William Smith.

A smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... online

. (page 88 of 90)
Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 88 of 90)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the nine days occupied in hearing evidenoe
were over, Verres quitted the city in despair,
and was condemned in his absence. He
retired to Marseilles, retaining so many of
his treasures of art as to cause eventually his
proscription by M. Antony in 43.

VERTlCORDIA. [Venus.] •

said to have been an Etruscan divinity, but
this story seems to be refuted by his genuine
Roman name; viz. from verto^ to change.
The Romans connected Vertunmus with all
occurrences to which the verb verto applies,
such as the change of seasons, purchase and
sale, the return of rivers to their proper beds,
&c. But in reality the god was connected
only with the transformation of plants and
their progress trova. blossom to fruit. Hence
the story, that when Vertunmus was in love
with Pomona, he assumed all possible forms,
until at last he gained his end by metamor.
phosing himself into a blooming youtb«

Digitized by





Oardenen accordingrlj offered to him the
first produce of their gardens and garlands
of budding flowers. The whole people cele-
brated a festival to Vertumnus on the 23rd
of August, under the name of the Vortum-
nalia, denoting the transition from the beau-
tiful season of autumn to the less ag^reeable one.
The importance of the worship of Vertumnus
at Rome is evident from the fact, that it was
attended to by a special flamen (fiamen VoT'

Vertumnui. (Mtu<e Bouillon, voL 8, pi. 14.)

VERULAE (-arum : Veroli)t a town of the
Hemici in Latium, S.E. of Aletrium, and N.
of Frusino, subsequently a Roman colony.

VERULAMIUM. [Verolamixjii.]

VfiRUS (-i), L. AURELIUS, the colleague
of M. Aurelius in the empire, a.d. 161 — 169.
He was adopted by M. Antonius, and on his
death succeeded to the empire along with
M. Aurelius. The history of his reign is
given under Avbblivs. Verus died suddenly
at Altinum in the country of the Veneti, to-
wards the close of 169.

VE8CINUS AGER, a district of the Au-
mnci, in Latium.

VESEVUS. [Vesuvius.]

^^SONTIO (-onis: JBeaanfon)^ the chief
town of the Sequani in Gallia Belgica, situated
on the river Dubis (Dottbs)^ which flowed
around the town, with the exception of a
space of 600 feet, on which stood a moun-
tain, forming the citadel of the town.

VESPASIANUS (-i), T. flAvius sabI-
NUS, Roman emperor, a.d. 70 — 79, was
born on the 17th of November, a.d. 9. His
father was a man of mean condition, of Reate,
In the country of the Sabini. His mother,

Vespasia Polla, was the daughter of a prae-
fectus castrorum, and the sister of a Roman
senator. Vespasian served as tribunus mili-
tum in Thrace, and was quaestor in Crete
and Cyrene. He was afterwards aedile and
praetor. About this time he took to wife
Flavia Domitilla, the daughter of a Roman
eques, by whom he had 2 sons, both of
whom succeeded him. In the reign of
Claudius he was sent into Germany as legatus
legionis ; and in 43 he held the same com-
mand in Britain, and reduced the Isle of
Wight. He was consul in 51, and proconsul
of Africa under Nero. He was at this time
very poor, and was accused of getting money
by dishonourable means. But he had a great
military reputation, and he was liked by the
soldiers. Nero afterwards sent him to the
East (66), to conduct the war against the
Jews. His conduct of this war raised his
reputation, and when the war broke out
between Otho and Vitellius, Vespasian was
proclaimed emperor at Alexandria on the
Ist of July 69, and soon after all through
the East. He came to Rome in the follow-
ing year (70), leaving his son Titus to con-
tinue the war against the Jews. On his
arrival at Rome, he worked with great in-
dustry to restore order in the city and in the
empire. The simplicity and frugality of his
mode of life formed a striking contrast with
the profusion and luxury of some of his
predecessors, and his example is said to have
/one more to reform the morals of Rome
than all the laws which had ever been
enacted. He was never ashamed of the
meanness of his origin, and ridiculed all
attempts to make out for him a distinguished
genealogy. He is accused of avarice, and
of a taste for low humour. Yet it is admit-
ted that he was liberal in all his expenditure
for purposes of public utility. In 71 Titus
returned to Rome, and both father and son
triumphed together on account of the con-
quest of the Jews. The reign of Vespasian
was marked by few striking events. The
most important was the conquest of North
Wales and the island of Anglesey by Agricola,
who was sent into Britain in 78. In the
summer of 79 Vespasian, whose health was
failing, went to spend some time at his pa-
ternal house in the mountains of the Sabini,
and expired on the 24th of June in that year,
at the age of 69.

