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heart, take vitals for vitals! this life we give you instead of one better" (Ovid, op. cit., vi, 129-168).198 She was confused with the totally different deity, Cardea, the goddess of the door-hinge (ib., vi, 101-102, 127).
DIS (DIS PATER, OR ORCUS)
DIs, Dis Pater, and Orcus were names given by Roman writers to the god of the dead and Underworld. Dis was the Latinized form of the Greek Plouton, with whom he was equated, referring to the wealth under his control (Varro, op. cit., V, x, 20; Cicero, op. cit., ii, 26), and Orcus (Death, Viduus) was used to designate the god who separated the soul from the body and took it to himself (Festus, p. 202).199 His consort was Proserpina, identical with Persephone, who had been brought to Rome with Demeter and Dionysos in 496 в.c. and named Libera.
Dis and Proserpina sent disease and death among mankind, Dis to men and Proserpina to women and children; but they also had the power of averting sickness and death, and of healing disease.200 Accordingly, honors and sacrifices were offered them to release their victims from maladies and to restore health, and waters heated upon their altars had curative powers (Valerius Maximus, II, iv, 5). The cult of Dis and Proserpina was first brought to Rome about 249 B.C. from Tarentum and was established at an underground altar in the Campus Martius near the Tiber, where the strange rites of the Ludi Tarentini, with a nocturnal ritual and sacrifice of black animals, were performed (Festus, p. 154; Macrobius, op. cit., I,
198 For similar incantations and offerings of substitute victims among the Babylonians, see supra, p. 112.
199 Preller (op. cit., p. 453) interprets Orcus as the cause of death, probably meaning 'the Restrainer,' see Walde, op. cit., p. 546.
200 Kissel, in Janus, 1848, iii, 623-624.
xvi, 17).201 During three days, August 24, October 5, and November 8, the 'mundus' on the Palatine, claimed by these deities, remained uncovered.202 These divinities also had an altar on the Capitoline.
THE Lares were deities of the Underworld, but were often identified with the Di Manes and were regarded primarily as the shades of those who had founded the family or State, good men who, after death, loved to hover about their old homes and to preserve the welfare of their families and possessions,203 but who must be appeased by special gifts (Ovid, op. cit., ii, 535, 633; vi, 791). The State Lares guarded the State as a whole, helped its citizens in distress, and guarded against pestilence; while the household Lares (Lares domestici) were generally good spirits who protected the family against illness, though, if they were offended, they had the power of causing disease, especially neuroses and psychic disorders (Festus, p. 119; Nonius, p. 44). The family recognized their beneficent influence by hanging wreaths in their home to the Lares on happy occasions, as when a member recovered from disease. There were also Lares of the roads and cross-roads, where they watched over the farms and other property of the family. The festival of the Laralia, or Compitales, usually held about January 3-5, was celebrated in their honor (Varro, op. cit., vi, 25).20
PROSERPINA was the chief goddess of the Underworld and the consort of Dis. (For her functions see under Dis.)
201 Fowler, Religious Experience, pp. 440-441.
202 Id., Festivals, pp. 211-212.
203 Wissowa, op. cit., p. 235.
204 Fowler, op. cit., p. 279; id., Religious Experience, p. 78.
I. (D) Deities of Disease.
DISEASE, both sporadic and epidemic, was regarded as the expression of divine disfavor, primarily as punishment for sin or some offense toward the gods, and restoration of good relations depended upon conciliation obtained by sacrifice and by purification, which was regarded as the symbol of divine grace.205 Romans revered their sin as a divinity who might become friendly and inclined to them, hence they also venerated disease, but they seldom went so far as to group symptoms as of a single disease, and conceived the various symptoms as divinities who should be revered and invoked for cure (Varro, apud Nonius, p. 46).
ANGINA, the name under which a numen or goddess was venerated as the impersonation of sore throat, supposed to have been quinsy, was invoked for its cure, although Romans afflicted with this malady believed they were cured after having invoked Angerona (Macrobius, op. cit., I, 10; Paulus, pp. 8, 17, 28).
CLOACINA, a goddess who presided over the drains of Rome, especially the Cloaca Maxima, was a numen who personified the stench arising from them. She was invoked for protection from diseases due to the drains and was euphemistically addressed as 'sweet Cloacina.'
It is related by Pliny (op. cit., xv, 119) that the Romans and Sabines, when about to engage in battle on account of the rape of the Sabine virgins, lay down their arms and made atonement with branches of myrtle on the spot where later the statue of Venus Cloacina stood. The deri205 Kissel, in Janus, 1848, iii, 408-409.
vation of the name Cloacina (cluere) denoted the same as the later word to cleanse (purgare) (Festus, p. 55), and Venus was the goddess of myrtle and marriage. Hence Venus Cloacina was invoked for purification from forbidden sexual indulgence and its results, and, in her cult, marriage was an atonement for such transgressions and the consequences (Servius, op. cit., i, 720; Augustine, op. cit., vi, 10; iv, 23). It was in the temple of Cloacina that Virginia met death at the hands of her father in protection of her honor (Livy, iii, 48).
FEBRIS, an ancient numen personifying fevers, especially the malarias of the Roman marshes, was supposed to cause such fevers as were sent in punishment and also to heal the fever-stricken by a purifying fire within the body which delivered them from the divine displeasure.206 Later the goddess, usually addressed as Dea Febris, was specialized as Dea Tertiana and Dea Quartana, and inscriptions (CIL vii, 999; xii, 3129) show that these deities were venerated as the disease itself and were directly appealed to as being able to heal by destroying the malady.207 Febris was regarded as a mediator between mankind and the gods, even such divinities as Iupiter and Iuno when the disease led to light and health, and those of the lower world, as Dis Pater or Orcus, when purification led to death (Macrobius, op: cit., I, 13). She was a popular deity and had at least three temples in Rome, one each on the Palatine, the Esquiline, and the Quirinal (Valerius Maximus, II, v, 6).208 She was believed to be well-disposed toward mankind and, having magic cures for both kinds of fever, to prosper the many reme
206 Kissel, in Janus, 1848, iii, 616.
dies which were consecrated and stored in her fanes (Valerius Maximus, loc. cit.; Pliny, op. cit., xxviii, 46). Patients were carried to her temples, but their recovery was supposed to be due to the severe regimen which they were obliged to undergo rather than the remedies given (Valerius Maximus, II, v, 55).
MEFITIS, an ancient Italian goddess personifying stench (Servius, op. cit., vii, 82; CIL ix, 1421), more particularly miasms arising from the earth, was invoked not only to protect her worshippers from malarial fevers, vapors from marshes, and poisonous gases from springs and clefts in the earth, but also to cure those who were ill after exposure to them.200 She had temples on the Mons Cispius (Varro, de Ling. Lat., v, 49; Festus, pp. 217, 261, 351), outside the gates of Cremona (Tacitus, Hist., iii, 33), and in the famous Amsanctus valley,210 in the land of the Hirpini, about four miles from Frigento, where the gusts of sulphuretted hydrogen coming from the earth. were believed to be the breath of Pluto himself, while near by was a bubbling pool giving off carbonic acid gas in such quantities as to be deadly when raised above the ground by the wind (Pliny, op. cit., ii, 108). Mefitis appears to have originated in Central Italy, but the extension of her cult, of which little is known, may be traced from Lucania across the Po into Gaul.211
SCABIES was a numen or deity who is supposed to have personified diseases of the skin characterized by itching,
209 Kissel, in Janus, 1848, iii, 612-613.
210 Frazer, Adonis, i, 204.
211 Wissowa, op. cit., p. 246.