Ovid: Fasti - Index P-Z


Now Cape Passero, the south-eastern corner of Sicily.

Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.


A name for Apollo the Healer.

Book IV: April 4 The Romans sent envoys via the oracle at Delphi.


The name given to Melicertes, Ino’s son after his transformation into a sea-god.

Book VI: June 11 His divine name.


The most important of Rome’s seven hills and traditionally the site of the earliest settlements adjacent to the Tiber, south-east of the Capitoline and north of the Aventine. It became a highly fashionable residential area, and Augustus lived there in a house that had belonged to the orator Quintus Hortensius. Other residents included Cicero and Mark Antony.

Book I: January 11 Evander, the Arcadian, landed at its foot.

Book IV: April 21 The founding of the City.

Book VI: June 27 The temple of Jupiter the Stayer in front of the Palatine. Vowed by Romulus if Jupiter stayed the flight of the Roman troops during a battle between the Romans and Sabines.


The pre-Roman goddess of shepherds. Rome was founded on the day of her festival, the Parilia.

Book IV: April 15 The sacred ashes for the Parilia produced at the Fordicidia.

Book IV: April 21 The Parilia, or Palilia, the feast of Pales.


An area of the Middle East. Ovid uses the term to include the Syrian banks of the Euphrates.

Book II: February 15 The banks of the Euphrates.

Palilia, see Parilia

Pallas, son of Evander

Pallas son of Evander, killed by Turnus and avenged by Aeneas.

Book I: January 11 A victim of the wars in Latium.

Pallas Athene, see Minerva

The patron goddess of Athens, born fully grown and armed from the head of Zeus. Associated with virginity, olive-cultivation, domestic arts (spinning, weaving, and pottery etc) wisdom, learning, technology and the mind.

Book II: February 3 The owl was her sacred bird.

Book III: Introduction Identified with Minerva. The patron goddess of Athens.

Pan, see also Faunus

The god of woods and shepherds. He wears a wreath of pine needles. He pursued the nymph Syrinx and she was changed into marsh reeds. He made the syrinx or pan-pipes from the reeds. He is represented by the constellation Capricorn, the sea-goat: a goat with a fish’s tail.

Book I: January 9 Identified with his followers the fauns.

Book II: February 15 Worshipped in Arcadia. The origins of the Lupercalia.

Book IV: April 15 A grove, untouched by the axe, sacred to him.


The sea-nymph.

Book VI: June 11 She and her hundred sisters receive Ino.


A river in eastern Sicily flowing into the bay of Megara.

Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.

Parentalia, see Feralia

Book II: February 21 The Festival of the Dead.


The Festival of Pales, also called the Palilia. The festival, a rustic rite, pre-dated the foundation of Rome, which was also ascribed to April 21. No animal sacrifice was allowed. It was the traditional date of Numa’s birth also.

Book IV: April 21 The Festival celebrated on this day.

Book VI: June 9 Associated with the founding of Rome.


Prince of Troy, son of Priam and Hecuba, brother of Hector. His theft of Menelaüs’s wife Helen provoked the Trojan War.

Book VI: Introduction He judged between the three great goddesses, Minerva, Juno, and Venus, and gave Venus the prize.


Of the town and tribe in Arcadia, hence Arcadian.

Book I: January 11 Book I: January 15 Book II: February 15 Arcadian.


The daughter of the Sun and the nymph Crete (Perseis). She was the wife of King Minos of Crete and mother of Phaedra and Ariadne. She was inspired, by Poseidon,with a mad passion for a white bull from the sea, and Daedalus built for her a wooden frame in the form of a cow, to entice it. From the union she produced the Minotaur, Asterion, with a bull’s head and a man’s body.

Book III: March 8 The mother of Ariadne. Her shame.


Achilles beloved friend whose death causes him to re-enter the fight against the Trojans. Called Actorides from, in one version of myth, his mother Philomele, daughter of Actor.

Book II: Introduction He was cleansed of his killing of Cleitonymus, in a quarrel over a dice game, by Peleus.


Book I: January 1 A name for Janus, from pateo, I open.


The goddess Pax, with a temple in Rome only after AD75.

Book I: January 24 Book I: January 30 Book III: March 30 Celebrated.


The winged horse, created by Neptune’s union with Medusa and sprung from her head when Perseus decapitated her. At the same time his brother Chrysaor the warrior was created. He is represented in the sky by the constellation Pegasus, with fifteen main stars. The sacred fountain of Hippocrene on Mount Helicon, haunt of the Muses, sprang from under his hoof.

Book III: March 7 Pegasus would be in the morning sky just before dawn, and setting in the West at dusk.

Book V: Introduction The fountain of Hippocrene created by him.


An ancient Greek people (Pelasgi) and their king Pelasgus, son of Phoroneus the brother of Io. He is the brother of Agenor and Iasus.

Book II: February 15 The Greeks.


The son of Aeacus, king of Aegina, and brother of Telamon and Phocus. As the son of Aeacus, called Aeacides. The husband of Thetis and father by her of Achilles. ( See Joachim Wttewael’s – The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis - Alte Pinakothek, Munich: see W.B Yeats poem ‘News for the Delphic Oracle, verse III)

Book II: Introduction He killed his brother Phocus, and was absolved of blood guilt by Acastus, King of Iolchos.

Book V: May 3 The father of Achilles.


A mountain in Thessaly in Northern Greece.

Book I: January 3 Book III: March 7 The Giants piled up the mountains during their assault on the gods.

Book V: May 3 The home of Chiron.


The region of Ovid’s birth, at Sulmo. The Paeligni were an Italian people and Sulmo was their ancient capital.

Book IV: April 19 His native land.


The son of Tantalus, and brother of Niobe. He was cut in pieces and served to the gods at a banquet by his father to test their divinity. Ceres-Demeter, mourning for Persephone, did not perceive the wickedness and ate a piece of the shoulder. The gods gave him life again and an ivory shoulder. He gave his name to the Peloponnese.

Book III: Introduction King of Mycenae.

Book IV: April 4 The Peloponnese passed by Cybele.

Pelorias, Pelorus

The modern Cape Faro, the north-east corner of Sicily.

Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.


The son of Echion and Agave, the grandson of Cadmus through his mother. He was King of Thebes. Tiresias foretold his fate at the hands of the Maenads. He rejected the worship of Bacchus-Dionysus and orders the capture of the god. He was torn to pieces by the Bacchantes, who included his own mother, Agave.

Book III: March 17 Mentioned.


Proserpine, daughter of Ceres-Demeter. Ceres searched for her after she was abducted by Dis.

Book IV: April 12 Abducted by Dis.


The daughter of King Minos of Crete and Pasiphaë, and sister of Ariadne. She loved Hippolytus her stepson, and brought him to his death. (See Racine’s play – Phaedra).

Book VI: June 21 Her passion for Hippolytus.


