the head
and leg of a swine hanging from his shoulder. This may be supposed to correspond to his statue
mentioned by Cicero {Verr. i.) and by Horace (Epis. 20) as standing in a street of Rome.

In the same Plate is a representation of Pomima, from an ancient monument; she is without
drapery, holding a flower in one hand and a melon in the other, resting against the trunk of a
tree, from which a basket of fruit is suspended.

4 7i. Flora. The Romans had also a particular goddess of blossoms and flowers,
whom they worshiped under the name of Flora. She is said to have been the same as
the Grecian nymph Chloris; although others maintain, that she was originally but a
Roman courtezan. But this goddess seems not to have been wholly unknown to the
Greeks, since Phny (N. H. xxxvi. 5) speaks of a statue of her made by Praxiteles.
She was represented as very youthful, and richly adorned with flowers. She had a
festival and games at Rome, celebrated (Ou. Fast. v. 283) in the month of April, called
Floralia; they presented scenes of unbounded licentiousness.

The indecency of this festival was checked on one occasion by the presence of Cato, who chose
however to retire rather than witness it {Valer. Max. ii. 10). By some the festival is said to
have been instituted in honor of an infamous woman by the name of Flora.

In our Plate XIV. fig. 5, Flora is represented with a garland of flowers on her head, and a
horn of plenty on her left arm ; as she appears in several antiques. In Sup. Plate 23, she is
given from a beautiful statue, once at Rome, and copied by Le Brunj not however ideutieal
with the celebrated Flora Farnese (cf P. IV. § 186. 11).

5u. F e r o n i a. Another goddess of fruits, nurseries, and groves, among the Ro-
mans, was Feronia. She had a very rich temple on Mount Soracte, where also was a
grove specially sacred to her. She was honored as the patroness of enfranchised slaves
(P. III. § 324), who ordinarily received their hberty in her temple. It was pretended
that the real votaries of this goddess could walk unhurt on burning coals. Her name
was derived according to some from a town, called Feronia, near Mt. Soracte: accord-
ing to others, from the idea of her hrhiging relief (fero) to the slave ; or from that of
her producing trees, or causing them to bear fruit.

6u. Pales. Another goddess of the same class, was Pales (from pabulum), to
whom was assigned the care of pasturage and the feeding of flocks. In her honor a
rural festival {Ov. Fast. iv. 721) was held in the month of April, called PaZt'Zia or
Farilia.

On the festival of Pales the shepherds placed little heaps of straw in a particular order and at
a certain distance; then they danced and leaped over them; then they purified the sheep and
the rest of the cattle with the fume of rosemary, laurel, sulphur, and the like. The design was
to appease the goddess, that she might drive away the wolves, and to prevent the diseases inci-
dent to cattle. Milk, and wafers made of millet, were offered to her, that she inight render the
pastures fruitful. Pales is represented as an old lady, surrounded by shepherds.

7. Numerous other rural gods and goddesses of inferior character were recognized
by the Romans. Among the minor rural goddesses, we find Buhona, having the care
of oxen; Seia or Segeiia, having the care of seed planted in the earth ; Hippona, pre-
siding over horses; Collina, goddess of hills; Vallonia, empress of the valleys; Run-
cina, the goddess of weeding; Volusia, with several other goddesses, who watch over
the corn in its successive steps to maturity (cf. <i 5. 3) ; Mellona, the goddess who in-
vented the art of making honey. Among the male deities of the same class, we find
Occator, the god of harrowing ; Stercutius, the inventor of manuring ; and Pilumnus,
the inventor of the art of kneading and baking bread.

