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Roman Antiquities, and Ancient Mythology - For Classical Schools (2nd ed)
by Charles K. Dillaway
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The shield was of an oblong or oval shape, with an iron boss jutting out in the middle, to glance off stones or darts; 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 caligae, from which the emperor Caius Caesar 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 catapultae, balistae, 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.

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 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 onerariae, ships of burden, and naves longae, 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.



CHAPTER XVIII.

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 curiae, 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.

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 praeturam, &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 praerogativa was that century which obtained by ballot the privilege of voting first.

When the centuria praerogativa 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.

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 Caesar, 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 praetor. If no adjustment could be made between the two parties, the plaintiff obtained a writ from the praetor, 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 praetor, 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, 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 praetor 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 praetor, 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 praetor 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.

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.



CHAPTER XIX.

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.

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 togatae.

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 praetexta.

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 caligae, sometimes shod with nails. Comedians wore the socci or slippers, and tragedians the cothurni.

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 Caesar 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.



CHAPTER XX.

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 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 Caesar 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 Caesar 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 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.



CHAPTER XXI.

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 Maecenas, 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 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 L50,000 for two cups of such glass with handles.

Houses not joined with the neighboring ones were called Insulae, 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. During 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.



CHAPTER XXII.

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 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 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.



CHAPTER XXIII.

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 coena 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.



CHAPTER XXIV.

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 13-3/4 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, 1/2 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 Heminae—each Hemina, 4 Acetabula—each Acetabulum, 1-1/2 Cyathi—each Cyathus—4 Ligulae.

The Liquid Measures of Capacity were the Culeus, which was equal to 144-1/2 gallons—it contained 20 Amphorae or Quadrantales—each Amphora, 2 Urnae—each Urna, 4 Congii—each Congius, 6 Sextarii—and each Sextarius, 2 Quartarii or naggins—each Quartarius, 2 Heminae—each Hemina, 3 Acetabula or glasses—each Acetabulum, 1-1/2 Cyathi—and each Cyathus, 4 Ligulae.

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 Unciae, or inches: any number of which was used to signify the same number of ounces.

Cubitus, a cubit, was 1-1/2 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 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 valued 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 {lambda}.—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. {=[M.C.]}—denotes the sum of 1,100 times 100,000 Sesterces, i.e. 110,000,000—nearly $4,000,000.



MYTHOLOGY.



CHAPTER I.

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 Boeotia, 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 Cecr{)o}pes 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 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 AEsculapius, 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 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 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, Eoeus, AEthon, Phlegon, and Pyroeeis.

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. Cyllene, 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 ascribed 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 pet{)a}sus 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 {Enagonios}, the presider over combats; {Strophaios}, the guardian of doors; {Empolaios}, the merchant; {Eriounios}, beneficial to mortals; {Dolios}, subtle; {Hegemonios}, guide, or conductor.

As to his origin, it must be looked for amongst the Phoenicians. 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 as producing three leaves together, whence it was called by Homer, the golden three-leaved wand.

BACCHUS was the son of Jupiter, by Sem{)e}le, 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, Bacchae, and Nymphs, in frantic postures; whilst old Sil{=}enus, his preceptor, follows on an ass, which crouches with the weight of his burden.

The women who accompained him as his priestesses, were called Maen{)a}des, from their madness; Thy{)a}des, from their impetuosity; Bacchae, from their intemperate depravity; and Mimall{=o}nes, or Mimallon{)i}des, 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, implored the favor of the gods, received a small brass buckler, called anc{=i}le 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.



CHAPTER II.

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 virgin 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 Euboea, 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 AEneas 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 pat{)e}ra, 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, 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 AEneid 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 Oce{)a}nus 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 aegis 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.

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 Ur{)a}nus had been thrown there by Saturn. Hence she obtained the name of Aphrodite, from {Aphros}, 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 Cyth{=e}rae, an island in the AEgaean, and thence to Cyprus; where she arrived in the month of April. Here, immediately on her landing, flowers sprung beneath her feet, the Horae 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 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.

LATONA. This goddess was daughter of Caeus the Titan and Phoebe, 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 AEgean 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. Ni{)o}be, daughter of Tant{)a}lus, and wife of Amph{=i}on, 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 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 {Leto} or Latona, from {lethein} 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.



CHAPTER III.

Terrestrial Gods.

SATURN was the son of Coelus and Titaea 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. 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 Cur{=e}tes 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 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 armor of Achilles, whose shield is so beautifully described by Homer; as also the invincible armor of AEneas, 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 AEtna, 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.

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.

AEOLUS, 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 AEolian, or Lip{)a}ri islands were uninhabited till Lip{)a}rus, son of Auson, settled a colony there, and gave one of them his name. AE{)o}lus married his daughter Cy{)a}ne, peopled the rest and succeeded him on the throne. He was a generous and good prince, who hospitably entertained Ulysses, and as a proof 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 AE{)o}lus; 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.



CHAPTER IV.

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 Cyb{)e}le, was daughter of Coelus and Terra, and wife of her brother Saturn, to whom she bore a numerous offspring. She had a variety of names besides that of Cyb{)e}le, under which she is most generally known, and which she obtained from Mount Cyb{)e}lus, in Phrygia, where sacrifices to her were first instituted. Her sacrifices and festivals, like those of 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 Cyb{)e}le, 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 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 Pereph{)a}ta, called afterwards Proserpine. For some time she took up her residence in Corc{=y}ra, so called in later times, from a daughter of As{=o}pus, there buried, but anciently Drep{)a}num, 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 AEtna, 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 Triptol{)e}mus, and his brother Eubul{)e}us; but the generality of writers agree in conferring the honor on the nymph Areth{=u}sa, daughter of Nereus and Doris, and companion of Diana, who, flying from the pursuit of the river Alph{=e}us, saw Proserpine in the infernal regions.

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 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 Phoenicians 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 Perseph{)o}ne (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. Perseph{)o}ne 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.

MUSAE, the Muses. This celebrated sisterhood is said to have been the daughters of Jupiter and Mn{=e}m{)o}syne. They were believed to have been born on Mount Pi{)e}rus, and educated by Euph{=e}me. 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 Mosae, 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 {kleios}, glory, or from {kleio}, 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 tibiae or pipes whence she was called also Tib{=i}c{=i}na. 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.

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