Son of Clymene, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys whose husband was the Ethiopian king Merops. His true father is Sol, the sun-god (Phoebus). He asked his mother for proof of his divine origin, and went to the courts of the Sun to see his father who granted him a favour. He asked to drive the Sun chariot. He lost control of the chariot, and was destroyed by Jupiter in order to save the earth from being consumed by fire.

Book IV: April 21 Associated with fire.

Philippus, Lucius Marcius

He restored the temple of Hercules Musaeum (of the Muses) in the reign of Augustus. His daughter was Marcia wife of Paullus Fabius Maximus, from whose household Ovid’s own third wife (possibly Fabia) came (See Ex Ponto I.2 and III.1) and who was a friend and patron of Ovid. The Marcian family claimed descent from King Ancus Marcius, and added the surname Rex to their family name. Lucius later married Atia the younger sister of Augustus’ mother, Atia the Elder.

Book VI: June 30 The temple dedicated.


The daughter of Pandion, sister of Procne, raped by her sister’s husband Tereus. Tereus violates her, and she vows to tell the world of his crime. He severs her tongue and tells Procne she is dead. Philomela communicates with Procne by means of a woven message, and is rescued by her during the Bacchic revels. She helps Procne to murder Itys, the son of Tereus and Procne. Pursued by Tereus she turns into a swallow, with a red throat. (pectus is translated here as throat, to correspond with the English swallow, hirundo rustica, though in Egypt and elsewhere this bird has a chestnut red underbody as well ). Having no tongue, the swallow merely screams and flies around in circles.

Book II: February 22 An example of crime.


King of Salmydessus in Thrace, a blind prophet, who had received the gift of prophecy from Apollo. He was blinded by the gods for prophesying the future too accurately, and was plagued by a pair of Harpies.

Book VI: June 1 Mentioned.


The brother of Peleus.

Book II: Introduction Killed by Peleus, and his other brother Telamon.


A title of Diana as the moon goddess.

Book II: February 11 Book V: May 2 Book VI: June 7 Diana.

Book V: May 20 The daughters of Leucippus, Phoebe and Hilaira, were raped and abducted by Castor and Pollux. They were betrothed to Idas and


A familiar name for Apollo as the sun-god, and so the sun itself.

Book I: January 1 The sun, renewed at the midwinter solstice.

Book I: January 17 The sun, moving from Capricorn to Aquarius at this date.

Book II: February 3 Apollo as god of music and the lyre.

Book II: February 14 Ovid relates the myth of Corvus, Crater and Hydra.

Book II: February 24 Consulted as an oracular god.

Book III: Introduction The laurel is his sacred bough.

Book IV: April 10 Book V: May 9 The sun.

Book IV: April 28 His temple on the Palatine, containing a famous library.

Book VI: June 13 His contest with Marsyas.


A mountain in Arcadia, the source of the river Ladon.

Book II: February 15 In Arcadia, a site of the worship of Pan.


The Golden Fleece ws that of the winged ram on which Phrixus son of Athamas and Nephele and brother of Helle, escaped, with his sister, from his stepmother Ino, and fled to Colchis, in order to avoid being sacrificed. Helle fell into the sea and the Hellespont is named after her. Phrixus reached Colchis where Sol stables his horses, and sacrificed the ram to Zeus, or in other versions Ares (Mars), and it hung in the temple of Mars where it was guarded by a dragon. Its return was sought by Jason and the Argonauts.

Book III: March 23 The sun entered Aries, the Ram, the previous day.


The son of Saturn, and ancient king of Latium, husband of Canens.

In the Metamorphoses he is loved by Circe, and turned by her into a woodpecker that bears his name. (Picus viridis is the green woodpecker, distinguished by its red nape and crown, and its golden-green back.)

Book III: March 1 A pre-Roman god. The father of Faunus.


The constellation of the fishes, the twelfth sign of the Zodiac. An ancient constellation depicting two fishes with their tails tied together

(by the star α Piscium). It represents Venus and Cupid escaping from the monster Typhon. It contains the spring equinox, formerly in Aries. The vernal equinox has moved into Pisces since ancient times due to the effects of precession (the ‘wobble’ of the earth on its polar axis). The last sign of the solar year, preceding the spring equinox in ancient times. A water sign.

Book II: February 15 At this date the sun was moving into Pisces.

Book III: March 3 The two fishes were named Νότιος and Βόρειος for the South and North respectively. At this date one half of Pisces was just visible rising before dawn, and setting after sunset, the other being hidden.


Censor in 312BC, his colleage being Appius Claudius who Livy says prompted the self-exile of the flute-players.

Book VI: June 13 Mentioned.

Pleiads, Pleiades

The Seven Sisters, the daughters, with the Hyades and the Hesperides, of Atlas the Titan. Their mother was Pleione the naiad. They were chased by Orion rousing the anger of Artemis to whom they were dedicated and changed to stars by the gods. The Pleiades are the star cluster M45 in the constellation Taurus. Their names were Maia, the mother of Mercury by Jupiter, Taÿgeta, Electra, Merope, Asterope, Alcyone (the brightest star of the cluster), and Celaeno.

Book III: Introduction Mentioned.

Book IV: April 2 The Pleiades were below the horizon at dawn on this date, in the north-north-east, rising just after dawn.

Book V: Introduction The daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Seven in number, like the strings of the lyre.

Book V: May 13 The Pleiades were visible on the eastern horizon just before dawn on this date.


The Naiad, the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys and mother of the Pleiads.

Book V: Introduction Mother of the Pleiades.

Pluto, see Dis


The putative son of Tyndareus of Sparta and Leda, and twin brother of Castor. He 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.


The Muse of Sacred Song.

Book V: Introduction She derives May (Maius) from Majesty (Maiestas).


Gnaius Pompeius Magnus, the triumvir. Defeated at Pharsalus (48BC) he sought refuge in Egypt but was killed on arrival, and his severed head was sent to Caesar. The headless corpse was left on the sand.

Book I: January 13 Mentioned.

Pontifex Maximus

The High Priest.

Book III: March 6 Augustus assumed the title.

Book III: March 15 Julius Caesar had assumed the title.


Apparently a goddess of the historic past.

Book I: January 15 Named in the rituals to Carmentis.


The Roman equivalent of Palaemon.

Book VI: June 11 Mentioned.

Postumius, Consul

Consul in 173BC.

Book V: May 2 Mentioned.

Postumus, see Silvius


Apparently a goddess of prophecy.

Book I: January 15 Named in the rituals to Carmentis.


The Pan of Mysia in Asia Minor, venerated as Lampsacus, from the town of that name which was his original cult centre, where he was born ot the goddess Aphrodite-Venus. God of gardens and vineyards. His phallic image was placed in orchards and gardens. He presided over the fecundity of fields, flocks, beehives, fishing and vineyards. He became part of the retinue of Bacchus-Dionysus.

Book I: January 9 His desire for Lotis.

Book VI: June 9 His desire for Vesta.


King of Latium.

