Acastus

King of Iolchos in Thessaly, son of Pelias.

Book II: Introduction He absolved Peleus of blood-guilt.

 

Acca

Acca Larentia the wife of the shepherd Faustulus, who saved the lives of the twins Romulus and Remus after they had been thrown into the Tiber. She had twelve sons, and on the death of one of them Romulus took his place, and with the remaining eleven founded the college of the Arval brothers (Fratres Arvales).

Book IV: April 21 Book V: May 9 Mourns for Remus and sees his ghost.

 

Achates

Companion to Aeneas.

Book III: March 15 Meets with Anna.

 

Achelous

A river and river god, whose waters separated Acarnania and Aetolia.

Book II: Introduction Alcmaeon purified by the waters.

Book V: May 2 A synonym for pure water.

 

Achilles

The Greek hero of the Trojan War. The son of Peleus, king of Thessaly, and the sea-goddess Thetis, (See Homer’s Iliad).

Book V: May 3 Chiron was his tutor. He weeps for the dying Centaur.

 

Acis

Acis was, in Greek mythology, a Sicilian youth who was often considered the son of Dionysus. He loved the nymph Galatea but was killed with a boulder by a jealous suitor, the Cyclops Polyphemus. Galatea turned his blood into the river Acis in eastern Sicily. See Metamorphoses XIII, 750

Book IV: April 12  Ceres passed by the river.

 

Acragas, Agrigentum

Agrigentum (the modern Girgenti), an ancient city on the south coast of Sicily, 2m. from the sea. It was founded (perhaps on the site of an early Sicanian settlement) by colonists from Gela about 582 B.C., and, though the lastest city of importance founded by the Greeks in Sicily, soon acquired a position second to that of Syracuse alone, owing to its favorable situation for trade with Carthage and to the fertility of its territory.

Book IV: April 12  Ceres passed by.

 

Actium

The promontory in Epirus site of the famous naval battle in the bay between Octavian (later Augustus Caesar) and Antony in 31BC. (It lies opposite the modern port of Préveza on the Gulf of Amvrakia.)

Antony was defeated by Octavians’ admiral, Agrippa and the outcome led to Cleopatra’s downfall.

Book I: January 30 Laurels of Actium signifying peace attendant on that victory.

 

Adonis

The son of Myrrha by her father Cinyras, born after her transformation into a myrrh-tree. (As such he is a vegetation god born from the heart of the wood.) Venus fell in love with him. She warned him to avoid savage creatures. He ignored her warning and was killed by a wild boar that gashed his thigh. His blood became the windflower, the anemone.

Book V: May 2 Mentioned.

 

Aegeus

The father of Theseus, a king of Athens, and son of Pandion. He gave refuge to Medea and married her.

Book II: Introduction Married Medea.

 

Aemonides, Pyracmon

One of the three Cyclopes who forged Jupiter’s thunderbolts.

Book IV: April 4 Mentioned.

 

Aeneas

The Trojan, son of Venus and Anchises. Aeneas escaped from Troy at its fall, and travelled to Latium. The Julian family claimed descent from his son Ascanius (Iulus). See Virgil’s Aeneid.

Book I: January 11 Book III: March 6 Book IV: Introduction

Book V: May 12 Aeneas brought the household gods, the Penates, from Troy, and carried his father on his shoulders from the ruins, bringing both to Italy. He also traditionally brought the Vestal fire.

Book I: January 30 Book IV: April 1 The ‘sons’ of Aeneas are the Romans.

Book II: February 21 He introduced ‘gifts for the dead’ to Latium.

Book II: February 23 He landed in Laurentine territory.

Book III: March 15 Loved by Dido. Gained Latinus’ kingdom and his daughter Lavinia.

Book IV: April 4 He cut pine trees with Cybele’s permission to build the ships for his flight from Phrygia.

Book IV: April 21 Unscathed by the fires of burning Troy, and so perhaps a reason for the sacred fires of the Parilia.

Book IV: April 23 He fought Turnus for the right to marry Lavinia.

Book VI: June 9 He was said to have brought the Palladium, the statue of Pallas Minerva, from Troy to Rome.

 

Aeolus

The king of the winds. His cave is on the islands of Lipari (the Aeolian Islands) that include Stromboli, off Sicily.

Book II: February 15 God of the winds which he imprisons in his cave.

 

Aesculapius

The son of Coronis and Apollo. He was saved by Apollo from his mother’s body and given to Chiron the Centaur to rear. He is represented in the sky by the constellation Ophiucus near Scorpius, depicting a man entwined in the coils of a serpent, consisting of the split constellation, Serpens Cauda and Serpens Caput, which contains Barnard’s star, having the greatest proper motion of any star and being the second nearest to the sun.

He saved Rome from the plague, and became a resident god. (His cult centre was Epidaurus where there was a statue of the god with a golden beard. Cicero mentions that Dionysius the Elder, Tyrant of Syracuse wrenched off the gold. (‘On the Nature of the Gods, Bk III 82)

Book I: January 1 His temple on an island in the Tiber.

Book VI: June 21 He resurrects Hippolytus. Jove later resurrected Aesculapius and set him deified among the stars.

 

Aethra

Daughter of Oceanus and Tethys.

Book V: May 2 Mother of Hyas and the Hyades.

 

Agamemnon

The king of Mycenae, son of Atreus, brother of Menelaüs, husband of Clytaemnestra, father of Orestes, Iphigenia, and Electra. The leader of the Greek army in the Trojan War. See Homer’s Iliad, and Aeschylus’s Oresteian tragedies.

Book V: May 2 An example of divine vengeance wreaked by Diana, due to his sacrifice of Iphigenia.

 

Aganippe

One of the two springs on Mount Helicon associated with the Muses. Hippocrene is the other. Ovid identifies them.

Book V: Introduction The founts of poetic inspiration.

 

Agenor

The father of Europa.

Book VI: June 15 Taurus is here referred to.

 

Agonal

Sacrificial day (Agon) of the god.

Book I: January 9 Sacred to Janus. Ovid suggests derivations of Agon and Agonia.

Book V: May 21 No reason is given for this date being a sacrifical day.

