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was not only popular but the occasion of such license that Seneca said (Epistolæ, xviii, 1; cf. Martial, xii, 62) all Rome went mad.1



SILVANUS was an ancient deity of the wood and wild, an off-shoot of Mars, and in many respects similar to Diana (CIL iii, 7775, 13368), but was reclaimed and brought into useful and friendly relations with the farmer.136 He was at times associated with Liber (CIL vi, 462) and was closely akin to Faunus and Fauna, or Bona Dea (CIL x, 5998 f.); while, like Faunus, he was dangerous to women and children, and in this aspect the term Incubus was applied to him, whence the divinities Intercidona, Deverra, and Pilumnus were believed to protect young mothers and their infants from attacks by him (Augustine, op. cit., vi, 9; Servius, op. cit., ix, 4; x, 76; Nonnos, p. 528).


In some of his aspects, Silvanus was regarded as a healing deity, and sacrifices were made to him in that capacity; while he was occasionally associated with Hercules at healing springs and with Hercules Domesticus (CIL vi, 288, 293, 295-297, etc.). Cato (op. cit., 83) addressed a prayer to him for the health of his cattle; and in later days he was admitted to the cult of Mithras as the protector of horses and agriculture.138


SORANUS, an ancient Roman god, apparently of Sabine origin, and possibly a chthonic deity, was a mediator between man and the higher divinities, bringing health and

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138 Cumont, Textes et monuments figurés relatifs aux mystères de Mithra, i, 147; and The Mysteries of Mithra, pp. 66, 112, 137.


deliverance from disease by the purification of external fire. He was usually identified with Apollo, and the chief seat of his worship was on Mount Soracte, near Falerii, where he was called Apollo Soranus (Vergil, op. cit., xi, 785). His priests, the 'Hirpi Sorani' ('wolves of Soranus'), dressed and acting like wolves to avert pestilence," performed a yearly ritual of atonement by walking over red-hot coals with bare feet, and worshippers passed through the flames (Pliny, op. cit., vii, 19), which custom was continued in Imperial times. Soranus, whose festival was held on November 13, was also called Soranus Pater and, later, Dis Pater (Servius, op. cit., xi, 785).


STRENIA was originally a Sabine goddess whose name, connected with the Latin strenuus,140 meant 'health' (Ioannes Lydos, de Mensibus, iv, 4), although no details are known of her cult."" A temple and grove at the head of the Via Sacra were dedicated to her, and from 153 B.C. onward, it became the custom to give presents and exchange congratulatory greetings on the first day of the year, when the consuls took office, as good omens or strena (Varro, de Lingua Latina, v, 47; Symmachus, Epistolæ, x, 35; Augustine, op. cit., IV, ii, 6).1



TIBERINUS, the river-god of the Tiber, identified with Volturnus as Volturnus Tiberinus, and finally known as Tiberinus Pater, is occasionally referred to as a healing deity, since he was able, when propitiated, to heal the diseases which his waters were supposed to bring (Aulus 139 Fowler, op. cit., p. 84.

140 Walde, op. cit., p. 743.

141 Preller, Römische Mythologie, i, 234. 142 Fowler, op. cit., p. 278.

Gellius, X, xv, 30). It is believed by modern scholars,143 that he was worshipped at the Sacra Argeorum, celebrated March 16 and 17, and May 14, when the Romans went in procession to the twenty-four Sacella Argeorum, and at the May festival, after the mourning Flaminica Dialis and Vestals had gathered at the Pons Sublicius, dummies of straw (held to represent old men bound hand and foot, and symbolic of former human sacrifice) were thrown into the Tiber by the Vestals. Tiberinus was also honored at the festival of the Volturnalia on August 27, and on December 8, the anniversary of the founding of his temple on the Insula Tiberina.14


VACUNA, an ancient Sabine goddess, was worshipped in numerous places throughout the Sabine territory, particularly in the valley of the upper Velinus, above Reate (Horace, Epistolæ, I, x, 49). Latin writers identified her variously with Bellona, Ceres, Diana, Minerva, and Venus, but especially with Victoria (cf. the Scholiasts on Horace, ad loc.); and they connect her name with vaco, "to be empty, free from." It is clear that her original nature was quite forgotten; but it is significant that vows were made to her for a safe journey and for recovery from illness (CIL ix, 4636, 4751-4752);145 and it may be inferred that her functions were negative rather than positive, so that, for example, she caused freedom from disease rather than good health itself.

