Propertius: The Elegies - Index L-O

Lacaena, Lacon, Sparta

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

Book I.4:1-28. The city of Hermione.

Book II.15:1-54. Of Sparta.

Book III.14:1-34. Men and women exercised naked.


A famous courtesan of Corinth.

Book II.6:1-42. Her popularity.


Book IV.7:1-96. One of Cynthia’s slaves.


The daughter of the Sun, Phoebus-Apollo and guardian of his cattle which Ulysses and his crew sacrificed.

Book III.12:1-38. An adventure of Ulysses.


A small town on the Appian Way south east of Rome.

Book II.32:1-62. Cynthia goes there.

Book IV.8:1-88. The fertility ritual there.


The king of Troy, son of Ilus the younger, father of Priam, Hesione and Antigone of Troy.

Book II.14:1-32. Troy’s wealth.

Lapitha, Lapithae, Lapiths

An ancient people of south western Thessaly. The marriage of Pirithoüs and Hippodamia was disrupted by Eurytus one of the centaurs invited to the feast, leading to the battle between the Lapiths and Centaurs. (See the sculpture from the west pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia – e.g. the detail, Lapith Woman and Centaur)

Book II.2:1-16. Hippodamia was a daughter of the Lapiths.

Lar, Lares, Penates

The Lares were spirits of the dead, worshipped at crossroads, and in the home as guardian deities, coupled usually with the Penates. The Penates were the old Latin household gods, two in number, whose name derives from penus a larder, or storage room for food. They were closely linked to the family and shared its joys and sorrows. Their altar was the hearth, which they shared with Vesta. Their images were placed at the back of the atrium in front of the Genius, the anonymous deity that protected and was the creative force in all groups and families, and, as the Genius of the head of the house and represented as a serpent, was placed between the Lar (the Etruscan guardian of the house) and Penates. At meals they were placed between the plates and offered the first food. The Penates moved with a family and became extinct if the family did.

Book III.3:1-52. They resisted Hannibal.

Book III.7:1-72. Those of Paetus.

Book IV.1:1-70. The Trojan household gods.

Book IV.3:1-72. The shrine of the Lar opened at the Calends, the first of each month.

Book IV.8:1-88. The shrine of the Lares by the entrance to the house.

Latinus, Latius, Latin


Book II.32:1-62. Roman women.

Book III.4:1-22. Roman Jupiter=Augustus.

Book IV.6:1-86. Roman waters. The Adriatic, off Actium.

Book IV.10:1-48. Roman hands.


Book IV.7:1-96. A slave of Cynthia. Her name from the Greek ‘to serve’ = λατρεύειν

Lavinus, Lavinium

Lavinium, a city of Latium, founded by Aeneas. (Between the modern Ostia and Anzio)

Book II.34:1-94. Founded by Aeneas.


The western port of Corinth.

Book III.21:1-34. On the route to Athens.


The daughter of Thestius, and wife of the Spartan king Tyndareus. She had twin sons Castor and Polydeuces (Pollux), the Tyndaridae, following her rape by Jupiter in the form of a swan. Castor and Pollux are represented in the sky by the two bright stars in the constellation of Gemini, the Twins. They were the protectors of mariners appearing in the rigging as the electrical phenomenon now known as St Elmo’s fire. Gemini contains the radiant of the Geminid meteor shower. (See the painting Leda, by Gustave Moreau in the Gustave Moreau Museum Paris). Propertius takes Leda’s other daughter by Tyndareus, Clytemnestra to be human and not divine. Book I.13:1-36. She is mentioned.


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 Nemean lion killed by Hercules as the first of his twelve labours.

Book IV.1A:71-150. The Zodiacal sign of the Lion.


Book IV.11:1-102. A son of Paullus.


The marsh where the Hydra lived destroyed by Hercules in the Second Labour.

Book II.24A:17-52. A demanding task.

Book II.26A:21-58. Neptune created the spring of Amymone, source of the river Lerna there, with his trident.


The subject of Catullus’s love poems. Probably Clodia Metelli.

Book II.32:1-62. Set a precedent for loose behaviour.

Book II.34:1-94. ‘Better-known’ than Helen. (An ironic comment on her loose behaviour)

Lesbius, Lesbos

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. Through Sappho and Alcaeus a centre, around 600BC, for Greek lyric poetry, Sappho being the first great individual voice of European lyric song.

Book I.14:1-24. Its wine is mentioned.

Lethaeus, Lethe

A river of the Underworld, whose waters bring forgetfulness.

Book IV.7:1-96. Its waters have withered Cynthia’s lips.


Book II.34:1-94. Varro’s mistress.

Leucadius, see Actium


The son of Gorgophone by Perieres. He co-ruled Messene with his brother Aphareus, and gave the city of Leuctra its name. His daughters, the Leucippides, were Phoebe and Hilaira (Hilaeira).

