A river in Arcadia. (Pausanias says, VIII xx, that its springs derive from the Phenean Lake and that it has the finest water of any river in Greece.)
Consul in 173BC.
Book V: May 2 Mentioned.
Book IV: Introduction Mentioned.
An ancient Greek colony in Mysia, Asia Minor, known as Pityusa or Pityussa before its colonization by lonian Greeks from Phocaea and Miletus, situated on the Hellespont, opposite Callipolis (Gallipoli) in Thrace. It possessed a good harbour; and the neighborhood was famous for its wine. Lampsacus was the chief seat of the worship of Priapus, a gross nature-god closely connected with the culture of the vine. The ancient name is preserved in the modern village of Lapsaki, but the Greek town possibly lay at Chardak immediately opposite Gallipoli.
Book VI: June 9 Priapus was worshipped there.
Mythical king of the Laestrygonians, and founder of Formiae. (The Laestrygonian country has been placed in Sicily, at Formia on the coast of Campania, or, as Ernle Bradford suggests in ‘Ulysses Found’ Ch.12, from the details of the natural harbour described by Homer in the Odyssey, at Bonafacio in Corsica, in the sea-gate between Corsica and Sardinia.)
The king of Troy, son of Ilus the younger, father of Priam, Hesione and Antigone.
The Silent Goddess.
Book II: February 21 Ovid derives her name from Lala, from the Greek λαλεϊν, to prattle.
Book III: Introduction Mentioned.
Beneficent spirits watching over the household, fields, public areas etc.
They were the public gods of the crossroads, the Lares Compitales, or Praestites, enshrined in pairs, providing protection, deriving from Etruscan and Sabine deities, as the single family Lar provided household protection. Each house had a Lararium where the image of the Lar was kept. The Lar is usually coupled with the Penates the gods of the larder. The yearly festival of the public Lares was the Compitalia.
Book I: January 1 The Household.
Book II: February 22 An offering of food made to them.
Book V: May 1 An altar dedicated to them on this day. They guard and protect the City.
Book VI: June 27 A sanctuary grantd them on this day.
Book II: February 21 The native ruler of Latium.
Book III: March 15 Merged his people with those of Aeneas, and gave him his daughter Lavinia in marriage.
Book IV: April 23 Called Latin Amata.
A country in Central Italy, containing Rome. (The modern Lazio region. It originally designated the small area between the mouth of the Tiber and the Alban Hills. With the Roman conquest it was extended south-east to the Gulf of Gaeta, and west to the mountains of Abruzzo, forming the so-called Latium novum or adiectum.)
The Laurentine road ran towards the sea. The Laurentines were an ancient people living near the coast of Latium. Their city Laurentum is deemed identical with Lavinium.
Book IV: Introduction Mentioned.
Book III: March 15 Won by Aeneas.
The son of Athamas.
Book VI: June 11 Killed by his maddened father.
The Greek island. The home of Vulcan the blacksmith of the gods.Thoas was once king there when the Lemnian women murdered their menfolk because of their adultery with Thracian girls. His life was spared because his daughter Hypsipyle set him adrift in an oarless boat.
Book III: Introduction Vulcan worshipped there. Hypsipyle its queen.
The festival of the wandering spirits of the dead, who visited their old homes, and were placated by offerings of black beans signifying the living.
Book V: May 9 Ovid explains the rites. The spirits called Lemures.
The constellation and zodiacal sign of the Lion. It contains the star Regulus ‘the heart of the lion’, one of the four guardians of the heavens in Babylonian astronomy, which lies nearly on the ecliptic. (The others are Aldebaran in Taurus, Antares in Scorpius, and Fomalhaut ‘the Fish’s Eye’ in Piscis Austrinus. All four are at roughly ninety degrees to one another). The constellation represents the lion killed by Hercules as the first of his twelve labours.
An ancient city in E Sicily, c.20 mi (32 km) S of Catania. It was (729 B.C.) a colony of Chalcidians from the island of Naxos and passed (5th cent. B.C.) under the rule of Syracuse. It was the legendary home of the Laestrygones, a group of giants encountered by Odysseus. The modern town occupying the site is Lentini.
Book IV: April 12 Passed by Ceres.
The island in the eastern Aegean. Among its cities were Mytilene and Methymna. Famous as the home of Sappho the poetess, whose love of women gave rise to the term lesbian.
An island off the coast of Acarnania in western Greece, in the Ionian Sea north of Ithaca. Once joined to the mainland.