 

Agrippa

The son of Tiberinus.

Book IV: Introduction Father of Remulus.

 

Alba Longa, Alba

The Latin city according to legend founded by Aeneas on the Alban Hills. The town near Rome was ruled by Numitor, the father of Rhea Silvia. By Mars she conceived Romulus and Remus. Later she was called Ilia, the Trojan, from Ilium, Troy, and made the daughter of Aeneas to fit the myth of Trojan origin for the Romans.

Book II: February 17 The town is mentioned.

Book IV: Introduction Alba the king who succeeded Latinus, father of Epytus.

 

Albula, Tiber

An early name for the Tiber.

Book II: February 15 Book V: May 14 Mentioned.

Book IV: Introduction Hercules drank there.

 

Alcides, See Hercules

An epithet of Hercules from his putative father Amphitryon’s own father Alceus.

Book I: January 11 Hercules.

Book IV: Introduction Reached Italy.

 

Alcmaeon

The son of Amphiaraüs and Eriphyle. He avenged his father’s death, and was in turn murdered in the chain of revenge following the war of the Seven against Thebes.

Book II: Introduction Purified by the waters of the Achelous from the sin of his mother’s murder.

 

Alcyone

One of the Pleiads. She slept with Neptune, and bore him Anthas.

Book IV: April 2 Mentioned.

 

Almo

A river-god. God of the Almo, a tributary of the Tiber.

Book II: February 21 Father of Lara.

Book IV: April 4 Its meeting with the Tiber.

 

Amalthea

The goat-nymph who suckled Jupiter.

Book V: May 1 Associated with the star Capella. Her goat’s-horn of plenty is the cornucopiae, which was supposed to produce whatever its owner wished for.

 

Amenanas

A river in eastern Sicily near Leontini.

Book IV: April 12 Passed by Ceres.

 

Ampelus

The son of a nymph and satyr, loved by Bacchus.

Book III: March 5 His name given to the vine, άμπελος. He becomes the star Vindemitor in Virgo.

 

Amphiaraus

A Greek seer, one of the heroes, the Oeclides, at the Calydonian Boar Hunt. The son of Oecleus, father of Alcmaeon, and husband of Eriphyle.

Book II: Introduction The father of Alcmaeon.

 

Amphitrite

A sea-goddess, daughter of Nereus and wife of Neptune. The Nereid whom Poseidon married, here representing the sea.

Book V: May 25 The sea.

 

Amulius

King of Alba. Uncle of Rhea Silvia.

Book III: Introduction Orders Romulus and Remus to be drowned. He is later killed by the young Romulus.

Book IV: Introduction Book IV: April 21 Brother to Numitor.

 

Anapus, Anapis

The river near Syracuse in Sicily.

Book IV: April 12  Ceres passed by.

 

Anchises

The son of Capys, loved by Venus.

Book IV: Introduction The father of Aeneas.

 

Ancus Marcius

King of Rome.

Book VI: June 30 The Marcian clam claimed descent from him.

 

Anguis, Hydra Constellation

Anguis is a term used confusingly to describe the constellations Serpens and Draco also. Here it names Hydra, the Water-Snake, the largest constellation, containing the bright star, Alphard. The Hydra was the multi-headed monster killed by Hercules, but here is linked to Apollo.

Book II: February 14 Ovid relates the associated myth. The constellation was rising at twilight at this date.

 

Anna Perenna

A personification of the eternal year, and a manifestation of the Great Goddess. Her feast was celebrated at the first milestone on the Flaminian Way, where there was a sacred grove.

Book III: Introduction Her worship began in March.

Book III: March 15 Ovid derives her from Anna the sister of Dido, Queen of Carthage, and tells the background story.

 

Antenor

A Trojan noble, the reputed founder of Padua (Patavium). Spared by the Greeks at Troy because he had sued for peace.

Book IV: Introduction Founded Padua.

 

Apollo

Son of Jupiter and Latona (Leto), brother of Diana (Artemis), born on Delos (Ortygia). God of poetry, art, medicine, prophecy, archery, herds and flocks, and of the sun.

Book I:Introduction Worshipped at Claros in Ionia, where there was a sanctuary and oracle.

Book I: January 1 The father of Aesculapius by Coronis.

Book III: Introduction The sun god, passing through one or parts of two signs of the zodiac in a year.

Book III: March 1 Called Cynthius, the sun, as Diana is Cynthia.

Book III: March 23 The oracular god of prophecy.

Book V: May 15 Mercury stole his cattle.

Book VI: Introduction The laurel, symbol of peace, his sacred tree.

Book VI: June 9 Apollo Smintheus, or Mouse Apollo, an oracular form of the godhead.

Book VI: June 21 The father of Aesculapius. Jupiter, Apollo’s father resurrected Aesculapius from the dead.

 

Appius Claudius Caecus

Appius Claudius the Blind, when consul, defeated the Etruscan and Samnite alliance in 296BC. After his defeat of 280BC, Pyrrhus offered terms but Appius was carried into the Senate to demand they be refused.

Book VI: June 3 Dedicated a temple to Bellona in 296BC.

 

Aqua Virgo

The Aqua Virgo was an aqueduct constructed by Agrippa and opened in 19BC to provide a water supply for the public baths he was building: it entered the city from the north and ran as far as the Campus Martis.  The source by the Via Collatina was supposed to have been revealed by a young girl. The opening took place on the 9th June the feast-day of Vesta and the spring may have in fact been dedicated to her. Agrippa dubbed it Augusta, which pleased Augustus. (Cassius Dio, The Roman History 54.11).

Book I: January 11 Site of the Juturnalia.

 

Aquarius

The constellation of the Water-Bearer, one of the original Babylonian star configurations, and one of the four fixed signs. In Greek myth it represents Ganymede, the shepherd boy carried off by Zeus, to become wine-bearer to the gods.

Book I: January 17 In Ovid’s day the sun moved from Capricorn into Aquarius on or about this date.

Book II: February 5  The sun is more than midway through Aquarius, who is identified with Ganymede the cupbearer to the gods.

Book II: February 15 At this date Aquarius rises near dawn and sets before sunset, so is hidden as the sun moves into Pisces.