VESTA (-ae), one of the great Roman
divinities, identical with the Greek Hestia
[Hestia]. She was the goddess of the hearth,
and therefore inseparably connected with
the Penates; for Aeneas was believed to
have brought the etetrnal fire of Vesta from
Troy, along with the images of the Penates ;

Digitized by





and the praetors, consuls, and dictators,
before entering upon their oflacial functions,
sacrificed, not only to the Penates, but also
to Vesta at Lavinium. In the ancient Ko-
man house, the hearth was the central part,
and around it all the inmates daily assem-
bled for their common meal {coena) ; every
meal thus taken -was a fresh bond of union
and affection among the members of a family,
and at the same time an act of worship of
Vesta, combined with a sacrifice to her and
the Penates. Every dwelling-house therefore
was, in some sense, a temple of Vesta ; but
a public sanctuary united all the citizens of
the state into one large family. This sanc-
tuary stood in the Forum, between the Capi-
toline and Palatine hills, and not far from
the temple of the Penates. The goddess was
noV represented in her temple by a statue,
but the eternal fire burning on her hearth
or altar was her living symbol, and was kept
up and attended to by the Vestals, her virgin
priestesses, who were chaste and pure like
the goddess herself. Respecting their duties
and obligations,, see Diet, of Antig. art.
Vestalea. On the 1st of March in every year
the sacred fire of Vesta, and the laurel tree
which shaded her hearth, were renewed, and
on the 15th of June her temple was cleaned
and purified. The dirt was carried into an
angiportus behind the temple, which was
locked by a gate that no one might enter it.
The day on which this took place was a dies
nefastuSy the first half of which was thought
to be so inauspicious, that the priestess of
Juno was not allowed to comb her hair or to
cut her nails, while the second half was very
favourable to contracting a marriage or en-
tering upon other important undertakings.
A few days before that solemnity, on the 9th
of Jime, the Vestalia were celebrated in ho-
nour of the goddess, on which occasion none
but women walked to the temple, and that
with bare feet.

VESTINI (-orum), a Sabellian people in
central Italy, lying between the Apennines
and the Adriatic sea, and separated from
Picenum by the river Matrinus, and from
the Marrucini by the river Aternus. They
were conquered by the Romans, b.c. 328,
and from this time appear as the allies of

VESUVIUS (-i), also called VESEVUS,
VESBIUS, or VESVIUS, the celebrated vol-
canic mountain in Campania, rising out of
the plain S.E. of Neapolis. There are no
records of any eruption of Vesuvius before
the Christian era, but the ancient writers
were aware of Its volcanic nature from the
igneous appearance of its rocks. In a.d. 63
the volcano gave the first symptoms of agi-

tation in an earthquake, which occasioned '
considerable damage to several towns in its
vicinity ; and on the 24th of August, a.d.
79, occurred the first great eruption of Vesu-
vius, which overwhelmed the cities of Stabiae,
Herculaneum, and Pompeii. It was in this
eruption that the elder Pliny lost his life.

VETRANIO (-onis) commanded the legions
in lUyria and Pannonia, in a.d. 850, when
Constans was treacherously destroyed, and
was proclaimed emperor by his troops ; but
at the end of 1 months resigned in favoiir
of Constantius.

