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cure for weak health? And cannot Neptune do the same for pilots? Or will Minerva give medicine without a doctor, and the Muses not give dreamers knowledge of writing, reading, and other arts? But if healing of feeble health were given, all these things which I have mentioned would be given. Since they are not given, neither is medicine; and if that be the case, all authority of dreams is at an end" (ib., ii, 59). "Let this divination of dreams be rejected with the rest. For, to speak truly, that superstition, spreading through the world, has oppressed the intellectual energies of nearly all men, and has seized upon the weakness of humanity. This I have argued in my treatise 'On the Nature of the Gods,' and I especially labored to prove it in this discussion 'On Divination.' For I thought I should be doing a great benefit to myself and to my countrymen if I could eradicate that belief" (ib., ii, 72). Cicero expresses himself definitely in respect to religious healing: "I believe that those who recover from illness are more indebted to the care of Hippocrates than to the power of Esculapius" (de Nat. Deor., iii, 38).


THE list here presented includes the names of the chief deities who were concerned with the healing art in ancient Rome, and whose cults and activities are considered in the following sections. The classification adopted is an arbitrary one which has appeared to be the most convenient for the discussion of their special functions in connection with the sick and the preservation of health.”

54 In a Supplement to this chapter are listed a number of minor deities and numina representing the lesser phases of divine activity within the spheres of greater gods, and illustrating the subdivision of functions ascribed to subordinate divinities.

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Mater Matuta

(C) Underworld Deities.

Dis (Dis Pater, or Orcus) Lares Proserpina

(D) Deities of Disease.

Cloacina Febris



(E) Deities with minor functions related to healing,

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Note. The cults of many of these deities-not only Roman but Græco-Roman and Oriental-extended to the confines of the Latin provinces; but usually they continued true to the Roman types, though frequently syncretized with local gods. For details, see Toutain, op. cit.


(A) Deities of General Functions.


ANGERON (1)A was an ancient Roman goddess whose functions had become so obscure that her real character was practically unknown. A statue in the temple of Volupia representing her with her mouth bound with a fillet (Pliny, op. cit., iii, 9) probably implied ignorance of her true nature, but it led to the fancy that she symbolized fear and the silence inculcated by the early Romans concerning religious matters. Hence she was supposed to have been the guardian divinity of the city of Rome and to keep inviolate its secret and sacred name; while, through a popular etymology Angerona was regarded as another name for Angitia, and some believed she was called Angerona because Romans afflicted with the disease called angina (quinsy, or angor) were cured after making vows to her (Macrobius, Saturnalia, i, 10; Paulus, pp. 8, 17), and she was invoked for relief from plagues (a pellendis angoribus). As a matter of fact, since her festival was celebrated on December 21,57 she was prob



55 Le Clerc, Histoire de la médecine, ed. 1702, p. 65.

56 Wissowa, op. cit., ed. 1912, p. 241.

57 Fowler, op. cit., pp. 274-275.

ably, in origin, the goddess of the winter solstice, and her name should be interpreted as 'The Up-Bringer (of the Sun).'


ANGITIA, though a primitive Italian goddess (especially Marsian), was reputed to be of Greek origin, the sister of both Kirke and Medeia, and identical in character with the latter (Servius, op. cit., vii, 750). She was a beneficent deity of healing, skilled in knowledge of medicinal properties of plants, and the discoverer of their poisons and their antidotes, besides being a snake-charmer and using her magic to cure the people of venomous bites. The chief seat of her cult was in the Lucus Angitiæ, on the shores of Lake Fucinus, which abounded with healing herbs (Vergil, Æneid, vii, 758-759); but after the conquest of the Marsians and the neighboring tribes (304 в.C.), her worship did not find favor in the Roman State pantheon, though she continued to be reverenced by individuals even in Imperial times.58 Her name, which is probably connected etymologically with the Latin indiges," appears in the plural in an inscription (CIL ix, 3074) from Sulmo, in the Pælignian region, in the Dis Ancitibus of an inscription (CIL ix, 3515) from Turfo, in the Vestinian district, and possibly in the Acetus of the Inguvine Tables (II a, 14); and the goddess was probably identical with the Oscan Anagtia Diiva, as well as the Pælignian Anceta.


ANNA PERENNA was an ancient Italian goddess of the year," and thus came to be regarded as the giver of

58 Le Clerc, loc. cit.; also Wissowa, op. cit., pp. 49-50.

59 Walde, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der lateinischen Sprache, p. 383.

60 For hypotheses concerning her name, see Walde, ib., pp. 44-45.

health and plenty, and as one of the earliest deities to watch over the life, health, and prosperity of the adult."1 Nevertheless, her origin and identity were obscure, whence she was the subject of several speculative myths. To these Ovid refers (op. cit., iii, 543-696), relating one story that she was Anna, the sister of Dido, who came to Latium and there met Eneas; another, that she was a nymph, a daughter of Atlas; a third, that equated her with the Greek Themis; and, lastly, that she was an old woman (anus) who befooled Mars. Her festival was held on March 15 (the beginning of the Roman civil year) in the Campus Martius near the Tiber with the license common to New Year celebrations, and was attended by the plebs, who paired off and passed the day in drinking, dancing, and carousing (ib., iii, 523-540).**


BONA DEA was a renowned but mysterious goddess whose name was not otherwise identified, although she was generally popular and greatly beloved. Originally she was probably an earth-spirit who gave health and blessings; and developing under a variety of names and aspects with the indefiniteness of Roman deities, she represented chiefly the earth and its bounties, absorbing the names and cults of other divinities. It is also suggested that, in the beginning, she was an attribute of Fauna, with whom she became identified as Bona Dea Fauna; and evolving an individuality under this title, the surname finally supplanted that of Fauna, though it is sometimes urged that the development was in the reverse order.


61 Hartung, Die Religion der Römer, ii, 229; also Kissel, in Janus, 1848, iii, 596.

62 Fowler, op. cit., pp. 50 ff.

63 Ib., p. 106.

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