Book V: May 14 There was a ritual each year on a promontory there, where someone was thrown into the sea.
Co-king of Messene with Aphareus.
The White Goddess, the sea-goddess into whom Ino was changed, who as a sea-mew helped Ulysses (See Homer’s Odyssey). She is a manifestation of the Great Goddess in her archetypal form. (See Robert Graves’s ‘The White Goddess’) Venus interceded for Ino, after she had leapt into the sea with her son, and Neptune changed them into sea-deities.
Book VI: June 11 Ino’s divine name.
An ancient rural god of Italy who presided over planting and fructification. He became associated (as Liber Pater) with Bacchus-Dionysus.
Book III: March 8 Her divine name.
The deified virtue, Liberty, centre of one of the many Roman cults.
Book IV: April 13 The Atrium Libertatis, not far from the Forum was dedicated to her.
The constellation of the Balance or Scales, made a separate constellation by Julius Caesar having formerly been regarded by the Greeks as the claws of Scorpio. The symbol of Justice, held by the goddess Astraeia, represented by the constellation Virgo.
Book IV: April 6 Libra was just rising in the east at twilight on this day.
The cape (now Boeo) and ancient city of Sicily, on the extreme south-western coast. It is the modern Marsala. It was founded (396 B.C.) by Carthage and became a stronghold. In the First Punic War it resisted a long Roman siege (250–242 B.C.). Rome finally won (241 B.C.) the city and used it as a base for the African campaign of Scipio Africanus Major. The city was famous for its harbor.
Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.
Livia Drusilla (58BC-29AD), the daughter of Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus, who became Empress. Her first husband was Tiberius Claudius Nero (who fought against Octavian-Augustus in the Perusine War) to whom she bore Tiberius, later Emperor and Drusus the father of Germanicus, who was Octavian’s future general in Germany. She married Octavian, the future Augustus, in 38BC, while he was Triumvir, he having forced Claudius to relinquish her. She bore Augustus no children, but exercised great power over him and the succession, helping to secure it for Tiberius. Ovid may have been involved in the anti-Claudian party and so have crossed Livia or her supporters, preventing any chances of reprieve from his exile.
Book I: January 16 Dedicated a shrine to Concord (Concordia) which she presented to Augustus.
Book I: January 9 His seduction of her.
The morning star (the planet Venus in dawn aspect).
Book I:Introduction The dawn.
Book II: February 9 Venus was a morning ‘star’ in the unknown year when Ovid was writing Book II, for example it was true in 8AD the year of his exile.
Book III: March 26 The Morning Star. Ovid takes this date as the spring equinox.
Book V: May 12 The Morning Star.
Book II: February 15 Ovid suggests derivations for her name.
Book II: February 24 Ovid tells the story.
A cave at the south west foot of the Palatine Hill said to have been the she-wolf’s den. A fig tree grew there the Ficus Ruminalis.
Book II: February 15 Ovid explains the origin of the name.
The priests of Lupercus, the Roman version of Pan Lukaios. The priests were divided into the colleges of the Fabii or Fabiani and Quinctiales or Quinctilii. A third college the Julii was established by Julius Caesar in 44BC.
Book II: Introduction Rites of purification.
Book II: February 15 Book V: Introduction The Lupercalia. The priests stripped naked and ran through the streets, apparently round the boundary of the ancient city on the Palatine, starting from the Lupercal. The priests named Luperci from the place of the wolf (lupa). They struck women on the hands with strips of sacrificial goatskin to promote fertility, and purify from barreness and other evils.
An epithet of Bacchus meaning ‘the deliverer from care’.
Book I: January 9 Worshipped by the minor deities.
Book II: February 15 A mountain in Arcadia, and seat of worship.
Son of Pelasgus. Lycaon was a king of primitive Arcadia who presided over barbarous cannibalistic practises. He was transformed into a wolf by Zeus, angered by human sacrifice. His sons offered Zeus, disguised as a traveller, a banquet containing human remains. They were also changed into wolves and Zeus then precipitated a great flood to cleanse the world.
King of the Edonians (Edoni) of Thrace who opposed Bacchus’s entry into his kingdom at the River Strymon. Lycurgus was driven mad and killed his own son Dryas with an axe thinking he was a vine. He pruned the corpse, and the Edonians, horrified, instructed by Bacchus, tore Lycurgus to pieces with wild horses on Mount Pangaeum.
Book III: March 17 Mentioned.
The son of Aphareus, king of Messene, and Arene: half-brother to Idas.