Book I.2:1-32. He is mentioned.


Ino the daughter of Cadmus, wife of Athamas, and sister of Semele and Agave. She fostered the infant Bacchus (Dionysus). She participated in the killing of Pentheus. She incurred the hatred of Juno. Maddened by Tisiphone, and the death of her son Learchus, at the hands of his father, she leapt into the sea, and was changed to the sea-goddess Leucothoë by Neptune, at Venus’s request.

Leucothoe is the White Goddess, the sea-goddess, 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’).

Book II.26:1-20. Prayed to for safety and help at sea.

Book II.28:1-46. The deified Ino.

Liber, see Bacchus


Book IV.11:1-102. The ancestors of Cornelia, a branch of the Scribonii, the senatorial family.


A galley with a ram, light and manoeuvrable, widely used by the Romans e.g. by Octavian at Actium.

Book III.11:1-72. Its prow, a Propertian sexual reference.


The country in North Africa.

Book II.31:1-16. A source of ivory.

Book III.11:1-72. Syphax, its king.

Book IV.1A:71-150. It contained the shrine of Jupiter Ammon.

Book IV.9:1-74. Hercules hair bleached there.


A mythological early poet. The son of Oeagrus and the Muse Calliope, brother of Orpheus. Killed by Apollo out of jealousy (in a tanist ritual?) the famous Lament for Linus crossed the ancient world.

Book II.13:1-16. Famous poet.


The followers of Lygmon (Lucumo), who united with the Titienses, the people of Titus Tatius, and the Ramnes followers of Romulus.

Book IV.1:1-70. Early Romans.


Book II.19:1-32. The dawn. The morning star.


‘The light bringer’, the Roman goddess of childbirth, a manifestation of Juno, but also applied to Diana, as the Great Goddess.

Book IV.1A:71-150. Goddess of childbirth.


A lagoon on the Bay of Naples near Baiae.

Book I.11:1-30. Cynthia stays nearby.


The Moon as celestial body and as manifestation of the Triple Goddess.

Book I.10:1-30. Book II.28:1-46. Referred to.

Book II.34:1-94. The phenomenon of Lunar eclipse.

Book III.20:1-30. The Moon.

Lupercus (1)

A priest of Lupercus, the Roman version of Pan Lukaios. The priests were divided into the colleges of the Fabii and Quintilii

Book IV.1:1-70. The festival of the Lupercalia took place on February 15th. Men dressed only in animal skins ran through the streets striking women with goatskin thongs to promote fertility.

Lupercus (2)

The son of Arria, possibly a friend or kinsman of Propertius.

Book IV.1A:71-150. He died in war.

Lyaeus, see Bacchus


Propertius’s first love.

Book III.15:1-46. Cynthia jealous of his past.

Lycius, Lycia

A region in south-west Asia Minor where Phoebus was the major deity.

Book III.1:1-38. Phoebus.

Lycomedius, see Luceres


Book II.34:1-94. The mistress of the poet Gallus.


It is not known whether Lycotas is a pseudonym or a fictional name.

Book IV.3:1-72. The husband of Arethusa.


The legendary king of Thrace who disapproved of the orgiastic rites of Bacchus-Dionysus and captured the god, who maddened him so that he killed his own son thinking he was pruning a vine.

Book III.17:1-42. Maddened by the god.


Book III.15:1-46. The husband of Dirce.


A country in Asia Minor, containing Ephesus, with its temple of Artemis-Diana, and Smyrna. Famous for its wealth.

Book I.6:1-36. Noted for its wealth and gold-bearing streams.

Book III.5:1-48. Croesus was king of Lydia.

Book III.11:1-72. Omphale was queen of Lydia.

Book III.17:1-42. A Lydian turban crowns Bacchus’s head.

Book IV.7:1-96. The Lydian lyre.

Book IV.9:1-74. Hercules served Omphale there.


A slave of Cynthia and then Propertius.

Book III.6:1-42. A message bearer.

Book IV.7:1-96. Cynthia doubted his loyalty.

Book IV.8:1-88. Attends on Propertius.

Lygmon, Lycmon

An Etruscan general who assisted Romulus against Tatius king of the Sabines, and joined with them in a peace settlement. He was also called Lucumo and his people the Luceres. (those of Romulus were the Ramnes, and of Tatius the Titienses) He came from Solonium a town near Lanuvium, according to Propertius and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

Book IV.1:1-70. A countryman.

Book IV.2:1-64. The crushing of the Sabines.


A fellow poet and friend of Propertius. Possibly a pseudonym for Lucius Varius Rufus.

Book II.34:1-94. Addressed by Propertius, for attempting something with Cynthia.


