Слике страница

kept them from falling ; Fabulina learnt them to prattle ; the goddess Paventia preserved them from frights ;* and Camæna taught them to sing,

Nor was the infant, when grown to riper years, left without his protectors ; Juventas was the god of youth ; Agenoria excited men to action; and the goddesses Stimula and Strenua inspired courage and vivacity ; Hortat inspired the fame or love of glory; and Sentra gave them the sentiments of probity and justice; Quies was the goddesses of repose or ease, I and Indolena, or laziness, was deified by the name of Murcia ;$ Vacua protected the idle; Adeona and Abeona, secured people in going abroad and returning ;ll and Vibilia, if they wandered, was so kind as to put them in the right way; Fessonia refreshed the weary and fatigued ; and Meditrina healed the sickly : | Vitula was the goddess of mirth and frolic ;** Volupia the goddess who bestowed pleasure ;tt Orbona was addressed, that parents might not love their offspring ; Pellonia averted mischief and danger; and Numeria taught people to cast and keep accounts; Angerona cured the anguish or sorrow of the mind ;* Hæres Martia secured heirs the estates they expected; and Stata or Statua Mater, secured the forum or market place from fire ; even the thieves had a protectress in Laverna ;t Averruncus prevented sudden misfortunes; and Conius was always disposed to give good advice to such as wanted it; Volumnus inspired men with a disposition to do well ; and Honorus raised them to preferment and honours.

* From Pavorema vertendo. + She had a temple at Rome which always stood open.

She had a temple without the walls. § Murcia had her temple on Mount Aventine. || From abeo, to go away; and adeo, to come.

1 The festival of this goddess was in September, when the Romans drank new wine mixed with old, by way of physic.

** From vitulo, to leap or advance. ++ From voluptas, pleasure.

Nor was the marriage state without its peculiar defenders. Five deities were esteemed so necessary, that no marriages were solemnized without asking their favours; these were Jupiter-Perfectus, or the Adult, Juno, Venus, Suadela, and Diana. Jugatinus tied the nuptial knot; Domiducus ushered the bride home ; Domitius took care to keep her there, and prevent her gadding abroad; Maturna preserved the conjugal union entire ; Virginensisg loosed the bridle zone or girdle ; Viriplaca was a propitious goddess, ready to reconcile the married couple in case of any accidental difference. Matuta was the patroness of matrons, no maid being suffered to enter her temple. The married was always held to be the only honourable state for woman, during the times of pagan antiquity. The goddess Vacuna, is mentioned by Horace (Lib. 1. Epist. X. 49.) as having her temple at Rome; the rustics celebrated her festival in December, after the harvest was got in (Ovid. Fast. Lib. XI).

* In a great murrain which destroyed their cattle, the Romans invoked this goddess, and she removed the plague.

+ The image was a head without a body. Horace mentions her (Lib. 1. Epist. XVI. 60). She had a temple without the walls, which gave the name to the Porta Lavernalis.

The goddess of eloquence, or persuasion, who had always a great hand in the success of courtship. § She was also called Cinxia Juno.

The ancients assigned the particular parts of the body to particular deities; the head was sacred to Jupiter; the breast to Neptune; the waist to Mars ; the forehead to Genius ; the eye-brows to Juno, the eyes to Cupid ; the ears to Memory; the right hand to Fides or Veritas ; the back to Pluto ; the knees to Misericordia or mercy; the legs to Mercury; the feet to Thetis ; and the fingers to Minerva.t

The goddess who presided over funerals was Libitina,I whose temple at Rome, the undertakers furnished with all the necessaries for the interment of the poor or rich ; all dead bodies were carried through the Porto Libitina; and the Rationes Libitinæ mentioned by Suetonius, very nearly answer to our

* She was an old Sabine deity. Some make her the same with Ceres ; but Varro imagines her to be the goddess of victory.

+ From this distribution arose, perhaps, the scheme of our modern astrologers, who assign the different parts of the body to the different constellations, or signs of Zodiac : as the head to Aries, the neck to Taurus, the shoulders to Gemini, the heart to Cancer, the breast to Leo, and so on. The pretended issues of astrology have been always inseparable from stellar influence, and the zodiac has ever been the fruitful source of its solemn delusions.

Some confound this goddess with Proserpine, others with Venus.

bills of mortality.

[blocks in formation]

The study of astrology, so flattering to human curiosity got into favour with mankind at a very early period,-especially with the weak and ignorant. The first account of it we meet with is in Chaldea ; and at Rome it was known by the name of the “ Babylonish calculation," against which Horace very wisely cautioned his readers.* It was doubtless the first method of divination, and probably prepared the mind of man for all the various methods since employed of searching into futurity; a brief view therefore of the rise of this pretended science cannot be improper in this place, especially as the history of these absurdities is the best method of confuting them.

nec Babylonios Tentaris numeros.-Lib. 1. ad XI. That is, consult not the tables of planetary calculations used by astrologers of Babylonish origin.

« ПретходнаНастави »