143 Fowler, op. cit., pp. 112-120. Ancient writers differed as to the deity honored, naming both Saturnus and Dis Pater. See further, R. Wünsch, "Human Sacrifice (Roman)," in ERE vi, 860-861; and G. A. F. Knight, "Bridge," in ERE ii, 848-849.

144 Wissowa, op. cit., p. 225.

145 Conway, op. cit., p. 358.

I. (B) Child-birth Deities.

THE principal deities of child-birth in the later Roman pantheon were Iuno Lucina and Diana, both divinities of women in the broadest sense, presiding over the functions and relations peculiar to their sex. Although the honors were divided, Iuno Lucina was always the more prominent; and she, rather than Diana, extended her protection and supervision over children from birth to maturity. These two chief goddesses had many assistants and deities of lower rank associated with the processes of gestation and birth, some of whom had originally been independent divinities and had retained their names, although their cults had lost their individuality and become more or less blended with those of Iuno Lucina and Diana; while others had surrendered their cults and remained mere surnames or as variants and phases of the more exalted pair.14 Thus the ancient goddesses Carmentis and Mater Matuta could no longer maintain their independence,1 and Natio had lost her cult; while Parca, originally a deity of child-birth,148 was later identified with the Greek divinities of Fate, the Moirai, and like them, developed into three personalities. Both Iuno Lucina and Diana were equated with the Greek Eileithyia, under whose name they were frequently referred to.

The functions connected with conception, gestation, birth, and the growth of offspring to maturity and marriage were infinitely subdivided and distributed among a large class of indigitamenta, subsidiary physiological divinities, conceived as supervising each detail, being evolved from-or amalgamated with the activities of the chief goddesses, as Lucina Ossipaga and Diana Ale

146 L. Deubner, "Birth (Greek and Roman)," in ERE ii, 649. 147 Wissowa, op. cit., p. 63.

148 Walde, op. cit., p. 561.

mona.149 In the matter of conception, if the potency of the male was in question, the men invoked Liber, Libera, Subigus, Dea Perfica, Dea Prema, or Dea Pertunda (Augustine, op. cit., vi, 9); and if women feared sterility they appealed to the gods Pilumnus, Mutunus Tutunus, and Fascinus (Arnobius, op. cit., iv, 131), or to the goddesses Rumina, Deverra, Mena, or Cunina (Augustine, op. cit., ii, 11, 21; vi, 9; vii, 2; Tertullian, ad Nationes, ii, 11; Arnobius, op. cit., iv, 7).150

Little mention is made of the details of the theurgic methods used in child-birth, but in general they appear to have consisted of magic formulas, songs, incantations, and the laying-on of hands, so that "gentle Lucina applies her hands and utters words which promote delivery" (Ovid, op. cit., x, 511). Only the right hand favored delivery, as shown on vases and by models of the hand left as votive offerings. It was usual for newly delivered mothers to bring flowers to the temples of the birth-goddesses.

Roman families were accustomed to honor various deities on the occasion of a birth, the male Genius and the female Iuno being reverenced by spreading a table for Hercules and placing a couch for Lucina in the atrium (Servius, Ecloga, iv, 62), or possibly the table only would be prepared, and this to an impersonal divinity.151 At other times a couch was set for Pilumnus and Picumnus, protectors of mother and child, and they were supposed to partake of a meal after the birth. Varro (apud Augustine, op. cit., vi, 9) relates that after a birth, if the babe was acknowledged by the father (sublatus), three men came at night to the threshold of the house and struck it repeatedly with a hatchet, a mortar, and a besom, that

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