 

Arcadians

Arcadia is a region in the centre of the Peloponnese: the archetypal rural paradise.

Book I: January 11 Carmenta was an Arcadian. Arcady taking its name from Arcas was said to be older than the Moon (See Apollonius Rhodius IV:264).

Book II: February 11 Callisto, a Tegeaean.

Book II: February 15 The ancient Arcadian worship of Pan. The Arcadian race older than the moon, see above. Mount Lycaeus in Arcadia, a seat of worship.

Book III: Introduction Faunus worshipped there.

Book V: Introduction The Arcadians worshipped Cyllenian Mercury.

 

Arcas

The son of Jupiter and Callisto. Set in the heavens by Jupiter as the Little Bear.

Book I: January 11 Arcadia takes its name from him according to Ovid.

 

Archimedes

The Greek mathematician and inventor (c287-c212BC), the greatest scientist of Classical times, born in Syracuse, studied at Alexandria, and afterwards remaining in Syracuse for the rest of his life. He was reputedly killed during the Roman conquest of the city.

Book VI: June 9 Ovid describes the orrery of Archimedes, which Cicero syas was brought to Rome from Syracuse by its conqueror, Marcellus in 212BC.

 

Arctophylax, see Bootes

The Bear-Ward, a name for the constellation Bootes, near the Great Bear.

Book III: March 5 Mentioned.

 

Arcturus

The brightest star in the constellation Bootes, the Bear-ward. Ovid associates it with Arcas, grandson of Lycaon.

Book VI: June 7 The star set at dawn in the northwest on this date, before the Bear, Ursa Major.

 

Ardea

A city of the Rutulians, of Latium. (Its site was near modern Anzio, south of Rome.) It was the centre of a cult of Venus and Cicero mentions the procession around the sacred enclosure (‘On the Nature of the Gods’ BkIII 46) Destroyed in the war with Aeneas according to the Metamorphoses, but rebuilt.

Book II: February 24 Besieged by Tarquin.

 

Arethusa

A nymph of Elis, and attendant of Diana pursued by Alpheus and transformed into the fountain of Syracusan Ortygia.

Book IV: April 12 Invited the goddesses including Ceres to a feast.

Book IV: April 23 Syracuse associated with her.

 

Argei

Effigies in human form, thrown into the Tiber, as recorded by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (i.38.3) who puts their number at thirty, and Varro, twenty-seven. The Argei were also shrines, to that number, distributed over Rome’s four quarters. Possibly a purification ritual was involved.

Book III: March 17 Mentioned. A procession held this day (to the shrines?)

 

Ariadne

A daughter of Minos. Half-sister of the Minotaur, and sister of Phaedra who helped Theseus on Crete. She fled to Dia with Theseus and was abandoned there, but rescued by Bacchus, and her crown is set among the stars as the Corona Borealis. (See Titian’s painting – Bacchus and Ariadne – National Gallery, London: and Annibale Carracci’s fresco – The triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne – Farnese Palace, Rome). The Northern Crown, the Corona Borealis, is a constellation between Hercules and Serpens Caput, consisting of an arc of seven stars, its central jewel being the blue-white star Gemma.

Book III: March 8 The Corona Borealis. Her divine name was Libera.

 

Aries

The constellation of the Ram, between Taurus and Andromeda. It represents the ram whose Golden Fleece was sought by Jason and the Argonauts. In ancient times it contained the point of the spring equinox (The First Point of Aries) that has now moved into Pisces due to precession.

Book III: March 23 The sun was astrologically in Aries on the 22nd. In fact it was already astronomically within Pisces. Ovid tells the story of the Golden Ram.

Book IV: April 20 The sun left Aries on this date.

Book IV: April 25 Aries set at twilight on this date.

 

Arion

The poet and singer from Methymnia on Lesbos at the end of the 7th/ beginning of 6th century BC. According to Herodotus he was the greatest kithara player of his time, as well as the inventor of the dithyrambs.
Nothing of Arion's work has survived, but there is a famous anecdote about him. His art made him very wealthy, and on a journey by sea he was attacked by the crew. He begged them to let him sing one last song before he was thrown overboard, which the bandits gladly accepted. In full costume he gave a last performance, and then jumped into the sea. His music had attracted a dolphin, though, and the friendly mammal carried him ashore. When the ship arrived he was there, and when the crew recognized him they were arrested.

Book II: February 3 His story told by Ovid.

 

Aristaeus

Aristaeus was the son of Apollo and Cyrene. His bees all died of a disease and he went to his mother for help. She sent him to Proteus who could tell him how prevent another such disaster, if so compelled. Aristeus seized Proteus and held him, as he changed shape. Proteus eventually yielded and ordered the sacrifice of twelve animals to the gods, the corpses to be left in the place of sacrifice. Three days later Aristaeus returned to find a swarm of bees in one of the carcasses which were never troubled by disease.

(See Virgil: Georgics IV. 315)

Book I: January 9 Wept at the destruction of his bees.

 

Assaracus

The son of Tros.

Book IV: Introduction The father of Capys. Grandfather of Anchises.

Book IV: April 28 Homer makes him a distant cousin of Tithonus.

 

Athamas

The son of Aeolus, and husband of Ino. The uncle of Pentheus. Maddened by Tisiphone at Juno’s instigation he killed his child Learchus.

Book VI: June 11 Haunted by the Furies, he kills his son.

 

Athena, see Minerva

 

Athenians

The descendants of Cecrops, the mythical founder of Athens.

Book III: Introduction Book IV: April 12 Cecropians.

 

Atlas

Father of the Hyades, Pleiades and Hesperides. A Titan who supported the heavens on his shoulders.

Book III: Introduction Mentioned.

Book IV: Introduction Father of Electra the Pleiad.

Book IV: April 1 Father of the Pleiades.

Book V: Introduction Father of the Pleiades by Pleione.

Book V: May 2 Father of the Hyades by Aethra daughter of Oceanus.

Book V: May 15 Grandfather of Mercury, through his daughter Maia.

 

Atreus

King of Mycenae, the son of Pelops. The father of Agamemnon and Menelaüs.

Book II: February 22 Noted for his crimes.