Book IV: Introduction Successor to Aventinus, succeeded by Numitor.

Book VI: June 1 As a child, attacked by birds, but saved by Cranaë.


The daughter of Pandion, king of Athens, married to Tereus, king of Thrace. Tereus raped and mutilated her sister, and told Procne that Philomela was dead. Philomela communicated with her by means of a woven message, and she rescued her during the Bacchic rites. She murdered her son Itys and served the flesh to Tereus. Pursued by Tereus she turned into a swallow or nightingale. The bird’s call, mourning Itys, is said to be ‘Itu! Itu!’ which is something like the occasional ‘chooc, chooc’ among its wide range of notes.

Book II: February 22 An example of crime.

Book II: February 24 Ovid takes Procne here as transformed into the swallow.

Book IV: April 12 She grieves for Itys.


Julius Proculus, a Roman who claimed to see the deified Romulus.

Book II: February 17 Ovid tells the story, also told by Cicero (De Rep. ii.10.20) and by Livy (i.16.5)


The sea-god who could change his shape.

Book I: January 9 Yielded to Aristaeus.

Public Fortune, Temple of

Fortuna publica populi romani, Fortuna’s name at Rome.

Book IV: April 5 Her temple dedicated on the Quirinal Hill on this day.

Publician Road

The road up the Aventine Hill.

Book V: May 2 Made by order of the Publicii, in 240BC.

Publicius Malleolus, Lucius and Marcus

The aediles of 240BC.

Book V: May 2 The aediles.


The brother of Dido.

Book III: March 15 Feared by Battus.


King of Epirus (318-272BC) who campaigned against the Carthaginians in Sicily, and against the Romans (his costly victory at Asculum led to the expression ‘a Pyrrhic victory’) was defeated by the Romans under Curius Dentatus at Beneventum in 275BC.

Book VI: June 3 After his prior defeat in 280BC, Pyrrhus offered peace terms, but Appius Claudius the Blind has himself carried into the Senate to urge rejection. Supposedly one of Pyrrhus’ soldiers was caught and forced to buy a piece of land, a pillar was set up there in front of Bellona’s temple. This was deemed to be enemy territory. The ritual of the fetialis or sacred herald advancing to the enemy boundary and casting a spear to indicate was, was then transferred to the land in front of the pillar.

Book VI: June 20 Mentioned.


The famous Greek philosopher of Samos, the Ionian island, who took up residence at Crotona in Italy, where Numa (anachronistically in legend, since he lived over a century before Pythagoras) came to be his pupil. His school was later revived at Tarentum. He flourished in the second half of the 6th century BC.

Book III: Introduction Believed in metempsychosis.


The five-day festival of Minerva.

Book III: March 19 Celebrated from the 19th to the 23rd March. Ovid was born on March 20th 43 BC, during the Quinquatrus.

Book VI: June 13 The Lesser Quinquatrus.


The month of July.

Book III: Introduction The fifth (quintus) month (inclusive) from March.


The name for the deified Romulus.

Book I:Introduction Mentioned.

Book II: February 17 The day dedicated to him.

Book III: Introduction The story of his birth as Romulus.

Book IV: Introduction Romulus as the son of Mars and Ilia.

Book IV: April 5 The Quirinal Hill named for him. The temple of Public Fortune dedicated there on this date.

Book IV: April 21 Invoked by Ovid concerning the founding of Rome.

Book VI: June 9 He speaks on behalf of the Roman people.

Book VI: June 29 A temple dedicated to him on this date. See February 17. A temple was dedicated by Lucius Papirius Cursor in 293BC, and rebuilt by Augustus in 16BC.


An ancient Italian tribe, the origin of the Romans.

Book II: February 17 Gave their name to Quirinus?

Book II: February 24 Expelled Tarquin.

Book III: March 1 Restrained by Numa.

Raven, constellation, see Corvus


A ceremony in which, according to Plutarch, the King of the Sacred Rites offered a sacrifice in the Comitium (place of assembly) and then fled from the Forum. Ovid interprets it as a commemoration of the flight of Tarquin the Proud, last king of the Romans.

Book II: February 24 The date of the Regifugium.

Book V: May 24 The letters QRCF signify Quando Rex Comitiavit Fas. Ovid suggests they might alternatively stand for ‘Quod Rex Comitio Fugerat’.


The son of Agrippa. Struck by lightning.

Book IV: Introduction The father of Aventinus.


The original name of the Lemuria, derived from Remus.

Book V: May 9 Ovid suggests the name altered into Lemuria.


The son of Mars and Ilia, hence Iliades, twin brother of Romulus.

He leapt the new walls Romulus was building to found Rome, in derision, and Romulus killed him.

Book II: February 5 Book IV: April 21 Leaping the walls.

Book II: February 15 He competes with his brother. The Fabii are his followers.

Book II: February 17 He is mentioned as having been killed.

Book III: Introduction The story of his birth. As a youth he leaps the fledgling walls of Rome.

Book IV: Introduction The son of Mars and Ilia.

Book V: May 1 Associated with the Aventine Hill.

Book V: May 9 His spirit visits Faustulus and Acca.


The Greek Great Goddess, wife of Cronus (Saturn).

Book IV: April 4 Ovid equates her to Cybele.


The River in Europe, scene of Roman frontier battles.

Book I: January 1 The activities of Germanicus on the Rhine are mentioned.


A promontory in the Troad.

Book IV: April 4 Passed by Cybele.

Robigalia, Robiginia

The festival of the goddess Mildew (robigo) personified as were many natural agents and virtues in ancient Rome.

Book IV: April 25 Prayers for a successful harvest.

Romaea, see Parilia

Romana Salus

The personification of the Health and Safety of Rome.

Book III: March 30 Venerated on this day.


The city on the Tiber, capital of the Empire. Founded by Romulus in 753BC on the feast of Pales, the Palilia, April 21st.

Book III: March 1 The early origins of the city.

Book IV: April 21 Founded on the Parilia.

Book VI: Introduction The ancient Greek cities under Roman rule.


The mythical founder of Rome with his twin brother Remus. They were the children of Ilia/Rhea Silvia, daughter of Aeneas, or in the more common tradition Numitor the deposed king of Alba Longa. Amulius, Numitor’s brother usurped his throne and made Ilia a Vestal Virgin, but she was visited by Mars himself. Thrown into the Tiber the twins cradle caught in a fig tree (the Ficus Ruminalis) and they were rescued by a she-wolf and fed by a woodpecker, creatures sacred to Mars. Brought up by peasants the twins built the first walled settlement on the Palatine. Romulus killed his brother for jumping over the wall. He reigned for forty years and then vanished, becoming the Roman god Quirinus.

Book I:Introduction Book IV: Introduction He initiated the Roman calendar. His supposed hut, the casa Romuli was preserved on the Palatine Hill.

Book II: February 5 His building of the first walls of Rome.