^ 92 u. In the latter period of the Republic and during the first ages of the Empire,
the Roman system of divinities was greatly augmented. Almost every professio7i and
employment and condition in hfe had its tutelar god or gods, whose names thus became
iniiumerable, but who never obtained a universal worship. For a knowledge of these,
we are mainly indebted to the writings of the Christian Fathers, especially Augustinus
ide Civitate Dei, 1. iv.), against polytheism. To this class belong, for example, Bellona,
the goddess of war, corresponding in some degree to 'Ei/uw among the Greeks (§ 46) ;
Juturna, the goddess of succor ; Anculi and Anculcs, deities presiding over servants ;
Vacuna, goddess of leisure ; Strenua, goddess of diligence ; Laverna, goddess of
theft; Cunina, goddess of cradles, &c.

Diseases were e.Kalted into deities. Fehris (fever), e. g. had her altars and temple, and was
worshiped that she might not hurt; and so of others of this species.— .Mep/ufis was goddess of
noxious exhalations. Tac. Hist. iii. 33.

^ 93. Here we should mention Victoria, a deity of much consideration at Rome.
The hall of the senate was adorned by her altar, and a statue in which she appears ps
" a majestic female, standing on a globe, with flowing garments, expanded wings, and
a crown of laurel in her out-stretched hand." The senators were sworn on the ahar
of this goddess to observe the laws of the empire. A contest arose between the pagans
and the Christians on this subject,, the latter finally effecting the removal of this altar
of Victory.

See PTude.ntiui, Advers. Symmaclium, cf. P. V. § 387.

In our Plate XIV. fig. 10, and in the Sup. Plate 18, Victory is seen as represented in the statue
mentioned above.



PLATE XIV.




122 GREEK AND ROMAN MYTHOLOGY.

9iti. D eified Emperors. To the gods already mentioned, we may add those
which were constituted by the apotheosis of the emperors and their favorites. I'hiis
a Caesar, an Augustus, a Claudius, an Antinous, and others, were elevated to the
rank of gods. Sometimes this was done in their liietime by the vilest adulation, but
more frequently after death, in order to flatter their descendants.

It would probably be as proper to rank the deified emperors (cf. $ 133) in the fourth class of
our division. They should be mentioned in this place, however, as belonging strictly to the
number of the Roman divinities, in distinction from Greek.

§95m. Virtues and Vices. The poets were accustomed to give a pei;sonal re-
presentation to abstract ideas, especially to moral quahties, to virtues and vices ; and
in this way originated a multitude of divinities purely allegorical, which were, how-
ever, sometimes mingled with the mythological, and were honored whh temples,
rites, and significant images and symbols. Such were Virtus, Honor, Pietas, In-
vidia, Fraus, and the like.

Virtus was worshiped in the habit of an elderly woman sitting on a square stone. — The tem-
ple of: Honor stood close by that of Virtus, and was approached by it. The priests sacrificed to
Honor with bare heads.

The temple of Fides (good faith) stood near the Capitol. The priests in sacrificing to her
eovered th^r hands and heads with a white cloth. Her symbol was a white dog, or two hands
joined, and sometimes two virgins shaking hands.

The temple of Spes (hope) was in the herb-market. Her image is on some of the coins. She
is in the form of a woman standing, with her left hand holding lightly the skirts of her garments,
and in her right a plate, with a sort of cup on it fashioned to the likeness of a flower ; with thi8
inscription, Spes P. R. Similar to this is her appearance in Plate XIV. fig. 8, drawn from a
medal of Titus.

A temple to Pietas was dedicated in the place where that woman lived who fed with the milk
of her own breasts her mother in prison. Cf. Plin. N. H. vii. c. 36.

Concordia had many altars. Her image held a bowl in the right hand, and a horn of plenty in
the left. Such is her appearance, silting on a chair of state, in Plate XIV. fig. 11, taken from a
consular coin. Her symbol was two hands joined together and a pomegranate.

In the later periods of Rome, Paz had a very magnificent temple in the Forum, finished by
Vespasian. The goddess of peace or security is often represented on Imperial coins. In Plate
XIV. fig. 12, from a coin of Tiius, she appears as a woman resting on a column, with a spike of
wheat in the left hand, and a scepter like the wand of Mercury in the right, lield over a tripod.