 

Atrides

Descendants of Atreus, including Agamemnon and Menelaus.

Book IV: Introduction Agamemnon, the father of Halaesus.

 

Attalus

Attalus I Soter (269-197BC) Ruler of Pergamum (241-197), who took the title of King after defeating the Galatians. He supported Rome againt Philp V of Macedon, and made Pergamum a significant power.

Book IV: April 4 Visited by Roman envoys. (Livy contradicts Ovid).

 

Attis

A Phrygian shepherd, loved by Cybele. An incarnation of the vegetation god, the consort of the Great Goddess. He castrated himself in dedicating himself to the goddess.

Book IV: April 4 Ovid gives the religious background.

Book V: May 2 Violets sprang from the blood of his wounds.

 

Augustus Caesar

The Emperor Augustus Caesar (63BC –14AD). (The title was also granted to Tiberius). Augustus was Julius Caesar’s grand-nephew, whom Julius adopted and declared as his heir, Octavius Caesar (Octavian). (The honorary title Augustus was bestowed by the Senate 13th Jan 27BC). He married Scribonia and then Livia. He exiled Ovid to the Black Sea region in 8AD for ‘a poem and a mistake’ (carmen et error). The poem probably the Ars Amatoria, the mistake probably something to do with the notorious Julias’ set (the younger Julia, Augustus’s grandaughter, was banished as was the Elder Julia his daughter), that Ovid knew of and repeated. He may possibly have witnessed ‘an illegal’, that is politically unacceptable, marriage between Julia the Younger and her lover. (She subsequently had an illegitimate child while in exile).

Book I:Introduction Germanicus’ ‘grandfather’.

Book I: January 11 His performance of the sacred rites. His deificiation. He assumed the title of Emperor, Julius Caesar his adoptive father having refused the crown.

Book I: January 13 The title Augustus conferred on Octavian in 27BC. He was voted the oak-leaf crown in perpetuum in token of his care for his people and it was hung on his palace doorway.

Book I: January 16 Book II: February 5 An incarnation of Jupiter.

Book II: Introduction This reference may represent the original dedication of the Fasti to Augustus.

Book II: February 1 His care for the shrines and temples.

Book II: February 5 Titled the ‘Father of the Country’, pater patriae. His laws encouraging marriage and chaste behaviour.

Book III: March 6 Augustus presided over the Vestal Virgins having become Pontifex Maximus, High Priest, on this day in 12BC.

Book IV: Introduction Descended from Venus through Aeneas, and his own adoption by Julius Caesar into the Julian family.

Book IV: April 4 He rebuilt the temple to Cybele after a fire in 3AD, so dating this passage of the Fasti to after 3AD.

Book IV: April 16 Made Imperator on April 16, for his relief of Mutina.

Book IV: April 28 His house on the Palatine, and his building of a chapel of Vesta there on becoming Pontifex Maximus. The chapel was dedicated on this day.

Book V: May 1 Augustus created two hundred and sixty five districts (vici) in Rome, each with a shrine of the Lares Compitales, with two statues of the Lares and one of his Genius, or Guardian Spirit.

Book V: May 12 Augustus dedicated a temple to Mars the Avenger (Ultor) August 1st, 2 BC on his avenging Julius Caesar’s death, and another temple in 20BC commemorating the recovery of the Parthian standards.

Book VI: June 30 Augustus’ aunt Atia the younger (his mother was her sister Atia the Elder) married Lucius Marcius Philippus.

 

Aurora

The Dawn. Goddess of the Morning, and wife of Tithonus. The daughter of the Titan Pallas, hence called Pallantias or Pallantis, who fathered Zelus (zeal), Cratus (strength), Bia (force) and Nicë (victory) on the River Styx.

Book I: January 11 Book IV: April 28 Wife of Tithonus. The Dawn.

Book III: March 5 Sheds dew. Her saffron cheeks.

Book IV: April 5 Called Pallantias.

Book V: May 2 Her alternative parentage, as Eos the daughter of Hyperion and Theia.

 

Aventine Hill

One of the seven hills of Rome, the seat of Aventinus.

Book I: January 11 The haunt of Cacus.

Book III: March 1 The ancient sacred oak grove below it.

Book III: March 31 Moon worship there on this date.

Book IV: Introduction Book VI: June 11 Named after Aventinus. Hercules pastured his cattle on the hill.

Book IV: April 21 The founding of the City.

Book V: May 1 The peak of the Hill with its temple to Bona Dea.

Book V: May 2 The Publician Road up the Aventine, made in 240BC.

Book VI: June 19 The worship of Minerva there.

 

Aventinus

A mythical Alban king who gave his name to the Aventine hill from which he ruled.

Book IV: Introduction The successor to Remulus.

 

Azan

Unknown. There was an Azan son of Arcas, mentioned in myth in connection with Selene the Moon goddess, wife of Endymion.

Book III: March 15 Father of Anna as a nymph.

 

Bacchus

The god Dionysus, the ‘twice-born’, the god of the vine. The son of Jupiter-Zeus and Semele. His worship was celebrated with orgiastic rites borrowed from Phrygia. His female followers are the Maenades. He carries the thyrsus, a wand tipped with a pine-cone, the Maenads and Satyrs following him carrying ivy-twined fir branches as thyrsi. (See Caravaggio’s painting – Bacchus – Uffizi, Florence) He was equated by the Romans with Liber the fertility god. See Euripides’ Bacchae. Also called Lenaeus, ‘of the winepress’.

Book I: January 9 Goats sacrificed to Bacchus. He is ‘ivy-berried’, and his triennial festival the trietericus, was celebrated in Greece.

Book II: February 15 The vine god. His sacred grove.

Book III: March 5 He loves Ampelus, and makes him the star Vindemitor the Grape-Gatherer, in Virgo.

Book III: March 8 He rescued and married Ariadne, and made her a goddess.

Book III: March 17 The Liberalia, his festival on this date. His discovery of honey. Various other attributes described by Ovid. He stirs bands of women with his thyrsus.

Book V: May 2 Nursed by the Hyades (the nymphs of Mount Nysa) in one variant of myth.

 

Battus

King of Malta.