Book II: February 15 He competes with his brother. His birth story. His Rumina fig-tree.

Book II: February 17 Deified as Quirinus.

Book III: Introduction The story of his birth. He kills Amulius.

Book III: March 7 He created an asylum for fugitives on the Capitol.

Book V: Introduction He selected the City Fathers from the old and wise. Grandson of Numitor through his mother Ilia.

Book V: May 1 Associated with the Palatine Hill.

Book V: May 9 Declares the Remuria.

Book V: May 12 He defeated Acron and took the spolia opima.

Book VI: Introduction Juno’s grandson, through her son Mars.

Book VI: June 27 The temple of Jupiter the Stayer in front of the Palatine. Vowed by Romulus if Jupiter stayed the flight of the Roman troops during a battle between the Romans and Sabines.


Rumina or Ruminalis, from ruma or rumis, a teat. Rumina was the goddess of nursing mothers.

Book II: February 15 The fig tree of Romulus and Remus.

Rutilius Lupus, Publius

Consul, killed by the Marsians at the River Tolenus in 90BC.

Book VI: June 11 Mentioned.


The Sabines, a people of Central Italy who merged with the people of Romulus. ( See Giambologna’s sculpture – The Rape of the Sabines – Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence)

Book I: January 1 Their assault on the citadel.

Book I: January 9 herba Sabina, savine: a kind of juniper.

Book II: February 17 A derivation for the name Quirinus.

Book VI: June 5 They worshipped Semo Sancus.


A nymph loved by Attis. Possibly named from a Phrygian river, Sagaris.

Book IV: April 4 Mentioned.


The dancing priests. They carried a spear and a sacred shield (one of the ancilia said to have fallen from heaven in Numa’s reign). There were originally twelve Palatine Salii with a shrine on the Palatine Hill, twelve more were created by King Tullus Hostilius, the Colline, Agonalian or Agonensian Salii with a shrine on the Quirinal. They wore embroidered tunics, bronze belts, purple edged cloaks and high conical caps. They also had swords at their sides. The festival lasted thirty days of March, and the sacred shields were kept in the sacrarium of Mars. Other colleges of dancing priests existed at Tibur and elsewhere in Italy.

Book III: March 1 Named by Numa from their dancing and leaping (saltus) according to Ovid, and mentioned here.

Sancus, see Semo


A Thracian tribe, mentioned by Herodotus.

Book I: January 9 Sacrificed dogs to Diana Trivia.


Son of Earth and Heaven (Uranus) ruler of the universe in the Golden Age. Mother Earth persuaded her sons to attack Uranus, and depose him. Saturn the youngest was given a sickle and castrated Uranus. The Furies sprang from the shed blood. Saturn was deposed by his three sons Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto who ruled Heaven, Ocean and the Underworld respectively. He was banished to Tarturus. He was the father also of Juno, Ceres and Vesta by Ops.

Book I: January 1 Given refuge in Latium.

Book III: March 17 Dethroned by Jupiter. Saturn stirred up the Titans against him.

Book V: Introduction King of the Gods after the first Chaos.

Book VI: Introduction Juno was his eldest child.

Book VI: June 9 Father by Ops of Juno, Ceres and Vesta.


A title for Juno as the daughter of Saturn.

Book II: February 11 Pursues Callisto.

Book V: May 2 Visits Flora.

Book V: May 14 Book VI: Introduction An ancient name for Roman Italy.


Demi-gods. Woodland deities of human form but with goats’ ears, tails, legs and budding horns. Sexually lustful, they are followers of Bacchus-Dionysus.

Book I: January 9 Book III: March 17 Followers of Bacchus.

Book IV: April 1 They saw Venus naked.

Scorpio, Scorpius

The constellation and zodiacal sun sign of the Scorpion. It contains the red giant Antares (‘like Mars’), one of the four Babylonian guardian stars of the heavens, lying nearly on the ecliptic. (The others are Regulus in Leo, Aldebaran in Taurus, and Fomalhaut ‘the Fish’s Eye’ in Piscis Austrinus. All four are at roughly ninety degrees to one another). Scorpius, because of its position, is one of the two ‘gateways’ to the Milky Way, the other being the opposite constellation of Orion. The Scorpion men attacked Osiris in Egyptian legend, and the Scorpion’s sting killed Orion in Greek myth.

Book III: March 16 Scorpio would be almost setting in the south-west just before dawn, on this date.

Book IV: April 1 Scorpio was setting in the south-west at dawn on this date.

Book V: May 6 Scorpio was setting in the south-west just after dawn at this date.

Book V: May 11 Sent by Earth to attack Latona, and stopped by Orion.


The daughter of Phorcys and the nymph Crataeis, remarkable for her beauty. Circe, jealous of Neptune’s love for her changed her into a dog-like sea monster, ‘the Render’, with six heads and twelve feet. Each head had three rows of close-set teeth. Her cry was a muted yelping. She seized sailors and cracked their bones before slowly swallowing them. She was changed by Circe’s poisons into a monster with a circle of yelping dogs around her waist. Finally she was turned into a rock. (The rock projects from the Calabrian coast near the village of Scilla, opposite Cape Peloro on Sicily. See Ernle Bradford ‘Ulysses Found’ Ch.20)

Book IV: April 12 Avoided by Ceres. Ovid here identifies her and confuses her with Scylla daughter of Nisus.


The daughter of Cadmus, loved by Jupiter. The mother of Bacchus (Dionysus). (See the painting by Gustave Moreau – Jupiter and Semele – in the Gustave Moreau Museum, Paris) She was consumed by Jupiter’s fire having been deceived by Juno. Her unborn child Bacchus is rescued.

Book III: March 17Book VI: June 11 Mentioned.

Semo Sancus Dius Fidius

Semo Sancus was served by the company of priests called the Bidental. He was likely a pre-Roman sky god. His name as Dius Fidius was used as an oath, the oath being taken in the unroofed compluvium of a house, under the open sky, and the god’s temple had a hole in the roof open to the sky also. Fidius is therefore connected to Jupiter.

Book VI: June 5 His shrine on the Quirinal Hill.

Servius Tullius

King of Rome. Son of Vulcan and Ocresia of Corniculum. When young his head was seen surrounded by flame, taken as an omen, see Livy 1.39. Killed by his son-in-law Tarquin the Proud.

Book VI: June 11 Dedicated temples to Matuta and Fortuna. Killed by Tarquin. His veiled statue. Its preservation from fire. His origins.

Book VI: June 24 Built the shrines to Fors Fortuna.


The priestess of Apollo in the temple at Cumae built by Daedalus. She prophesied perched on or over a tripod. She guided Aeneas through the underworld and showed him the golden bough that he had to pluck from the tree. She told him how she was offered immortality by Phoebus, but forgot to ask also for lasting youth, dooming her to wither away until she was merely a voice.

Book III: March 15 Her longevity.

Book IV: April 1 Consulted by the Romans.