Book III.9:1-60. The sculptor born at Sicyon who flourished in the second half of the fourth century BC. He was a popular bronze-caster famous for precision of detail and slim bodily proportions, and for moments of action. (See the bronze praying boy in Berlin, and the reliefs from the statue base of Poulydamas, both probably by pupils). Pausanias (Book VI) mentions statues by him at Olympia in Eleia.


A Greek physician at the siege of Troy.

Book II.1:1-78. He healed Philoctetes.

Maeander, Maeandrius

The Maeander river in Lydia in Asia Minor famous for its wandering course, hence ‘meander’. Also its river-god. (Pausanias mentions, VIII vii, a boiling hot spring that comes out of the riverbed and out of a rock mid-stream. Also, V xiv, that it is famous for its many huge tamarisk trees.)

Book II.30:1-40. Minerva invented the flute there, but threw it into the river when it puffed out her cheeks, marring her beauty.

Book II.34:1-94. Its wanderings as a subject no help in love.


Gaius Maecenas (c70-8BC) diplomat, private citizen, patron of the arts, friend of Augustus. His protégés included Virgil, Horace and Propertius.

Book II.1:1-78. He is addressed.

Book III.9:1-60. He is addressed as Propertius’s patron and is the subject of veiled jokes, some homosexual regarding Augustus, which may have been an acceptable practice within Maecenas’s set as it was in Elizabethan England in some circles.


Book IV.9:1-74. Arcadian, from Mount Maenalus in Arcady.

Maenas, The Maenads

The Bacchantes, 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 III.8:1-34. Frenzied women.

Book III.13:1-66. Cassandra, a frenzied prophetess.

Book III.17:1-42. Book III.22:1-42. They killed Pentheus.

Maeonius, Maeotic

Book II.3:1-54. Lake Maeotis the modern Sea of Azov.


Book IV.8:1-88. A dwarf entertainer.


The most southerly promontory of the Peloponnese.

Book III.19:1-28. A dangerous headland.


Mamurius Veturius, a mythical metalworker at the time of Numa.

Book IV.2:1-64. His statue of Vertumnus.


Book III.18:1-34. Augustus’s nephew who died at Baiae in 23BC.


Quintus Marcius Rex built an aqueduct in 144BC the aqua Marcia, with excellent water.

Book III.2:1-26. Book III.22:1-42. Its water.


The general Gaius Marius defeated Jugurtha in North Africa in 104BC and the Germanic tribes of the Teutones and Cimbri in 102-101BC. He was seven times consul.

Book II.1:1-78. He is mentioned for his service to the State.

Book III.3:1-52. A subject for others’ poetry.

Book III.5:1-48. In the underworld.

Book III.11:1-72. His weapons and statues honoured, but desecrated by Cleopatra’s presence.


A companion (or son) of Bacchus.

Book II.32:1-62. A stone fountain, a statue of Maro, in Rome.


The daughter of Evenus, the son of Mars, by his wife Alcippe. Her father wished her to remain virgin, and her suitors were forced to compete in a chariot race with him, the losers forfeiting their lives. Apollo vowed to win her and end the custom, but Idas borrowing his father Neptune’s chariot pre-empted him. Idas snatched her, Evenus gave chase, but killed his horses and drowned himself in the Lycormas then renamed the Evenus in disgust at failing to overtake Idas. Apollo and Idas fought over Marpessa, but Jupiter parted them and she chose Idas fearing that Apollo would be faithless to her.

Book I.2:1-32. She is mentioned.


The war god, son of Jupiter and Juno. An old name for him is Mavors. Venus committed adultery with him and he was caught in a net with her by her husband Vulcan. The father of Romulus. He asked for Romulus’s deification.

Book II.32:1-62. Committed adultery with Venus.

Book III.3:1-52. Book III.4:1-22. The God of War.

Book IV.1:1-70. The father of Romulus. The she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus was under his protection.

Book IV.1A:71-150. The planet Mars associated astrologically with anger, energy, and rapaciousness.

Mausoleus, Mausolus, The Mausoleum

The Mausoleum was the tomb of king Mausolus, ruler of Caria (377-353BC. His widow Artemisia erected the white marble monument over 130 feet high, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Book III.2:1-26. Subject to time.


A name for Mars.

Book II.27:1-16. God of war.