Book III: March 15 King of Malta.

 

Bear, Ursa Major

The Great Bear, The Waggon (plaustra), The Wain, The Plough, The Big Dipper, Helice. The constellation of Ursa Major. It represents Callisto turned into a bear by Jupiter, or the plough or waggon or cart of Bootës. The two stars of the ‘bowl’ furthest from the ‘handle’, Merak and Dubhe, point to Polaris the pole star. The ‘handle’ points to the star Arcturus in the constellation Bootës, who is the Waggoner or Herdsman or Bear Herd (Arcturus means the Bearkeeper) or Ploughman.

Book II: February 11 Callisto turned into the Bear.

Book III: Introduction The Little Bear and Great Bear distinguished as Cynosura and Helice.

Book III: March 17 Mentioned. The Kite star referred to is unknown. Possibly the stars forming the modern Lynx or Camelopardis, which would have been difficult to see near the horizon in the northwest before dawn, as they are relatively faint stars.

Book VI: June 7 Arcturus in Bootes set at dawn in the northwest on this date, before the Bear, Ursa Major, so leaving the Bear unafraid of the following Bear-ward.

 

Bellona

The goddess of War.

Book VI: June 3 A temple dedicated to her by Appius Claudius Caecus in 296BC, after defeating the Etruscan and Samnite alliance.

 

Bootes, Arctophylax

The constellation of the Waggoner, or Herdsman, or Bear Herd. The nearby constellation of Ursa Major is the Waggon, or Plough, or Great Bear. He holds the leash of the constellation of the hunting dogs, Canes Venatici. He is sometimes identified with Arcas son of Jupiter and Callisto. Arcas may alternatively be the Little Bear. Contains the star Arcturus.

Book II: February 11 Bootes rose at twilight in the northeast on this date. The constellation, Arctophylax, represents Arcas.

Book III: March 5 Bootes at dawn was sinking in the West, just above Vindemitor, the star in Virgo referred to. Both would have been clearly visible just before dawn.

Book V: May 26 The constellation was setting in the West at dawn at this date.

 

Boreas

The North Wind. Eurus is the East Wind,Zephyrus is the WestWind, and Auster is the South Wind.He is identified with Thrace and the north.

Book V: May 2 He stole Orithyia, daughter of Erectheus of Athens, and married her.

 

Bovillae

An ancient Latin town (le Frattocchie, at the foot of the Alban hills)

Book III: March 15 A certain Anna came from there. Ovid uses the tale to account for worship of Anna Perenna there.

 

Briareus

The hundred-headed Giant, one of the Titans.

Book III: March 17 Involved in the war against the gods.

 

Brontes

One of the three Cyclopes who forged Jupiter’s thunderbolts.

Book IV: April 4 Mentioned.

 

Brutus

The Brutus who expelled Tarquin from Rome. See Livy i.56.4

Book II: February 24 Ovid tells the story.

 

Brutus, Decimus Junius

He defeated the Gallaecans (Galicians) in northwest Spain in 138/7BC.

Book VI: June 9 On this date.

 

Cacus

The three-headed giant who lived in a cave, stole Hercules’ cattle, and was killed by him. The bellowing of the stolen bulls gave him away. (See also Virgil’s Aeneid).

Book I: January 11 Book V: May 14 Book VI: Introduction Destroyed by Hercules on the site of Rome.

 

Cadmus

The son of the Phoenician king Agenor, who searched for his sister Europa stolen by Jupiter. The founder of  (Boeotian=Aonian)Thebes. The father of Semele.

Book I: January 11 An exile from Tyre.

 

Caducifer

An epithet for Mercury, the Messenger God, as bearer of the caduceus.

Book IV: April 12 Sent by Jupiter to Tartarus.

 

Caenina

A city of Latium associated with the Sabines.

Book II: February 5 Mentioned.

 

Callisto

A nymph of Nonacris in Arcadia, a favourite of Phoebe-Diana. The daughter of Lycaon. Jupiter raped her. Pregnant by him, she was expelled from the band of Diana’s virgin followers by Diana as Cynthia, in her Moon goddess mode. She gave birth to a son Arcas and was turned into a bear by the jealous Juno and then set among the stars as Ursa Major, the Great Bear.

Book I: January 11 Mother of Arcas.

Book II: February 11 Her story and metamorphosis.

 

Calpetus

The son of Capys.

Book IV: Introduction Father of Tiberinus.

 

Camenae

The water nymphs whose spring ran through the sacred grove outside the Porta Capena. They became identified with the Muses.

Book III: March 1 Egeria one of them.

Book IV: April 4 The Muses. Aonian because their haunt of Mount Helicon was in Aonia.

 

Camillus

Marcus Furius Camillus, soldier and statesman, of patrician descent, censor in 403BC. He triumphed four times, was five times dictator, and was honored with the title of Second Founder of Rome. When accused of having unfairly distributed the spoil taken at Veii, which was captured by him after a ten years siege, he went into voluntary exile at Ardea. Subsequently the Romans, when besieged in the Capitol by the Gauls, created him dictator; he completely defeated the enemy) and drove them from Roman territory. He dissuaded the Romans, disheartened by the devastation wrought by the Gauls, from migrating to Veii, and induced them to rebuild the city. He afterwards fought successfully against the Aequi, Volsci and Etruscans, and repelled a fresh invasion of the Gauls in 367. He died of, the plague in the eighty-first year of his age (365).

Book I: January 16 Book VI: June 1 He vowed a Temple in 367BC, the Temple of Juno Moneta on the Capitol was said to be founded in fulfilment of this vow. Steps led up to it from the Forum near which was the old Temple of Concord

 

Camerina

The city in Southern Sicily. ‘Camerina was first founded by the Syracusans 135 years (to the best of one's reckoning) after the foundation of Syracuse. Its founders were Daxon and Menecolos But the people of Camerina were driven out of their city by the Syracusans, who made war on them because they revolted, and some time later Hippocrates, the tyrant of Gela took over their land in exchange for some Syracusan prisoners of war and resettled the city of Camarina, acting as founder himself. Once again the inhabitants were driven out, this time by Gelon, and the city was settled for the third time by the people of Gela’ (Thucydides 6.2-5).