Book IV: April 4 Book VI: June 4 The Sibylline books (supposedly written on leaves) were consulted by the priests in 204BC, the 549th Year of Rome. Cumae was deemed a Euboean Greek colony.

Book IV: April 23 She prophesied the transfer of Venus’ cult from Eryx to Rome.


The city of the Phoenicians in the Lebanon. Home of Europa.

Book III: Introduction The Phoenician sailors steered by the little Bear, Cynosura.

Book III: March 15 Dido who founded Carthage came from Sidon, linked by Ovid with its companion city Tyre.

Sigeïus, Sigeüs

A promontory in the Troad, near Troy, and by the mouth of the Scamander. The scene of the debate over the arms of Achilles in front of the Greek ships.

Book IV: April 4 Passed by Cybele.


Silenus and his sons the Satyrs were originally primitive mountaineers of northern Greece who became stock comic characters in Attic drama. He was called an autochthon, or son of Pan by one of the nymphs. He was Bacchus’s tutor, portrayed usually as a drunken old man with an old pack-ass, who is unable to tell truth from lies.( See the copy of the sculpture attributed to Lysippus, ‘Silenus holding the infant Bacchus’ in the Vatican)

Book I: January 9 Book III: March 17 Follows Bacchus.

Book VI: June 9 Attends Cybele’s feast.

Silvia, Ilia

The daughter of Aeneas (Greek myth) or Numitor (Roman version), the Vestal who bore Romulus and Remus, to the god Mars.

Book II: February 15 The story of Romulus and Remus.

Book II: February 21 Her haunts along the Tiber.

Book III: Introduction Book III: March 1 Her liaison with Mars. She and her sons were descendants through Aenaeas, of Ilus, the founder of Troy.

Book IV: Introduction The mother of Romulus (Quirinus).


Faunus, the son of Iulus, born in the deep woods.

Book IV: Introduction Father of Latinus.


The son of Aeolus, and brother of Athamas, famous for his cunning and thievery. He was punished in Hades, continually having to push a stone to the top of a hill, and then pursuing it as it rolled down again.

Book IV: April 2 He married Merope the Pleiad.


A companion of Aeneas.

Book IV: Introduction He founded Sulmona.


The chief city of Laconia on the River Eurotas, and also called Lacadaemon.

Book III: Introduction Worshipped Juno.

Sterope, Asterope

One of the Pleiads. She slept with Mars, and bore him Oenomaus.

Book IV: April 2 Mentioned.


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

Book IV: April 4 Mentioned.


The Roman goddess who incites passion in women (especially in the Bacchae). She is equated with the Greek Semele.

Book VI: June 11 Her grove mentioned.

Stymphalian Waters

Stymphalus, a district in Arcadia with a town, mountain and lake of the same name, near Mount Cyllene. It was a haunt of Diana and Arethusa. (Pausanias says, VIII xxii, that there were three temples of Juno-Hera, at ancient Stymphelos, as the Child, the Perfect One, and the Widow, the moon phases.) In the Sixth Labour Hercules killed or dispersed the brazen beaked and clawed man-eating birds of the Stymphalian Lake that killed men and animals and blighted crops. According to some accounts they were bird-legged women sacred to Artemis-Diana.

Book II: February 15 In Arcadia, a site of the worship of Pan.


A river of the underworld, with its lakes and pools, used to mean the underworld or the state of death itself. The Arcadian river Styx near Nonacris forms the falls of Mavroneri, plunging six hundred feet down the cliffs of the Chelmos ridge. Pausanias says, VIII xvii, that Hesiod (Theogony 383) makes Styx the daughter of Ocean and the wife of the Titan Pallas. Their children were Victory and Strength. Epimenedes makes her the mother of Echidna. Pausanias says the waters of the river dissolve glass and stone etc.

Book II: February 21 The underworld.

Book III: March 1 The gods swore their oaths on the Styx.

Book III: March 17 Imprisoned the bull born of mother Earth.

Book IV: April 4 The abode of the Furies.


Lucius Cornelius Sulla (c139-78BC) Roman dictator. He stormed Rome in 87BC forcing Marius and Cinna to flee. Subsequently outlawed he took Rome in 83BC. As dictator he butchered his opponents, but retired in 79 after restoring the Senate’s power.

Book VI: June 4 He dedicated the statue of Hercules Custos in the Circus.

Sulmona, Sulmo

Sulmo was the chief town of the Paeligni, and Ovid’s birthplace, about ninety miles from Rome. Modern Sulmona.

Book IV: Introduction Founded by Solymus.


A nocturnal Jupiter, god of the night sky and its storms.

Book VI: June 20 His temple dedicated, possibly in 278BC.


Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.


Syphax and Hasdrubal son of Gisco were defeated by Masinissia and Scipio in 203BC.

Book VI: June 23 On this day.


Founded (734 BC) by Greek colonists from Corinth, Syracuse grew rapidly and soon founded colonies of its own. Its democratic government was suppressed by Gelon, tyrant of Gela, who took possession of the city in 485 BC. Under his rule, marked by a great victory (480 BC) over Carthage at Himera, Syracuse took the lead among the Greek cities of Sicily. Gelon's successor, Hiero I, made it one of the great centers of Greek culture; the poet Pindar and the dramatist Aeschylus lived at his court.

Book IV: April 23 Later sided with Carthage and was captured by Marcus Claudius Marcellus in 212BC.

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.


The people of Syria, in the Middle East.

Book II: February 15 Fish a taboo food.


A dangerous series of sandbanks on the north coast of Africa between Tunis and Cyrene.

Book IV: April 12 Avoided by Ceres.


Dea Muta, or Mania, or Lara. The mother of the Lares (The public gods of the crossroads, the Lares Compitales, providing protection as the single family Lar provided household protection) and of the Manes (The ancestral dead, the ‘good ones’). Lara was a nymph who talked so much that Jupiter cut out her tongue. She was then called Muta, or Tacita, the mute or silent one. Mania took part in the Compitalia and Feralia festivals, a kind of ogress who frightened little children. Maniae were grotesque figures representing the dead: woollen dolls were maniae, hung on doors in honour of the Lares.

Book II: February 21 Ovid gives the background story of Muta.


Wife of the elder Tarquin. Ocresia became her handmaid.

Book VI: June 11 Mentioned.


The descendants of Tantalus.

Book II: February 22 Atreus and Thyestes, noted for wickedness.

Book V: May 2 Agamemnon.


The king of Phrygia, son of Jupiter, father of Pelops and Niobe, who served his son Pelops to the gods at a banquet and was punished by eternal thirst in Hades. His descendants include Atreus and Thyestes, and in the next generation the Atrides, Agamemnon and Menelaus.

Book II: February 22 His descendants.