VETTIUS (-i), L., a Roman eques, in the
pay of Cicero in b.c. 63, to whom he gave
some valuable information respecting the
Catilinarian conspiracy. In 59 he accused
Curio, Cicero, L. LucuUus, and many other
distinguished men, of having formed a con.
spiracy to assassinate Pompey. Cicero
regarded this accusation as the work of
Caesar, who used the tribune Vatinius as his
instrument. On the day after he had given
his evidence, Vettius was found strangled in

people in the interior of Lusitanla, E. of the
Lusitani, and W. of the Carpetani, extend-
ing from the Durius to the Tagus.

or VETULONII (-drum), an ancient city of
Etruria, and one of the 12 cities of the
Etruscan confederation. From this city the
Romans are said to have borrowed the in-
signia of their magistrates — the fasces, sella
curulis, and toga praetexta — as well as the
use of the brazen trumpet in war. Its site
has been discovered within the last few years
near a small village called Maglianoy between
the river Osa and the Albegna, and about S
miles inland.

VETORIUS MAMURIUS (-i), is said to
have been the armourer who made the 1 1
ancilia exactly like the one that was sent
from heaven in the reign of Numa. His
praises formed one of the chief subjects of
the songs of the Salii.

VIADUS (-i : Oder), a river of Germany,
falling into the Baltic.



VIBO (-onis : JSivona), the Roman form
of the Gfeek town Hipponium, situated on
the S.W. coast of Bruttium, and on a gulf
called after it Sinus Vibonensis, or Hifpo-
NiATES. It is said to have been founded by
the Locrl Epizeirtiyrii ; but it was destroyed
by the elder Dionysius, who transplanted its
inhabitants to Syracuse. It was afterwards
restored ; and at a later time it fell into the
hands of the Bruttii, together with the other

Digitized by





Greek cities on this coast. It was taken
from the Bruttii by the Romans, who colo-
nised it B.C. 194, and called it Vibo Yalkn..
TiA. Cicero speaks of it as a municipium ;
and in the time of Augustus it was one of
the most flourishingr cities in the S. of Italy.

VICENTIA or VICETIA (-ae), less cor-
rectly, VINCENTIA ( Vicenza)^ a town on the
river Togisonus, in Venetia, in the N. of
Italy, and a Roman mimicipium.

VICTOR (-oris), SEX. AURElIUS, a
Latin writer, was bom of humble parents,
but rose to distinction by his zeal in the
cultivation of literature. Having attracted
the attention of Julian when at Sirmium,
he was appointed by that prince governor of
one division of Pannonia. At a subsequent
period, he was elevated by Theodosius to the
high oflicc of city praefect. He is the re-
puted author of a work entitled De Oaesaru
bus; besides which, 2 or 3 others are
ascribed to him.

VICTORIA (-ae), the personification of
victory among tiie Romans.

VICTORIA or VICTOrINA (-ae), the
mother of Victorinus, after whose death she
was hailed as the mother of camps {Mater
Castrorum) ; and coins were struck, bearing
her effigy. She transferred her power first
to Marius, and then to Tetricus.

VICTOrINUS (-1), one of the Thirty
Tyrants, was the Srd of the usurpers who in
succession ruled Gaul during the reign of
Gallicnus. He was assassinated at Agrip-
pina by one of his own officers in a.d. 268,
after reigning somewhat more than a year.

VICTRIX. [Vknus.]

VIENNA (-ae : Tiennijt the chief town of
the Allobroges in Gallia Lugdunensis, 'situ-
ated on the Rhone, S. of Lugdunum.