Book IV: April 12  Ceres passed by.

 

Campus Martius

The great recreation ground of ancient Rome, the Field of Mars, just outside the ancient city to the north-west along the Tiber. Originally it was open pasture outside the city boundary (pomerium) in the bend of the Tiber south of the Pincian Hill and east of the Janiculum, used for army musters and political assemblies. It took its name from the altar of Mars located there. It was encroached on by public buildings later including the Portico of Octavia and the Theatre of Pompey, but still retained its function as a park and exercise ground.

Book I: January 11 Site of the Juturnalia, by the Aqua Virgo.

Book II: February 27 Book III: March 14 Horse races conducted there on this day, the Equirria.

Book VI: June 7 Games held there on this date. A festival of the Tiber.

 

Cancer, Constellation of the Crab

The constellation of the Crab, and the zodiacal sun sign. It represents the crab that attacked Hercules while he was fighting the multi-headed Hydra and was crushed underfoot but subsequently raised to the stars. The sun in ancient times was in this constellation when furthest north of the equator at the summer solstice (June 21st). Hence the latitude where the sun appeared overhead at noon on that day was called the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees north).

Book I: January 3 Cancer set at about 8am as seen from Rome at that date.

Book VI: June 19 The sun entered Cancer at this date.

 

Capella

The ‘she-goat’, the sixth brightest star in the sky, now part of the constellation Auriga the Charioteer, but once part of the Olenian Goat, representing Aege the goat-nymph (named from the Aegean, or Goat Hill, and daughter of Olenos), who is Amaltheia, who once suckled Jupiter.

Book V: May 1 Capella was visible just before dawn in the north-east at this date, and was setting just after twilight in the north-west.

 

Capitol, Capitoline

The southern summit of the Capitoline Hill of Rome, but used as a name for the whole Hill.

Book I: January 9 The Capitol saved by a goose crying out.

Book I: January 16 The temple of Juno Moneta (money/mint/stamp) on the Capitol. A stairway led up to it from the Forum, near the old temple of Concord.

Book II: February 1 The temple of Jupiter Tonans, the Thunderer, on the Capitol.

Book II: February 23 The building of the temple to Jupiter.

Book VI: June 9 The capture of Rome by the Gauls in 390BC. The Capitol was besieged and the defenders threw out loaves of bread to show that they had provisions to last out the siege.

 

Capricorn

The constellation of the Goat, with a fish’s tail. It represents the goatish horned god Pan who jumped into a river to escape the approach of the monster Typhon, turning his lower half into a fish. The sun in Ovid’s day was in Capricorn at the winter solstice, which has now precessed intro Sagittarius.

Book I: January 17 The sun moved from Capricorn to Aquarius on this date.

 

Capys

The son of Assaracus.

Book IV: Introduction The father of Anchises. His descendant of the same name, the son of Epytus and father of Calpetus.

 

Carmentis, Carmenta

One of the Camenae, or prophetic nymphs. She first lived in Arcadia (Parrhasia) where she had a son Evander, by Mercury. Evander founded Pallantium, and she came to Italy with him, where she changed the fifteen Greek letters of the alphabet he had brought with him to Roman letters.

Book I: January 11 Her festival on this date. Ovid derives the name from carmen, song. Mother of Evander.

Book I: January 15 Her rites repeated on this day. Maenalus was a mountain in Arcadia.

Book II: February 13 The Porta Carmentalis next to the temple of Janus, its right hand arch considered unlucky.

Book VI: June 11 She assists Ino.

 

Carna

Goddess of the hinge (cardo) and therefore of openings and closings.

Book VI: June 1 The origin of her powers.

 

Carseoli

A town on the road to Paelignian Corfinium.

Book IV: April 19 Ovid passes through.

 

Carthage

The Phoenician city of North Africa.

Book III: Introduction A reference to Carthage, the Punic Wars, and possibly Hannibal.

Book VI: Introduction Juno’s chariot and weapons there, see also Virgil Aeneid 1:12.

Book VI: June 8 The Carthaginian victory at Lake Trasimene in 217BC.

 

Castor

The son of Tyndareus of Sparta and Leda, and twin brother of Pollux who was in fact fathered by Jupiter-Zeus. They were brothers of Helen. Castor was an expert horseman, Pollux a noted boxer. They came to be regarded as the protectors of sailors, and gave their names to the two major stars of the constellation Gemini, The Twins.

Book I: January 27 Their temple in the Forum was close to that of the deified Julius Caesar. It was rebuilt by Tiberius in AD6 and dedicated in his and his brother Drusus the Elder’s names.

Book V: May 20 The daughters of Leucippus, Phoebe and Hilaira, were raped and abducted by the two brothers. The daughters were betrothed to Idas and Lynceus who took revenge on Castor and Pollux, who in turn became stars, when Pollux chose to share his immortality with Castor.

 

Celaeno

One of the Pleiads. She slept with Neptune.

Book IV: April 2 Mentioned.

 

Celer

‘Speedy’, the overseer of the building of Rome, chosen by Romulus himself.

Book IV: April 21 Book V: May 9 Ovid has him kill Remus.

 

Celeus

An Athenian who owned the land that became Ceres’ shrine at Eleusis.

Book IV: April 12 The father of Triptolemus.

 

Cerealia

The Festival and Games of Ceres.

Book III: March 17 Her Festival and Games shared with Bacchus.

Book IV: April 19 The Festival held on this day.

 

Ceres

The Corn Goddess. The daughter of Saturn and Rhea, and Jupiter’s sister. As Demeter she is represented in the sky by the constellation and zodiacal sign of Virgo, holding an ear of wheat, the star Spica. It contains the brightest quasar, 3C 273. (The constellation alternatively depicts Astraea.) The worship of her and her daughter Persephone, as the Mother and the Maiden, was central to the Eleusinian mysteries, where the ritual of the rebirth of the world from winter was enacted. Ceres was there a representation of the Great Goddess of Neolithic times, and her daughter her incarnation, in the underworld and on earth. Her most famous cult in Rome was on the Aventine, and dated from the 5th century BC.