Tarpeia, Tarpeius

The Tarpeian Heights were the cliff-edge in Rome from which certain criminals (murderers and traitors) were thrown. Ovid calls the whole Capitoline Hill, Tarpeian, but strictly it applied to the western cliff, the Tarpeian Rock, named from Spurius Tarpeius who commanded the citadel in the Sabine War or his daughter Tarpeia who betrayed the citadel to the Sabines or from Lucius Tarpeius whom Romulus caused to be hurled from the rock. Not located it was placed by ancient sources close to the Roman Forum, the Temple of Saturn, or the Temple of Jupiter, which places it south-west of the Capitol. The heights were climbed by the victor in a triumph. The Tarpeian Altars were those of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline.

Book I: January 1 New consuls climbed in procession to the Capitol. Tarpeia’s betrayal is mentioned. The Roman girl treacherously opened the citadel on the Capitoline to the Sabines, and was killed beneath the weight of the weapons, which were thrown on her.

Book VI: Introduction Juno’s shrine linked to that of Tarpeian Jupiter.

Tarquins, Superbus (the Proud) and his son Sextus

Tarquinius Superbus (the Proud) was the (possibly mythical) seventh and last King of Rome, and son of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus. He ruled according to Roman tradition from 534 to 510BC. He was finally expelled from the city. He took Gabii by a trick with the help of his son Sextus, see Livy i.53.

Book II: February 24 The siege of Ardea, and Sextus’ rape of Lucretia. This is the date of the flight of the king which Ovid supposes to be a commemoration of Tarquin the Proud’s expulsion from Rome.

Book VI: June 11 Tarquin the Proud usurped the throne from Servius his father-in-law urged by his wife Tullia.

Tarquinius Collatinus

Tarquinius of Collatia, the husband of Lucretia.

Book II: February 24 Precipitates her rape, unwittingly.


The underworld. The infernal regions ruled by Pluto (Dis).

Book III: March 15 Aeneas visited the underworld.

Book IV: April 12 Mercury seeks Persephone there. Taenarus was the promontory and town in Southern Greece, near Sparta, said to be the entrance to the underworld.


A king of the Sabines who fought against Romulus, but afterwards made peace and ruled jointly with him.

Book I: January 1 His assault of the Citadel.

Book II: February 5 Mentioned.

Book VI: Introduction He institituted the worship of Juno Curitis at Rome.


A city on the eastern coast of Sicily, modern Taormina.

Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.


The constellation and zodiacal sun sign of the Bull. It represents the white ‘Bull from the Sea’, a disguise of Jupiter when he carried off Europa. Its glinting red eye is the star Aldebaran one of the four Babylonian guardians of the heavens, lying near the ecliptic. (The others are Regulus in Leo, Antares in Scorpius, and Fomalhaut ‘the Fish’s Eye’ in Piscis Austrinus. All four are at roughly ninety degrees to one another.)

Book IV: April 20 The sun entered Taurus on this date. Only the front half of the animal is depicted in the sky, and at sunset on this date only the horns would have been visible after the sun had gone below the horizon. Ovid speculates the sign represents Io as a heifer, or Jupiter as the bull that carried of Europa, in either case indicating Jupiter’s amours, and offending Juno.

Book V: May 2 The head of the constellation is formed by the V-shaped cluster of stars known as the Hyades. The sun was virtually conjunct the Hyades at this date.

Book V: May 14 The sun was rising conjunct the head of the Bull at this date. Taurus itself would therefore not be visible, but was indeed raising its head.

Book VI: June 2 Book VI: June 15 The Hyades were rising at dawn.


One of the Pleiads. She slept with Jupiter, and bore him Lacedaemon.

Book IV: April 2 Mentioned.


The son of Ulysses, by Circe, who in one variant of myth kills Ulysses his father and marries Penelope.

Book IV: Introduction Legendary builder of Tusculum.


A site in Bruttium.

Book V: May 9 The copper mines there.


The vale of Tempe, the ancient name of a narrow valley in N. Thessaly, through which the river Peneus (mod. Salambria) reaches the sea. It is about four, miles and a half long. Tempe was sacred to Apollo, to whom a temple was erected on the right bank. Every ninth year a sacred mission proceeded to the valley to pluck the laurel for the chaplets for, the Pythian games. Owing to its widespread fame, the name Tempe was given also to the valley of the Velinus near Rea (Italy) and that of the Helorus in Sicily.

Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.


Tempestas, the personification of storm at sea.

Book VI: June 1 A shrine was dedicated to the goddess by Lucius Cornelius Scipio in 259BC, after the Carthaginians were driven from Corsica.


An island in the Aegean near the Trojan coast. (See Homer’s Iliad).

Book IV: April 4 Passed by Cybele.


The king of Thrace, husband of Procne. Brings her sister, Philomela, to stay with her, while conceiving a frenzied desire for the sister.He violates the girl. He cuts out her tongue, and tells Procne she is dead. Procne serves him the flesh of his murdered son Itys at a banquet. Pursuing the sisters in his desire for revenge, he is turned into a bird, the hoopoe, upupa epops, with its distinctive feathered crest and elongated beak. Its rapid, far-carrying, ‘hoo-hoo-hoo’ call is interpreted as ‘pou-pou-pou’ meaning ‘where? where? where?’.

Book II: February 22 An example of crime.

Book II: February 24 Rejoicing in Procne’s pain.


God of property, boundaries and frontiers. Formerly a title of Jupiter. Depicted later as a column surmounted by a human head.

Book II: Introduction His rites closed the year.

Book II: February 23 His festival, the Terminalia. He shares Jupiter’s temple on the Capitol since a boundary stone once set up was sacred and immoveable.His altar stood under the open sky.


A Titaness, co-ruler of the planet Venus with Oceanus. She reigns over the sea. The sister and wife of Oceanus, in whose waters some say all gods and living things originated, she is said to have produced all his children. Her waters receive the setting sun.

Book II: February 11 The Bear never sets in her waters in northern latitudes.

Book V: Introduction Wife of Oceanus, mother of Pleione.

Book V: May 2 Grandmother of the Hyades.


The Muse of Comedy.

Book V: Introduction Mentioned.


A low peninsula, now known as Magnisi, joined by a narrow isthmus to the mainland of Sicily, about 7 m. N.N.W. of Syracuse. The founders of Megara Hyblaea settled here temporarily, according to Thucydides, in the winter of 729728 B.C, but it seems to have remained almost if not entirely uninhabited until the Athenians used it as a naval station in their attack on Syracuse early in 414 B.C. The scene of a nujmber of naval battles including that of 46BC when Julius Caesar crushed surviving Pompeian forces under Scipio and Cato.

Book IV: April 12 Ceres passed by.


The city in Boeotia founded by Cadmus who sowed the dragon’s teeth.

Book III: March 23 Serpent-born Thebes, the city of Athamas.


A Titaness, co- ruler of the planet Jupiter, daughter of heaven and earth. Her daughters are the Seasons and the Three Fates. She is the Triple-Goddess of justice with prophetic powers.

Book III: March 15 Identified with Anna, a manifestation of the Great Goodess.