VIMINALIS (-is), PORTA, a gate of Rome
in the Servian walls, leading to the Via

VINDELICIA (-ae), a Roman province,
bounded on the N. by the Danube, which
separated it from Germany, on the W. by
the territory of the Helvetii in Gaul, on the
S. by Rhaetia, and on the £. by the river
Oenus (/»n), which separated it from Nori-
cum, thus corresponding to the N.E. part of
Switzerland, the S.E. of Baden, the S. of
Wiirtemberg and Bavaria, and the N. part of
the Tyrol. It was originally part of the
province of Rhaetia, and was conquered by
Tiberius in the reign of Augustus. At a
later time Rhaetia was divided into two pro-
vinces, Rhaetia Prima and Rhaetia Secundn^
the latter of which names was gradually sup-
planted by that of Vindelisia. It was drained
by the tributaries of the Danube, of which
the most important were the Licias, or Lious

{Leeh\ with its tributary the Vindo, Vinda,
or Virdo {Werlach)^ the Isarus (/»ar), and
Oenus {Inn). The E. part of the Lacua
Brigantinus {Lake of Constance) also be-
longed to Vindelicia. It derived its name
from its chief inhabitants, the Vimdeuci,
a warlike people dwelling in the S. of the
country. The other tribes in Vindelicia
were the Brigantii on the Lake of Constance,
the Licatii or Licates on the Lech, and the
Breuni in the N. of Tyrol on the Brenner.
The chief town in the province was Augusta
Vindelicorum {Attgshurg), at the confluence
of the Vindo and the Licus.

VINDICiUS (-i), a slave, who is said to
have given information to the consuls of the
conspiracy, which was formed for the re-
storation of the Tarquins, and who was
rewarded in consequence with liberty and
the Roman franchise.

^^NDiLI. [Vandiu.]

VINDOBONA (-ae ; Vienna, Engl. ; Wien^
Germ.), a town in Pannonia, on the Danube,
was originally a Celtic place, and subse-
quently a Roman municipium. Under the
Romans it became a town of importance ; it
was the chief station of the Roman fleet on
the Danube, and the head quarters of a
Roman legion.

VINDONISSA (-ae: THnrfwcA), a town in
Gallia Belgica, on the triangular tongue of
land between the Aar and Reuss, was an im-
portant Roman fortress in the country of the

VIPSANIAAGRIPPINA (-ae). (1) Daughter
of M. Vipsanius Agrippa by his first wife
Pomponia. Augustus gave her in marriage
to his step-son Tiberius, by whom she was
much beloved ; but after she had borne him
a son, Drusus, Tiberius was compelled to
divorce her by the command of the emperor,
in order to marry Julia, the daughter of the
latter, Vipsania afterwards married Asinius
Gallus. She died in a.d. 20. — (2) Daughter
of M. Vipsanius Agrippa by his second wife
Julia, better known by the name of Agrippina,



VIRBIUS (-i), a Latin divinity worshipped
along with Diana in the grove at Aricia, at
the foot of the Alban Mt. He is said to have
been the same as Hippolytus, who was re-
stored to Ufe by Aesculapius at the request
of Diana.

VIRDO. [Vindelicia.]

P., the Roman poet, was born on the 15th of
October, b.c. 70, at Andes {Pietola), a small
village near Mantua in Cisalpine Gaul. Vir-
gil's father probably had a small estate which
he cultivated : his mother's name was Maia,