The constellation of the Lyre, representing the stringed instrument invented by Mercury and given by Apollo to Orpheus. It contains Vega the fifth brightest star in the sky, which forms one corner of the ‘summer triangle’ with Deneb in Cygnus and Altair in Aquila. Vega will be the pole star around AD14000.
Book I: January 5 Lyra rose at about 3am at this date from Rome.
Book I: January 17 Lyra effectively rose near dawn and set shortly after dusk at this date, thus being visible as an evening constellation for a short time at night.
Book II: February 2 By this date Lyra would be setting before twilight in the north-west and thus be invisible.
Book V: May 5 At this date Lyra was in fact rising at twilight in the north-east.
The female followers of Bacchus-Dionysus, noted for their ecstatic worship of the god. Dionysus brought terror and joy. The Maenads’ secret female mysteries may indicate older rituals of ecstatic human sacrifice.
Book IV: April 15 Pan the god of Maenalus.
An epithet for Homer from Maeonia in Lydia, his reputed birthplace.
Homer is of course the Greek epic poet, (fl. c. 8th century BC? born Chios or Smyrna?), supposed main author of the Iliad and Odyssey.
Book IV: April 2 Mentioned.
The daughter of Honour and Reverence according to Ovid.
Book V: Introduction Her birth.
Book III: March 1 Ovid tells the background legend.
Defended the Capitol in 390BC.
Book VI: June 1 Subsequently charged with seeking kingship.
Marcus Claudius Marcellus captured Syracuse in 212BC.
Book III: Introduction So named.
The daughter of Lucius Marcius Philippus, wife of Paullus Fabius Maximus, Ovid’s patron, and a friend of Ovid’s third wife who may have been part of her household.
Book VI: June 30 Ovid praises her.
Book I:Introduction Gave his name to the first month, March.
Book II: February 27 Known as Gradivus, the Marching God.
Book III: Introduction Invoked by Ovid. His month of March. His sacred bird the woodpecker. Worshipped by the Latin peoples before the foundation of Rome, but particularly a god of Rome.
Book III: March 23 Sacrifices to him on this day.
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 1 His temple beside the Via Tecta (probably a colonnade by the Appian Way), visible from outside the Capene Gate.
Book VI: June 9 He speaks on behalf of Rome.
A Satyr of Phrygia who challenged Apollo to a contest in musical skill, and was flayed alive by the God when he was defeated. (An analogue for the method of making primitive flutes, Minerva’s invention, by extracting the core from the outer sheath) (See Perugino’s painting – Apollo and Marsyas – The Louvre, Paris)
Book VI: June 13 His discovery of the first flute.
Book VI: June 23 On this day.
The Festival of Mater Matuta, identified by Ovid with Ino.
Book VI: June 11 The festival of good mothers.
An epithet of Mars.
Book III: March 1 So addressed.
Book VI: Introduction He entrusted the defence of the city to Juno.
The month of May.
Book V: Introduction Ovid suggests various origins for the name.
The daughter of Aeetes, king of Colchis and the Caucasian nymph Asterodeia. A famous sorceress, called the Phasian from the River Phasis in Colchis. She conceived a passion for Jason and agonised over the betrayal of her country for him.( See Gustave Moreau’s painting ‘Jason and Medea’, Louvre, Paris: Frederick Sandys painting ‘Medea’, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, England: and Castiglione’s painting, ‘Medea casting a spell’, Wadsworth Athanaeum, Hartford, Connecticut) She determined to help Jason carry out his tasks and he took Medea back with him to Iolchos. She deceived Pelias’s daughters and employed them to help destroy him. She then fled through the air with her winged dragons to reach Corinth. There she killed Glauce her rival, and then sacrificed her own sons, before fleeing to Athens where she married King Aegeus.
Book II: Introduction Welcomed by Aegeus.
Book II: February 22 Noted for her crimes.
One of the three Gorgons, daughter of Phorcys the wise old man of the sea. She is represented in the sky by part of the constellation Perseus, who holds her decapitated head. Neptune lay with her in the form of a bird, and she produced Pegasus the winged horse.
The Megalesian Games in honour of the goddess Cybele.
Book IV: April 4 Celebrated on this date.
Megara Hyblaea, a Dorian settlement of 726 BC on the east coast of Sicily.
Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.
King of Calydon, the son of Oeneus, and Althaea, daughter of Thestius. As prince, a hero of Calydon, he joined the Calydonian Boar hunt. He fell in love with Atalanta. He killed the boar and in an argument over the spoils he murdered his uncles, Plexippus and Toxeus. His mother Althaea punished him, with death, by throwing a brand, linked to his life, into the fire.