Book V: Introduction Justice relegated to a lowly place.


King of Athens, son of Aegeus, hence Aegides. His mother was Aethra, daughter of Pittheus king of Troezen. Aegeus had lain with her in the temple. His father had hidden a sword, and a pair of sandals, under a stone (The Rock of Theseus) as a trial, which he lifted, and he made his way to Athens, cleansing the Isthmus of robbers along the way. He killed the Minotaur in the Cretan labyrinth, with Ariadne’s help, before abandoning her on Dia (Naxos). (See Canova’s sculpture – Theseus and the Dead Minotaur – Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Book III: March 8 Ariadne gave him a clue of thread to unwind and rewind marking his way through the Labyrinth to kill the Minotaur. He abandoned her on Naxos.

Book VI: June 21 Condemned his son Hippolytus, wrongly of making advances to his wife Phaedra.

Thestiades, see Meleager


The son of Pelops, whose two sons were cooked and served to him, by his brother Atreus, as a revenge.

Book II: February 22 Noted for his own crimes.

Thyone, see Hyades


Between Argos and Sparta, disputed by three hundred warriors. Othryades was the only Spartan survivor.

Book II: February 23 A boundary dispute.


The River Tiber on which Rome is situated, after King Tiberinus who drowned there. Noted for its yellow sands, carried by the waters.

Book I: January 1 Rome on its left bank (looking downriver).

Book II: February 1 Book VI: June 1 The grove of Alernus near its mouth.

Book II: February 13 The island in the River.

Book II: February 15 The origin of its name.

Book II: February 21 Its nymphs.

Book III: March 14 The Campus Martius washed by it.

Book III: March 15 The feast of Anna Perenna held nearby.

Book IV: Introduction Named after Tiberinus.

Book IV: April 4 The port at the Tiber’s mouth, Ostia (‘mouth’) reached by Cybele. A bend in the river called the Halls of Tiber.

Book V: May 14 The rites on its banks pre-date the City.

Book VI: June 7 A festival of the Tiber, on the Campus, for fishermen.


An Alban King who drowned in the river Albula, giving his name to it as the Tiber.

Book II: February 15 His name given to the river Tiber.

Book IV: Introduction The son of Calpetus.


The Emperor, Tiberius Claudius Nero (42BC-37AD), the elder son of Livia by her first husband. Augustus adopted the boy and appointed him as his successor after the early deaths of other candidates. He was also Augustus’s stepson through his marriage to the elder Julia, Augustus’s daughter by Scribonia. Tiberius adopted Germanicus as his son who thus became a brother to the younger Drusus.

Book I:Introduction Germanicus’ ‘father’.

Book I: January 11 Emperor after Augustus’ death.

Book I: January 16 Rebuilt the temple of Concord from his German spoils, AD 10.


A small town on the Anio, in the Sabine hills, twenty miles northeast of Rome, the modern Tivoli.

Book IV: Introduction Founded by Greeks according to Ovid.

Book VI: June 13 The self-imposed exile of the flute-players.


The son of Laomedon, husband of Aurora, and father of Memnon.

Book I: January 11 Book III: March 5 Book VI: June 11 Book VI: June 20 His wife is Aurora, the Dawn.

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


A mountain in Lydia, near the source of the River Caÿster, sacred to Bacchus. Named after Tmolus the husband of Omphale who was killed there by Diana, whose attendant Arrhippe, and sanctuary, he had violated.

Book II: February 15 Husband of Omphale. His vineyard.

Torquatus, Titus Manlius

Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus, fl. 4th cent BC, served against the Gauls (361 BC), one of whom he slew in single combat. He took the Gaul’s torque, or collar, hence his name Torquatus. He was dictator twice more, and three times consul. In 340, with his colleague, Publius Decius Mus, he defeated the Latins near Vesuvius and at Trifanum. He killed his own son for disobeying express orders not to engage in single combat with the enemy. Some of his story is legendary

Book I: January 13 Mentioned.


A mountain in Arcadia.

Book II: February 15 In Arcadia, a site of the worship of Pan.

Trinacria, Sicily

Trinacria is an ancient name for Sicily.

Book IV: April 4 The Sicilian Sea crossed by Cybele.

Book IV: April 12 Book IV: April 23 The name from its configuration, with three capes. Ovid has Ceres traverse many of the sites of ancient Sicily including the famous promontory with the temple of Venus-Aphrodite at Eryx, and the pool of Cyane.


The son of Celeus and Metanira.

Book IV: April 12 Healed by Ceres. The first ploughman and sower of seed.

Tritonia, Athene, see Minerva


An epithet of Diana, worshipped at the meeting of three ways, ‘Diana of the crossroads’.

Book I: January 9 A dog sacrificed to her by the Sapaeans.


The son of Erichthonius.

Book IV: Introduction Father of Assaracus.


The ancient city destroyed in the ten-war year with the Greeks, and identified by Schliemann with Hissarlik four miles inland from the Aegean end of the Hellespont. The archaeological evidence would indicate destruction by fire between 1300 and 1200BC. The story of the War is told in Homer’s Iliad, and the aftermath of it and the Greek return in the Odyssey. The Troad is the rocky north-west area of Asia Minor along the Hellespont, dominated by the Ida range, traditionally believed to have been ruled by Troy.

Book I: January 11 Prophesied to rise again as Rome.

Book III: March 6 Source of the Roman race through Aeneas. Its gods represented by the sacred Vestal fire.

Tubertus, Postumius

Aulus Postumius Tubertus defeated the Aequians and Volscians at Mount Algidus in 431BC.

Book VI: June 17 On this date.


The festival of the purification (lustrum) of trumpets.

Book III: March 23 Sacrifice to Mars.

Book V: May 23 Vulcan’s day when the trumpets he makes are cleansed.


The daughter of Servius Tullius, and wife of Tarquin the Proud. A Roman Lady Macbeth.

Book VI: June 11 She conspired to murder her father, and her brother-in-law.


The King of the Rutulians, son of Daunus, an Italian people with a capital at Ardea south of Rome, not far from modern Anzio. Brother of Juturna.

Book I: January 11 Juturna or Diuturna was his sister.

Book IV: April 23 Fought against Aeneas for the hand of Lavinia.


The inventor of shoe-making. See Homer’s Iliad vii: 219-223.

Book III: March 19 Mentioned.


The King of Calydon and father of Diomedes, and one of the Seven against Thebes. Mortally wounded he gnawed on the skull and ate the brains of his opponent, incurring Athene’s anger. She allowed him to die for his barbarity, having been prepared to save him and render him immortal. Exiled, he fled to Adrastus at Argos.

Book I: January 11 Exiled.

Tyndarides, see Castor and Pollux

Here, the sons of Tyndareus, Castor and Pollux. Tyndareus was the son of Oebalus and Gorgophone, and king of Sparta. He married Leda who bore him Castor and Clytaemnestra, bearing Helen and Pollux to Jupiter (Zeus).