Book I: January 9 The first divinity to demand blood sacrifice.

Book I: January 24 Propitiated with mother Earth, as a goddess of the harvest, with corn and the entrails of a pregnant sow. The arts of Ceres are fostered by Peace, brought by the Caesars.

Book II: February 17 The first fruits of the harvest were offered to her.

Book III: March 17 She shares the games of the Cerealia, April 19, with Bacchus (the two representing bread and wine, food and drink).

Book IV: April 12 Her games celebrated. Ovid tells of the rape of Persephone.

Book VI: June 9 Daughter of Saturn and Ops (Rhea). Bread is her gift.

 

Chaos

The source and state of the Universe at its creation. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book I.

Book I: January 1 Ovid suggests that Janus was called Chaos, referring to a possible derivation of Ianus from hiare, to open, as χάος from χάσκειν.

 

Charybdis

The whirlpool between Italy and Sicily in the Messenian straits. Charybdis was the voracious daughter of Mother Earth and Neptune, hurled into the sea, and thrice, daily, drawing in and spewing out a huge volume of water.

Book IV: April 12 Avoided by Ceres.

 

Chiron

One of the Centaurs, half-man and half-horse. He was the son of Philyra and Saturn. Phoebus Apollo took his new born son Aesculapius to his cave for protection. He is represented in the sky by the constellation Centaurus, which contains the nearest star to the sun, Alpha Centauri.

Book V: May 3 At twilight the constellation was rising in the south at or near maximum elevation at this date. It remained very low down on the horizon before setting.

 

Chloris

The Greek goddess of the Spring.

Book V: May 2 Mentioned.

 

Cilicia

The southeast coastal region of Asia Minor, incorporated into the Empire from 67BC when Pompey suppressed the endemic piracy of the coastal area. Famous for its saffron, derived from crocus flowers.

Book I: January 1 Cilician saffron grains burnt on the hearths.

 

Cincinnatus

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, a Roman statesman of the 5th century BC, who was made dictator to save a legion besieged by a hostile Italian tribe. After his victory he returned to his farm, despite pleas that he remain. His rejection of autocratic rule made him a symbol of traditional Roman values.

Book I: January 1 Mentioned.

 

Circeium, Cape Circeo

The sea-nymph, daughter of Sol and Perse, and the granddaughter of Oceanus, Circe, (Kirke or Circe means a small falcon) was famed for her beauty and magic arts and lived on the ‘island’ of Aeaea, which is the promontory of Circeii. (Cape Circeo between Anzio and Gaeta, on the west coast of Italy, now part of the magnificent Parco Nazionale del Circeo extending to Capo Portiere in the north, and providing a reminder of the ancient Pontine Marshes before they were drained, rich in wildfowl and varied tree species.) Cicero mentions that Circe was worshipped religiously by the colonists at Circei. (‘On the Nature of the Gods’, Bk III 47)

Book IV: Introduction Mentioned.

 

Claudia Quinta

A descendant of Clausus, accused of unchastity, who disproved it by freeing the boat carrying Cybele.

Book IV: April 4 Her tale.

 

Clausi, House of

An ancient family of Rome.

Book V: May 1 Mentioned.

 

Clausus

A Sabine leader, the ancestor of the Claudian House, who helped Aeneas. See Virgil Aeneid VII:706.

Book IV: April 4 Ancestor of Claudia Quinta.

 

Clio

The Muse of History.

Book V: IntroductionBook VI: June 30 Mentioned.

 

Clotho

The three Fates were born of Erebus and Night. Clothed in white, they spin, measure out, and sever the thread of each human life. Clotho spins the thread. Lachesis measures it. Atropos wields the shears.

Book VI: June 21 Angered at Hippolytus’ resurrection.

 

Clusius

Book I: January 1 A name for Janus, from claudo (cludo) I close.

 

Cnossian Crown, Cretan Crown, Corona Borealis

The Corona Borealis. The crown of Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Cnossos, given to her by Bacchus, and set in the heavens at her death.

The Northern Crown, the Corona Borealis, is a constellation between Hercules and Serpens Caput, consisting of a main arc of seven stars with a few outliers, its central jewel being the blue-white star Gemma.

Book III: March 8 It rose in the north-east at nightfall on this date.

 

Colline Gate

Porta Collina: a gate in the Servian wall of Rome, named Collina, because it was on the Quirinal Hill (collis). At this gate, the via Salaria and the via Nomentana divided.

Book IV: April 23 The temple of Venus of Eryx, nearby.

 

Concord, Temple of

On the Capitol, near the temple of Juno Moneta.

Book I: January 16 Marcus Furius Camillus vowed to build the temple in 367BC. It was restored by Tiberius from his German spoils in AD10.

 

Concordia

The goddess Concord symbolised the harmonious union of citizens. A temple was erected to her in 367 at the time when the plebeians won political equality.

Book II: February 22 The goddess present on this date.

Book III: March 30 The goddess venerated on this day.

Book VI: Introduction She makes peace between Juno and Hebe by offering an alternative origin for the month of June. Her hair is twined with laurel, the symbol of peace.

Book VI: June 11 A templed dedicated by Livia.

 

Consus

An ancient Roman harvest god. There were two festivals on August 21 and December 15. At the Consualia the Rape of the Sabine Women took place.

Book III: March 1 Mentioned.

 

Coronis

The daughter of Phlegyas of Larissa, King of the Lapiths and Ixion’s brother. She lived on the shores of Lake Beobis in Thessaly. She was loved by Apollo. She was unfaithful to Apollo and killed by him. The god saved their unborn child Aesculapius and gave him into the care of Chiron the Centaur.

Book I: January 1 The mother of Aesculapius.

 

Corvus, Constellation of

The constellation of the Raven or Crow, near Hydra and Crater. Apollo is lnked to the myths regarding Corvus, since he turned himself into a crow during the war of the giants with the gods.

Book II: February 14 Ovid relates the associated myth. The constellation  rose just after twilight at this date.