Digitized by





He was educated at Cremona and Mediolanum
(J/t7an), and he took the toga yirilis at Cre-
mona in 55, on the day' on which he com-
menced his 1 6th year. It is said that he sub'
sequently studied at Neapolis {Naples) under
Parthenius, a native of Bithynia, from whom
he learned Greek. He was also instructed
hy SyroA an Epicurean, and probably at
Rome. Virgil's writings prove that he re-
ceived a learned education, and traces of Epi-
curean opinions are apparent in them. After
completing his education, Virgil appears to
have retired to his paternal farm, and here
he may have "written some of the small
pieces which are attributed to him. In the
division of land among the soldiers after the
battle of Philippi (42), Virgil was deprived
of his property; but it was afterwards re-
stored at the command of Octavian. It is
supposed that Virgil "wrote the Eclogue
-which stands first in our editions, to com-
memorate his gratitude to Octavian. Virgil
probably became acquainted -with Maecenas
soon after -writing his Eclogrues, in which
Maecenas is not mentioned. His most
finished work, the OeorgicOy was imdertaken
at the suggestion of Maecenas [Qeorg. iii. 41) ;
and was completed after the battle of Actium,
B.C. 31, while Octavian was in the East. The
Aeneid was probably long contemplated by
the poet. While Augustus was in Spain (27),
he wrote to Virgil expressing a wish to have
some monument of his poetical talent. Virgil
appears to have commenced the Aeneid about
this time. In 23 died Marcellus, the son of
Octavia, Caesar's sister, by her first husband ;
and as Virgil lost no opportunity of gratify-
ing his patron, he introduced into his 6th
book of the Aeneid (888) the "well-known
allusion to the virtues of this youth, who was
cut off by a premature death. Octavia is said
to have been present when the poet was re-
citing this allusion to her son, and to have
fainted from her emotions. She rewarded
the poet mimificently for his excusable flat-
tery. As Marcellus did not die till 23, these
lines were of course -written after his death,
but that does not prove that the whole of the
6th book was -written so late. A passage in
the 7th book (606) appears to allude to Au-
gustus receiving back the Parthian standards,
which event belongs to 20. When Augrustus
was returning from Samos, where he had
spent the winter of 20, he met Virgil at
Athens. The poet, it is said, had intended
to make a tour of Greece, but he accompanied
the emperor to Megara, and thence to Italy.
His health, which had been long declining,
-was now completely broken, and he died soon
pfter his arrival at Brundusium on the 22nd
of St'ptember, 19, not having quite completed

his 51st year. His remains were transferred
to Naples, which had been his favourite resi-
dence, and interred near the road from Naples
to Puteoli {PozzuoU)^ where a monument is
still shown, supposed to be the tomb of the
poet. Virgil had been enriched by the libe-
rality of his patrons, and he left behind him
a considerable property and a house on the
Esquiline Hill, near the gardens of Maecenas.
In his fortunes and his ft-iends Virgil -was a
happy man. Munificent patronage gave him
ample means of enjoyment and of leisure,
and he had the friendship of all the most
accomplished men of the day, among whom
Horace entertained a strong affection for him.
He was an amiable, good-tempered man, free
from the mean passions of envy and jealousy ;
and in all but health he was prosperous.
Besides the Bucolica, Qeorgica, and Aeneid^
several shorter pieces are attributed to Virgil,
which may possibly have been the productions
of his youth. Such are the Culex^ OirU^
OopOf &o. Of all his works the Qeorgica are
both the most finished and the most original.
The Aeneid leaves on the whole a feeble im-
pression, notwithstanding the exquisite beauty
of some passages, and the good taste which
reigns throughout. Nevertheless, Virgil must
be considered as by far the first of all the Ro-
man epic poets.

VIRGINIA (-ae), daughter of L. Virginius,
a brave centurion, was a beautiful and inno-
cent girl, betrothed to L. Icilius. Her beauty
excited the lust of the decem-nr Appius
Claudius, who instigated one of his clients to
seize the damsel and claim her as his slave.
Her father, who had come from the camp the
morning on which Claudius gave judgment
assigning Virginia to his client, seeing that
all hope was gone, prayed the decemvir to be
allowed to speak one word to the nurse in his
daughter's hearing, in order to ascertain
whether she was really his daughter. The
request was granted; Virginius drew them
both aside, and snatching up a butcher's
knile from one of the stalls, plunged it in
his daughter's breast, exclaiming, *' There is
no way but this to keep thee free : " then
holding his bloody knife on high, he rushed
to the gate of the city, and hastened to the
Roman camp. The result is known. Both
camp and city rose against the decemvirs,
who were deprived of their power, and the
old form of government was restored. L.
Virginius was the first who was elected tri-
bune, and by his orders Appius was dragged to
prison, where he put an end to his own life.

cian and plebeian. The patrician Virginii
frequently filled the highest honours of the
state during the early years of the republic.

