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situated in the 'atrium' was considered the central part of the dwelling, and was invested with peculiar sanctity, and that close to it stood the altar for domestic sacrifices, and hence the compluvium' or reservoir which received the water that entered through the “impluvium' or hole in the roof of the atrium, was sacred to the Penates'. It appears, then, that 'Penates' is in fact a generic term, and, in its strict sense, comprehends "all the gods worshipped at the hearth,' and will thus include the ‘Lares,' who are continually mentioned in conjunction with the Penates, and frequently in such terms as to imply that they were the same. But it is quite certain that other gods, besides the Lares, were worshipped at the hearth, especially · Vesta,' who was herself the Goddess of the Hearth, and to these the term Penates is often applied, so as to distinguish them from the Lares. This will be sufficiently clear from a single passage in Plautus,
Merc. 5. I, 5
'Di Penates meum parentum, familiaeque Lar pater, Vobis mando meum parentum rem bene ut tutemini.
Ego mihi alios Deos Penates persequar, alium Larem.' It would be vain to enquire who the Penates were, since they might be different for every family, and the statements of ancient authors upon this point are very contradictory. Varro, however, distinctly asserts that the number and names of Penates were indeterminate.
In like manner as there were Public as well as Domestic Lares, so there were Public Penates who exercised a general influence over the destinies of the whole Roman people. Thus Tacitus 2 tells us that 'delubrum Vestae cum Penatibus Populi Romani' was consumed along with other very ancient temples, in the great fire during the reign of Nero. From
1 Suet. Octav. 92 «Sed et ostentis praecipue movebatur. Enatam inter iuncturas lapidum ante domum suam palmam in compluvium Deorum Penatium transtulit: utque coalesceret, magno opere curavit.'
2 Ann. 15. 41.
which passage we may infer that the temple of Vesta being the common hearth or central point of the city, was the proper abode of the Public Penates. Dionysius ? describes a temple in the Velia ? (that part of the Forum immediately under the Palatine) in which were `images of the Trojan Penates, two young men in a sitting posture, with spears in their hands, a work of ancient art,' and adds that he had seen many other effigies of these gods in ancient shrines, always represented as two young men in martial equipment. These we should naturally suppose to be the Trojan or Phrygian Penates, mentioned so often in the Aeneid, which were rescued from the flames of Troy by Aeneas, and transported by him to Italy 3, were deposited at Lavinium, in the temple of Pallas, and refused to remove from thence to Alba 4, but may perhaps have afterwards agreed to migrate to Rome 5,
Those who wish to examine more deeply into the accounts given by ancient authors of the Lares and Penates, and the speculations of modern scholars, may refer to Dempster, Etruria Regalis, vol. 1. p. 137; J. Müller De Diis Romanorum Laribus et Penatibus; K. O. Müller, Die Etrusker, vol. 2, p. 90, etc.; Jaekel, De Diis domesticis; Hartung, Die Religion der Römer.
3. Curius. Who Curius may have been we cannot tell. The most famous personage of this name, Manius Curius Dentatus, was Consul three times, in 290, 275, 274, B.C., and Censor in 272. He vanquished the Samnites, and celebrated, during his second consulship, a triumph in honour of a victory over Pyrrhus, whom he eventually expelled from Italy. It is certain, however, that the worship of the Public Lares was instituted at a much earlier period, according to Varroc, by king Tatius, a statement confirmed by Dionysius 7.
1 R. A. 1. 68. 2 Livy 45. 16 'Aedes Deorum Penatium in Velia coelo tacta erat.' 3 Serv. Ae. 3. 148, Macrob. 3. 4. * See Dionys. R. A. 1. 67, Val
. Max. I. 8, 7, Serv. on Virg. Ae. 3. 12. 5 Consult Heyne Excurs. on Virg. Ae. 2. 6 L. L. 5. 10.
7 A. R. 4. 14.
Hence the reading found in many MSS. is well worthy of attention,
Ara erat illa quidem Curibus, sed multa vetustas,' &c. 13. Turba Diania. Dogs, the attendants of the ‘huntress Dian.'
15. Gemellorum. Referring to the legend, according to which the ‘Lares Compitales’
were the twin sons of the Nymph Lara and Mercury. Ov. Fast. 2. 615 ‘Fitque gravis, geminosque parit, qui compita servant,
Et vigilant nostra semper in aede Lares.' 17. Geniumque Ducis, “the guardian angel of our Prince. Compare Hor. Od. 4. 5, 33 (ad Augustum)
“Te multa prece, te prosequitur mero
Et magni memor Herculis.' Tradidit illos, sc. 'colendos.' This probably refers to a fact recorded by Suetonius Octav. 31 Compitales Lares ornari bis anno instituit, vernis floribus et aestivis.'