 

Corvus, Marcus Valerius

(c. 370-270 B.C.), Roman general of the early republican period. According to the legend (349 BC) a raven settled on his helmet during his combat with a gigantic Gaul, and distracted the enemys attention by flying in his face. He was twice dictator and six times consul, and occupied the curule chair twenty-one times. In his various campaigns he defeated successively the Gauls, the Volscians, the Samnites, the Etruscans and the Marsians. His most important victory (343) was over the Samnites at Mount Gaurus.

Book I: January 13 Mentioned.

 

Corybantes

Mythologically the sons of Apollo and Thalia the Muse. Crested dancers dedicated to Zagreus. Perhaps archaically identifiable with the shaven-headed Curetes.

Book IV: April 4 Drowned the cries of the infant Jupiter.

 

Cranaë

A nymph identified with the goddess Carna.

Book VI: June 1 She protected the infant Proca.

 

Crassus, Marcus Licinius

He and his son Publius were defeated by the Parthians at Carrhae in 53BC. The standards were lost, but re-captured in 20BC.

Book V: May 12 Book VI: June 9 Augustus regained the standards.

 

Crater, Constellation of

The constellation of the Cup or Bowl, representing the chalice of Apollo, associated with neighbouring Corvus and Hydra.

Book II: February 14 Ovid relates the associated myth. The constellation was rising at twilight at this date.

 

Crathis

Possibly the Italian River Crathis, modern Crati, site of the ancient town of Sybaris. Camere is unknown.

Book III: March 15 Anna sails there.

 

Cremera

A stream near Veii.

Book II: February 13 Site of the fort built by the Fabii.

 

Crete

The Mediterranean Island.

Book III: Introduction Ruled by the mythical King Minos, hence Minoan.

 

Crocus

A youth who pined away from love of the nymph Smilax, and was changed into the crocus flower. Smilax became the flowering bindweed.

Book V: May 2 Mentioned.

 

Cupid

The god of love, son of Venus (Aphrodite). He is portrayed as a blind winged child armed with a bow and arrows, and carries a flaming torch.

Book II: February 15 He hides with his mother by the Euphrates.

Book IV: Introduction The twin Amors, Venus Aphrodite’s children were Eros and Anteros in Greek Mythology.

 

Cures

A small Sabine town, home of Numa the second King of Rome, and the Sabine capital.

Book II: February 5 Book II: February 17 Book VI: June 5 Mentioned.

Book III: March 1 Angered by the Rape of the Sabine Women.

 

Curetes

They or the Dactyls guarded the infant Jupiter. They were the sons of Rhea, and stood around the golden cradle, hung on a tree, clashing their spears and shouting, to drown the noise of his wailing (like the sound of heavy rain?). They seem to have been associated with rain-making ceremonies, have shaved their heads, or perhaps part-shaved them into a crest, and thus identifiable with the Corybantes.

Book IV: April 4 Drowned the infant Jupiter’s cries.

 

Curio Maximus

Each tribe was subdivided into ten curiae or wards, each with its curio or warden. These priests formed a college presided over by one of their number, appointed as the Curio Maximus.

Book II: February 17 Mentioned regarding the Feast of Ovens.

 

Curius

Vowed an altar to the Lares.

Book V: May 1 Mentioned.

 

Curtius

In 362 BC Marcus Curtius rode fully armed into a gulf that appeared in the Forum, which could not be filled till the most precious thing in Rome was hurled into it. He cried out that weapons and courage were Rome’s most precious possessions and the gulf filled.

Book VI: June 9 The Lake of Curtius named after him.

 

Cyane

A fountain nymph of Sicily whose stream flowed into the River Anapis, near Syracuse. She was loved by Anapis and wedded him. She obstructed Dis in his abduction of Proserpine and Dis opened up a way to Tartarus from the depths of her pool. See the Metamorphoses.

Book IV: April 12  Ceres passed by.

 

Cybele

The Phrygian great goddess, personifying the earth in its savage state, worshipped in caves and on mountaintops. Merged with Rhea, the mother of the gods. Her consort was Attis, slain by a wild boar like Adonis. His festival was celebrated by the followers of Cybele, the Galli, or Corybantes, who were noted for convulsive dances to the music of flutes, drums and cymbals, and self-mutilation in an orgiastic fury.

Book II: February 1 Her shrine near that of Juno Sospita.

Book IV: April 4 Her festival the Megalensian (from Megale, Great Goddess) was on this day. Mount Berecyntus in Phrygia produced boxwood flutes. Ovid tells the legends of Attis and Claudia Quinta associated with her.

Book VI: June 9 The Pan of Asia Minor, Priapus, is located in the same region.

 

Cyclades

The scattered islands of the southern Aegean off the coast of Greece, forming a broken circle.

Book IV: April 4 Passed by Cybele.

 

Cyclopes

A race of giants living on the coast of Sicily of whom Polyphemus was one. They had a single eye in the centre of their foreheads. They forged Jupiter’s lightning-bolts.

Book IV: April 12  Ceres passed by their caves, under Etna.

 

Cyllene

A mountain in Arcadia, Mercury’s birthplace, hence Cyllenius, an epithet of Mercury. (Pausanias, VIII, xvii, noting it as the highest mountain in Arcadia mentions the ruined shrine of Hermes-Mercury on its summit, and says it got its name from Cyllen son of Elatus. Mercury’s statue was of juniper (thuon) and stood eight feet tall. Pausanias says that Cyllene was famous for its white (albino?) blackbirds.)

Book V: Introduction Mercury born there.

 

Cynosura

The Little Bear, from the Greek κυνός ούρά the dog’s tail.

Book III: Introduction Used by the Phoenicians for navigation.

 

Cynthia

The moon goddess, an aspect of Diana.

Book II: February 3 Identified with Diana, entranced by Arion’s music.

Book II: February 11 Identifed with Diana.

 

Cyrene

A water nymph, mother of Aristaeus by Apollo.

Book I: January 9 She sends Aristaeus to see Proteus.

 

Cytherea, see Venus

An epithet for Venus from Cythera, her sacred island.

Book III: March 15 Cytherean used as an epithet of her son Aeneas.

Book IV: Introduction Myrtle her sacred plant.

Book IV: April 4 Cythera her island, passed by Cybele.

Book IV: April 16 Hastens the dawn for Augustus, in her role as origin of the Julian House.