Fraus was represented with a human face and a serpent's body j in the end of her tail was a
scorpion's sting.

Invidia is described as a meager skeleton, dwelling in a dark and gloomy cave, and feeding on
snakes. Ov. Metam. ii. 761.

§ 96. Foreign Gods. It is proper to notice here some Egyptian deities, whose
worship was partially introduced at Rome.

1. Osiris. He is said to have been the son of Jupiter by Niobe, and to have ruled
first over the Argives, and afterwards, leaving them, to have become an illustrious
king of the Egyptians. His wife was Isis, who is by many said to be the same with
the lo, daughter of Inachus, who was according to the fables changed by Jupiter into
a cow\ Osiris was at length slain by Typhon, and his corpse concealed in a chest and
thrown into the Nile. Isis, after much search, by the aid of keen-scented dogs found
the body, and placed it in a monument on an island near Memphis. The Egyptians
paid divine honor to his memory, and chose the ox to represent him, because as some
say a large ox appeared to them after the body of Osiris was interred, or accordmg to
others, because Osiris had instructed them in agriculture.

Osiris was cenerally represented with a cap on his head like a mitre, with two horns ; he held
a stick in his left hand, and in his right a whip with three thongs. Sometimes he appears with
the head of a hawk.

In the Sup. Plate 26, are two engravings marked as representations of Osiris. The first is ac-
cording to a colossal statue, dug up at Rome, and taken by some for an Isis. The second is from
another sculpture, and shows the hawk's head. In Plate XV. he is seen in a sitting posture.—
Cf jyiontfaucnn. Ant. Exp. vol. 2. p. 278, 290.— The image of a hawk wilh a vessel on its head, and
that of the ibis with a serpent in its bill, have been taken by some as emblems of Osiris; see
Plate Vlll.

2. Isis. She was the wife of Osiris. lo after her metamorphosis is said, after
wandering over the earth, to have come to the banks of the Nile, and there she was
restored to the form of a woman. She reigned after her husband's murder, and was
deified by the Egyptians. The cow was employed as her symbol, but more commonly
the sislrum.

Isis is often represented as holding a globe in her hand, wilh a vessel full of ears of corn. Her
body sometimes appears enveloped in a sort of net. On some monuments she holds in her lap a
child, her son Horns, who is also ranked among the deities of Egypt.

In the Sup. Plate 26, she is seen holding her son, on whose head is a cap surmounted by a
giobe ; her own head is formed into that of a cow, with a hawk on the forehead, surmounted by
a singular cap. In Plate XV. she is seen as represented on the Isiac Table. In the same Plate
Ilorus is given as found on that Table.

Some have considered Osiris and Isis as representing the sun and the moon. Their story is by others viewed as corre-iponding
to that of Venus and Adonis. (Of Knight's Enquiry, &c.) — Some resemblances have been pointed out between Isis and Isa. a deity
of 'be Hindoos, and Disa, a goddess worshiped among the northern tribes of Europe (cf. Tac Germ. 9).— See Creuzer's Symbolik.

The Egyotians had numerous festivals which were connected with the fables re



p. II INFERIOR GODS. FOREIGN GODS. 123

specting Isis and Osiris. The chief festival adopted by the Romans was termed the
Isia ; which lasted niiie days, and was attended with such Ucentiousness as to be at
length prohibited by the senate.

The Isiac Table is a curious monument, which receives its name from its being supposed to
represent the mysteries of Isis. The original was obtained at Rome, A. D. 1525, and came after
some time into the cabinet of the duke of iMantna, where it remained until the pillage of that
city, A. D. 1630; it is said to be now (18:^9) in the royal gallery at Turin. It is described as a
tablet of copper or bronze, "altnost four feet long, and of pretty near the same breadth ;" and
"covered with silver mosaic, skilfully inlaid ;" "the ground-work being a black enamel." It
is divided into three equal compartments by two horizontal lines of hieroglyphics ; the middle



Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 27 of 153)