18. Numina trina. The twin Lares and the Genius of Augustus.
5-9. The epithet ‘Praestites' is manifestly formed from praesto,'but Ovid, not satisfied with a single derivation, would connect the word with 'praesum' and 'praesens' also.
9-14. Plutarch, in his Roman Questions, asks—
“Why does a dog stand beside those Lares, which are properly called “ Praestites,” and why are they themselves clad in the hides of dogs? Are “Praestites” those “who stand before," and whom it therefore becomes to guard the mansion, and to be objects of terror to strangers, (as is the nature of dogs), but gentle and tame to those who dwell within?'
Stabat. The tense of this verb, and of quaerebam,' in line 15, indicates that the statue no longer existed, and that the author had sought without finding.
12. Compita grata Deo. Both here and in Fasti, 2. 579, the ‘Lares Praestites' are considered to be the same with the 'Lares Compitales,' worshipped at the compita,' that is, the point from which two streets branched off, or at which two roads crossed each other. In addition to what has
been said above, we may quote Varro L. L. 6. 3 ‘Compitalia, dies attributus Laribus ... ideo ubi viae competunt, tum in competis sacrificatur. Quotannis is dies concipitur.' Pliny, in his description of Rome, H. N. 3. 5, informs us that there were no less than 265 'compita Larium' within the city, Complexa (sc. urbs) montes septem ipsa dividitur in regiones XIV. Compita Larium CCLXÙ:
FAS. V. 663.
MERCURIUS, an appellation manifestly derived from the same root as the words 'merx,' 'mercari,' 'mercator,' &c., was, as the name imports, the Roman god of traffic and gain, the protector of merchants and shop-keepers, the aider and abettor of all the schemes and tricks employed by them to overreach their customers 1. In this respect he corresponded to the Grecian Hermes; the resemblance indeed went no farther, but the link was enough for the poets, the two deities were at once identified, and the parentage, attributes, exploits, and insignia of the knavish son of Zeus and Maia, were assigned to Mercurius, who thus comes forth as the inventor of the lyre, the patron of the gymnasium, the teacher of eloquence, the herald of the gods, the conductor of departed spirits to the realms of Hades; while in addition to the purse, originally the proper and only symbol of his calling, he appears invested with the broad-brimmed winged hat, 'petasus,' the winged sandals, "talaria,' and the caduceus,' or magic rod. It will be observed that in the following Extract Ovid commences by running over the foreign titles of the god, and then passes on to describe certain ceremonies performed by the Roman traders for the lustration of their wares, and certain prayers which they
1 Hence the Gaulish god of gain is at once called Mercurius by Caesar, B. G. 6. 17 • Deum maxime Mercurium colunt : huius sunt plurima simulacra, hunc omnium inventorem artium ferunt, hunc viarum atque itinerum ducem, hunc ad quaestus pecuniae mercaturasque habere vim maximam arbitrantur.'
offered to their protector, prayers which indicate very clearly that the honesty of the fraternity was not rated high by their countrymen.
1-6. These lines so closely resemble the words of Horace at the commencement of his Ode to Mercury (Od. 1. 10), that we can scarcely believe the coincidence accidental.
• Mercuri, facunde nepos Atlantis,
Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia, one of the Atlantides, who gave him birth on the summit of the Arcadian Cyllene. We have already had occasion to quote Virg. Ae. 8. 138
Vobis Mercurius pater est, quem candida Maia
Cyllenes gelido conceptum vertice fudit.' 2. Pleias una. The Pleiads were the seven daughters of Atlas. At the beginning of this book of the Fasti v. 105, Mercurius is said to have bestowed upon the month the name of his mother Maia.
At tu materno donasti nomine mensem,
Inventor curvae, furibus apte, fidis.
Pleiadum numerum, fila dedisse lyrae;' again in v. 447 he is addressed as YuxottOuttós, or conductor of spirits to Hades.
'Pleiade nate, mone, virga venerande potenti:
Saepe tibi Stygii regia visa Iovis.
Venit adoratus Caducifer'. 4. Arbiter, i. q. 'interpres, perims, is, per quem transigitur aliquid inter duos. Livy 2. 33 "Interpreti arbitroque concordiae civium (C.). It refers particularly to his office as herald.
5. Laete lyrae pulsu. The invention of the lyre by Hermes upon the day of his birth, is fully described in the Homeric Hymn to the god. Hence his connection with poets,