Book V: May 2 An example of divine vengeance.
The son of Athamas and Ino. His mother Ino, maddened by Tisiphone and the sight of her son Learchus’ death, at the hands of his father, leapt into the sea with him. He was changed by Neptune, at Venus’s request, into the sea-god Palaemon.
Book VI: June 11 Ovid tells the tale.
The island of Malta in the Mediterranean. Cosyra is Pantellaria about 150 miles distant.
The son of Tithonus and Aurora, fought for Troy in the Trojan War with Greece. He was killed by Achilles, but his mother Aurora begged Jupiter for funeral honours, and he created the warring flock of birds, the Memnonides, from his ashes.
The messenger god, Hermes, son of Jupiter and the Pleiad Maia, the daughter of Atlas. He is therefore called Atlantiades. His birthplace was Mount Cyllene, and he is therefore called Cyllenius. He has winged feet, and a winged cap, carries a scimitar, and has a magic wand, the caduceus, with twin snakes twined around it, that brings sleep and healing. The caduceus is the symbol of medicine. (See Botticelli’s painting Primavera.)
Book V: May 9 The god of the caduceus, the son of Maia.
The seventh ‘lost’ Pleiad.
Book IV: April 12 Mentioned.
Book VI: June 9 He saved the sacred relics of Vesta’s temple in 241BC.
Book IV: April 4 He rebuilt the temple to Cybele originally dedicated in 191BC, after a fire in 111BC.
An Etruscan leader in the Wars in Latium.
Mens, the goddess of Mind (courage, heart etc).
Book VI: June 8 A sanctuary to her vowed by the Senate after the defeat by the Carthaginians at Lake Trasimene in 217BC.
The Roman name for the Greek Athene, the goddess of the mind and women’s arts (also a goddess of war and the goddess of boundaries – see the Stele of Athena, bas-relief, Athens, Acropolis Museum)
Book III: Introduction A goddess of war and peaceful arts.
Book III: March 1 Invoked as a goddess of peace.
Book V: May 2 In one version of myth she was born from Zeus’ head, without a mother.
Book VI: June 9 An image of her, the Palladium, fell from heaven, and as long as it was preserved, Troy was secure. The Greek tale has Ulysses and Diomed steal it, to bring about Troy’s downfall, but the Roman legend was that Aeneas brought it to Italy and that it was kept in the temple of Vesta.
Book VI: June 13 Ovid invokes her favour. The Lesser Quinquatrus. Called Tritonia from her origins near Lake Triton in Libya.
‘The Melter’ A name for Vulcan, the smith, as a metal-worker. (See Milton’s Paradise Lost Book I, as the architect of the towers of Heaven. ‘From Morn to Noon he fell...’) A synonym for fire. As such he consumed the mortal part of Hercules.
The nine Muses are the virgin daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne (Memory). They are the patronesses of the arts. Clio (History), Melpomene (Tragedy), Thalia (Comedy), Euterpe (Lyric Poetry), Terpsichore (Dance), Calliope (Epic Poetry), Erato (Love Poetry), Urania (Astronomy), and Polyhymnia (Sacred Song). Mount Helicon is hence called Virgineus. Their epithets are Pierides, Aonides, and Thespiades.
Book II: February 15 The Pierides invoked by Ovid.
The city in the Argolis, near Argos and Tiryns. Excavated by Schliemann who opened the beehive tombs of the royal tomb circle. Famous for its Lion Gate once topped perhaps by a statue of the Cretan Great Goddess.
The ancient port, of NE Sicily, now Milazzo. It was settled by colonists from Messina. Here in 260 B.C. the Romans in a newly built fleet were led to victory over the Carthaginians by the consul Caius Duilius in the First Punic War; it was Rome’s first naval triumph. Mylae was (36 B.C.) the scene of a naval victory of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa over Sextus Pompeius.
Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.
The water nymphs, demi-goddesses of the rivers, streams and fountains.
The son of the Naiad Liriope and the river-god Cephisus. He rejected Echo out of pride and self-love and she wasted away. He fell in love with his own reflected image. (See the painting by Caravaggio- Palazzo Barberini, Rome), lamented the pain of unrequited love and was turned into the narcissus flower.
Book V: May 2 Mentioned.
Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica, a young man, was commissioned to receive the statue of the goddess Cybele into the City.
Book IV: April 4 Mentioned.