Book V: May 20 The brothers raped and carried off Phoebe and Hilaira, the daughters of Leucippus, betrothed to Idas and Lynceus.

Typhoeus, Typhon

The hundred-handed giant, one of the sons of Earth, who fought the gods. Deposed by Jupiter he was buried under Sicily.

Book I: January 11 Cacus’ flames analagous to his.

Book II: February 15 He pursues Venus and Cupid.

Book IV: April 12 Buried under Mount Etna.


The Greek hero, son of Laërtes. See Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.

Book IV: Introduction The Neritonian, after the hill Neriton in Ithaca his home island. Ulysses visited the Laestrygonians, purportedly in Italy, see Homer’s Odyssey X:81

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


The Muse of Astronomy.

Book V: Introduction She explains the possible origin of the month May (maius) from the City elders (maiores).


Probably a Sabine goddess of Victory.

Book VI: June 9 Sacrifices to her.


An ancient Roman god. The young or little Jupiter.

Book III: March 7 His temple consecrated in the space between the two wooded peaks of the Capitol, by Romulus, who enclosed the lucus as an asylum for fugitives. Ovid explains the god’s attributes.


An ancient town in Southern Etruria.

Book II: February 13 Attacked by the Fabii.


The low ground between the Capitoline and Palatine Hills.

Book VI: June 9 Once marshy ground.


The Goddess of Love. The daughter of Jupiter and Dione. She is Aphrodite, born from the waves, an incarnation of Astarte, Goddess of the Phoenicians. The mother of Cupid by Mars. (See Botticelli’s painting – Venus and Mars – National Gallery, London). Through her union with Anchises she was the mother of Aeneas and therefore putative ancestress to the Julian House.

Book I:Introduction April the second month dedicated to her.

Book III: March 8 Vulcan gave her the crown she gave to Ariadne.

Book IV: Introduction April is her month which name Ovid derives from άφρός (aphros), sea-foam, since Venus-Aphrodite rose from the sea. Venus as mother of Aeneas is the source with Anchises of the Roman people. In an influential passage, at the end of this section, Ovid describes her power (see Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, the introduction to Book III, for a delightful echo.). She was wounded by Diomede at Troy. Paris judged her first among the three goddesses, her rivals being Juno and Minerva, at which they bore a grudge.

Book IV: April 1 Venus Verticordia, the Heart-Changer.

Book IV: April 23 Worshipped by prostitutes at the Vinalia. Her temples, as Venus of Eryx, in Rome.

Book VI: June 9 She speaks on behalf of the Roman people.


An ancient Italian god, of the seasons and their produce. Capable of taking multiple forms (See Metamorphoses XIV).

Book VI: June 9 Ovid derives his name.


The daughter of Saturn, the Greek Hestia. The goddess of fire. The ‘shining one’. Every hearth had its Vesta, and she presided over the preparation of meals and was offered first food and drink. Her priestesses were the six Vestal Virgins. Her chief festival was the Vestalia on 9th June. The Virgins took a strict vow of chastity and served for thirty years. They enjoyed enormous prestige, and were preceded by a lictor when in public. Breaking of their vow resulted in whipping and death. There were twenty recorded instances in eleven centuries. A name also for the Tauric Diana at Nemi who ‘married’ her high priest the ‘king of Rome’, e.g. Julius Caesar. See Fraser’s ‘The Golden Bough’ Ch1 et seq. Vesta’s Temple contained the Palladium, the image of Pallas Athene, sacred to the Trojans. The Vestal Virgins tended the sacred flame within the temple, which was not supposed to be quenched.

Book I: January 11 The fire brought from Troy by Aeneas.

Book III: Introduction The images of the goddess covered their eyes at Silvia, the Vestal, giving birth. The replacement of the laurel at her sacred hearth.

Book III: March 6 Book V: May 12 Augustus presided over the Vestal Virgins having become Pontifex Maximus on this day in 12BC. He claimed descent from Aeneas, having been adopted by Julius Caesar, also Pontifex Maximus, and so from Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, brother of Vesta.

Book IV: April 21 Invoked by Romulus at the founding of Rome.

Book IV: April 28 Augustus built a chapel for her in his house on the Palatine, instead of taking up residence in the Regia near her temple, as his poisiton of Pontifex Maximus demanded. The chapel was dedicated on this day and the day made a public holiday.

Book VI: June 9 Her festival, the Vestalia. Her temple. Daughter of Saturn and Ops (Rhea). Identified with fire, no staues or images of her. Her sacred relics removed for safety when the Gauls attacked the Citadel. She speaks on behalf of the Roman people. Her temple caught fire in 241BC. Identified with Mother Earth.

Book VI: June 15 Her shrine cleansed and the sweepings thrown into the Tiber.

Vestal Virgins

The priestesses of Vesta, the six Vestal Virgins. Her chief festival was the Vestalia in June. The Virgins took a strict vow of chastity and served for thirty years. They enjoyed enormous prestige, and were preceded by a lictor when in public. Breaking of their vow resulted in whipping and death. There were twenty recorded instances in eleven centuries.

Book II: February 15 Book III: Introduction Rhea Silvia, a Vestal.

Book IV: April 15 The ritual burning of sacrificed calves at the Fordicidia, by the oldest Vestal, to produce the ashes used at the Palilia.

Book IV: April 21 The ashes of horse and calf, plus the stripped stalks of beans, supplied by Vesta for the purificatory rites of the Parilia.

Book V: May 14 The Vestals threw human effigies into the Tiber, see Argei.

Book VI: June 6 Book VI: June 15 The shrine was purified after the Ides, and the sweepings thrown into the Tiber. Till then the wife of the Flamen Dialis was subject to taboos.

Book VI: June 9 The penalty for breaking their vows.

Via Nova

The old road from the Porta Mugonia along the north slope of the Palatine, behind the house of the vestals, descending by a staircase to the Velabrum.

Book VI: June 9 Ovid returns by the new path that joins it to the Forum.


A wine-festival, dedicated to Jupiter and to Venus.

Book IV: April 23 The Festival.

Vindemitor, Vindemiatrix

The Grape-Gatherer or Vintager is the star ε (epsilon) Virgo, a magnitude 2.8 yellow giant about 100 light years away.

Book III: March 5 At this date it was just above the horizon in the West as dawn broke, below Bootes.


The deified Hippolytus, god of the grove by the Arician Lake Nemi.

Book VI: June 21 Consort of Diana.


The blacksmith of the gods.

Book III: Introduction Worshipped on Lemnos.

Book III: March 8 Gave Venus the crown that became Ariadne’s.

Book V: May 23 The maker of trumpets. This day dedicated to him, when the trumpets are ritually purified (Tubilustria).

Book VI: June 11 See Mulciber. The Father of Servius Tullius.


The West Wind. Eurus is the East Wind, Auster is the South Wind, and Boreas is the North Wind.

Book V: May 2 Married to Flora, the goddess of Spring.