Digitized by





VIllGlXiUS (-i), L., father of Virginia,
whose tragic fate occasioned the downfal of
the decemvirs, B.C. 449, [Viboinia.]

VIRIATHUS (-i), a celebrated Lusitanian,
is described by the Romans as originally a
shepherd or huntsman, and afterwards a rob.
ber, or, as he would be called in Spaim in the
present day, a guerilla chief. He was one of
the Lusitanians who escaped the treacherous
and savage massacre of the people by the pro-
consul Galba in b.c. 150. [Qalba, No. 2.]
He collected a formidable force, and for seve-
ral successive years defeated one Roman army
after another. In 140, the proconsul Fabius
Servilianus concluded a peace withYiriathus,
in order to save his anny, which had been
enclosed by the Lusitanians in a mountain
pass. But Servilius Caepio, who succeeded
to the command of farther Spain in 140, re-
newed the war, and shortly afterwards pro-
cured the assassination of Yiriathus by bribing
3 of his ftiends.

VIRIDOMARUS (-i). (1) Or BRrroMAa-rus,
the leader of the Gauls, slain by Marcellus.
[Makcbllvs, No. 1.] — (2) Or Vihdumakus, a
chieftain of the Aedui, whom Caesar had
raised from a low rank to the highest honour,
but who afterwards joined the Gauls in their
great revolt in e.g. 52.

VIRTUS (-utis), the Roman personification
of manly valour. She "was represented with
a short tunic, her right breast uncovered, a
helmet on her head, a spear in her left hand,
a sword in the right, and standing with her
right foot on a helmet. A temple of Virtus
was built by Marcellus close to one of Honor.

VISTULA (ae : Vistula, Engl. ; Weiohsel,
Germ.), an important river of Germany, form-
ing the boundary between Germany and Sar-
matia, rising in the Hercynia Silva and fail-
ing into the Mare Suevicum or the Baltic.

ViSURGIS (-is: TTeacr), an important
river of Germany, falling into the German

VITELLIUS (-i). A., Roman emperor ftrom
January 2nd to 'December 22nd, a.d. 69, was
the son of L. Vitellius, consul in a.d. 34.
He had some knowledge of letters and some
eloquence. His vices made him a favourite
of Tiberius, Caius Caligula, Claudius, and
Nero, who loaded him with favours. People
were much surprised when Galba chose such
a man to command the legions in Lower Ger-
many, for he had no military talent. The
soldiers of Vitellius proclaimed him emperor
at Colonia Agrippinensis {Cologne) on the 2nd
of January, 69. His generals Fabius Valens
and Caecina marched into Italy, defeated
Otho's troops at the decisive battle of Bedri-
acum, and thus secured for Vitellius the

undisputed command of Italy. He displayed
some moderation after his accession ; but he
was a glutton and an epicure, and his chief
amusement was the table, on which he spent
enormous sums of money. Meantime Vespa.
sian was proclaimed emperor at Alexandria
on the Ist of July ; and the legions of niy-
ricum, under Antonius Primus, entered the
N. of Italy and declared for hLn. Vitellius
despatched Caecina with a powerful force to
oppose Primus ; but Caecina was not faithful
to the emperor. Primus defeated the Vitel-
lians in two battles; then marched upon
Rome, and forced his way into the city, f^ter
much fighting. Vitellius was seized in the
palace, led through the streets with every
circumstance of ignominy, and dragged to the
Gemoniae Scalae, where he was killed with
repeated blows.

VITRUViUS POLLIO (-onis), M., the
author of the celebrated treatise on Archi-
tecture, appears to have served as a mili-
tary engineer imder Julius Caesar, in the
African war, b.c. 46, and he was broken down
vrith age when he composed his work, which
is dedicated to the emperor Augustus. Com-
paratively unsuccessful as an architect, for
we have no building of his mentioned except
the basilica at Fanum, he attempted to esta-
bllsh his reputation as a writer upon the
theory of his art. His style is so obscure as
to be often unintelligible.

VOCONTII (-orum), a powerftil and im-

Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 88 of 90)