The grove at Aricia a town in Latium, (the modern La Riccia), at the foot of the Alban Mountain, three miles from Nemi. The lake and the sacred grove at Nemi were sometimes known as the lake and grove of Aricia, and were the sanctuary of Diana Nemorensis, Diana of the Wood. (See Turner’s etching and painting, The Golden Bough- British Museum and Tate Gallery). Worship there was instituted by Orestes, who fled to Italy, after killing Thoas, king of the Tauric Chersonese, taking with him the image of Tauric Diana. The rites practised there are the starting point for J.G.Frazer’s monumental study in magic and religion, ‘The Golden Bough’. (See Chapter I, et seq.)
The wife of Athamas, and mother of Phrixus and Helle. Nephele was a phantom created by Jupiter in the likeness of Juno when he wished to deceive Ixion the Lapith who pursued her. Athamas set her aside for Ino.
Book III: March 23 She rescues her children.
King of Pylos, son of Neleus. Famed for his wisdom, eloquence and longevity, he took part in the War against Troy.
Book III: March 15 His longevity.
Nomentum(modern Menlana), an ancient town of Italy, 14 m. N.E. of Rome by the Via Nomentana. It was a Latin town, but was by some considered to be Sabine, and, like Fidenae and Ficulea, was excluded from the first region by Augustus, who made the Anio its northern boundary.
Book IV: April 25 Ovid travelling back from there to Rome.
Mount Nonacris in Arcadia. Also a town in the same region.
Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome (trad. 715-673BC). He searched for knowledge. Having been instructed by Pythagoras (a fable, see the Metamorphoses Bk. XV), he returned to Latium and ruled there, teaching the arts of peace. His wife was Egeria, the nymph.
Book IV: April 15 The origins of the Fordicidia in Numa’s reign.
A river in Latium.
King of Latium. Father of Ilia, and maternal grandfather of Romulus.
Book III: March 17 They hid Bacchus in ivy leaves.
The Ocean, personified as a sea-god, son of Earth and Air, and husband of Tethys his sister. Oceanus and Tethys are also the Titan and Titaness ruling the planet Venus. Some say from his waters all living things originated and Tethys produced all his children.
Ocresia of Corniculum, wife of Tullius of Corniculum. She was given by Tarquin, when he took the city, as a handmaid to his wife Tanaquil. Ocresia was pregnant, and Servius was her son. Later he was given Vulcan as a divine father.
Book VI: June 11 The legend.
Father of Aege, the goat-nymph.
A mountain in northern Thessaly supposed to be the home of the gods.
Book III: March 6 Mentioned. East of Rome.
Book V: Introduction The seat of the gods.
Queen of Lydia, whom Hercules served for three years. She was a daughter of Jordanes, and husband of Tmolus.
The constellation (Anguitenens), usually identified as Aesculapius. It contains Barnard’s star, the second closest star to the sun, having the largest proper motion of any star. The encircling snake is the constellation Serpens.
Book VI: June 21 The constellation was well above the southern horizon at twilight at this date.
A Sabine Earth-goddess, associated with agricultural wealth and the soil, identified with the Greek Rhea.
The mighty hunter, one of the giants, now a constellation with his two hunting dogs and his sword and glittering belt. The brightest constellation in the sky, it is an area of star formation in a nearby arm of the Galaxy centred on M42 the Orion Nebula, which marks Orion’s sword. He is depicted as brandishing a club and shield at Taurus the Bull. He was stung to death by a scorpion, and now rises when Scorpio sets and vice versa. His two dogs are Canis Major, which contains Sirius the brightest star in the sky after the sun, and Canis Minor, which contains the star Procyon, forming an equilateral triangle with Sirius and Betelgeuse the red giant in Orion.
Book IV: April 9 Orion was setting in the west at twilight at this date.
Book VI: June 26 Orion was rising at dawn at this date.
Part of the city of Syracuse in Sicily on an island in the harbour.
Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.
A mountain in Thessaly in Northern Greece.
The sole Spartan survivor of a dispute between Argos and Sparta ov er Thyrea.
Book II: February 23 The weapons dedicated to his name.
Rites celebrated at the time of parching the grain.
Book II: February 17 The latest date for the festival.
Book VI: June 9 Goddess of the Ovens mentioned.
The author, Publius Ovidius Naso, born March 20th 43BC.
Book VI: June 6 His daughter was his only child, his daughter by his second wife. She was married to a senator Cornelius Fidus and went to Africa with him, a senatorial province. See Tristia Book IV.X for Ovid’s autobiography.