The daughter of Aeetes, king of Colchis and the Caucasian nymph Asterodeia. She is called Aeetias. As told by Ovid in Book VII of the Metamorphoses, a famous sorceress, she conceives a passion for Jason and agonises 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 determines to help Jason and makes him swear on the altar of Triple Hecate to marry her. She gives him magic herbs to facilitate his tasks (probably including the Colchian crocus, meadow saffron, colchicum autumnale, that sprang from the blood of the tortured Prometheus. The plant is highly toxic, and the seeds and corms were collected for the extraction of the narcotic drug colchicine, tinctura colchici, used as a specific against gout.). Jason carries out his tasks using the magic herbs, including magic juice (juniper?) to subdue the dragon, and takes Medea back with him to Iolchos. She offers to attempt to renew Aeson’s life at Jason’s request. She makes a magic potion and restores Aeson’s youth. She rejuvenates the nymphs of Mount Nysa. She then deceives Pelias’s daughters and employs them to help destroy him. She flees through the air with her winged dragons, making a clockwise journey round the Aegean, the Cyclades, the Peloponnese, Aetolia, and Arcadia, to reach Corinth. There she kills Glauce her rival, and then sacrifices her own sons, before fleeing to Athens where she marries King Aegeus. She attempts to poison Theseus using aconite, but Aegeus recognises Theseus’s sword as his own, and dashes the cup away in time. Medea vanishes in a mist conjured by her magic spells.

Book II.1:1-78. The Colchian witch.

Book II.21:1-20. Jason deceived her, leaving her for Creusa.

Book II.24A:17-52. Book IV.5:1-78. Abandoned by Jason.

Book II.34:1-94. Went with a stranger.

Book III.11:1-72. She helped Jason overcome the brazen bulls, defeat the warrior’s born of the dragon’s teeth, and lull the dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece.

Book III.19:1-28. She murdered her children by Jason.

Medus, The Medes

The Median Empire was founded by Dyakku and made great by Cyaxares (625-585BC). It was conquered by the Persians under Cyrus II.

Book III.9:1-60. Book III.12:1-38. Parthians (of Persia, originally north-eastern Persia).


The son of Amythaon, who undertook to steal the cattle of Iphiclus for Neleus, so that Bias his brother or he himself could win Pero, Neleus’s daughter. He was captured and chained but escaped and succeeded in marrying her.

Book II.3:1-54. Driven by love for her.


King of Calydon, the son of Oeneus, and Althaea, daughter of Thestius. As prince, a hero of Calydon. He joined the Calydonian Boar hunt and fell in love with Atalanta. He killed the boar but in an argument over the spoils he murdered his uncles, Plexippus and Toxeus.His mother Althaea punished him, with death, by throwing the brand that was linked to his life, into the fire. Deianira was his sister.

Book III.22:1-42. His mother took his life.


The Ethiopian king, son of Tithonus and Aurora (The Dawn), killed by Achilles while fighting for the Trojans. He was changed to a bird by Aurora on his funeral pyre. The Memnonides were birds, created at the same time, which flew every year to his tomb at Troy from Ethiopia to re-enact the War. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses XIII 579. In Egypt he was said to have survived and ruled Ethiopia subsequently.

Book I.6:1-36. He is mentioned, indicating Ethiopia and the south.

Book II.18A:5-22. His death mourned by Aurora.


The city in Egypt.

Book III.11:1-72. Pompey murdered in Egypt.

Menandreus, Menandrus, Menander

The playwright (341-290BC) and leading author of the school of New Greek Comedy.

Book II.6:1-42. Book IV.5:1-78. He wrote a play with Thais as a character.

Book III.21:1-34. A source of wit and learning.


The younger son of Atreus, and brother of Agamemnon, hence called Atrides minor. Paris’s theft of his wife Helen instigated the Trojan War

Book II.3:1-54. He demanded her return.

Book II.15:1-54. Helen’s abduction.

Book II.34:1-94. Paris abused his hospitality.


Book II.1:1-78. Patroclus the son of Menoetius.

Mens Bona

Book III.24:1-20. The Romans erected a Temple to Good Sense in 217BC.


A famous Greek silversmith of the early fourth century BC.

Book I.14:1-24. His work is mentioned.

Book III.9:1-60. A specialist in sculpted groups.


Book I.14:1-24. Of Mentor.

Mercurius, Mercury

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 II.2:1-16. He slept with Hecate (Brimo).

Book II.30:1-40. The skies are the highways of the god.


Book IV.6:1-86. The capital city of Cepheus’s Ethiopia.


An early king of the island of Cos.

Book II.34:1-94. Coan. Philetas of Cos.


Book IV.8:1-88. Wine from Methymna in Lesbos.


The modern Bevagna near Assisi.

Book IV.1A:71-150. Near Propertius’s birthplace.

Milanion, Melanion

The Greek hero, son of Amphidamas the Arcadian who won Atalanta daughter of Iasus and Clymene, famous for her running. She was a virgin follower of Diana-Artemis. She agreed to marry any suitor who could beat her in the race, those defeated forfeiting their lives. Venus-Aphrodite gave Milanion three golden apples, which he used as lures to delay Atalanta in the foot-race.

Book I.1:1-38. He knew the toils of love.


A mountain in Lydia falling to a headland called Argennum which may have been connected with Argynnus.

Book III.7:1-72. Scene of Argynnus’s death.


The erotic lyric poet of Colophon who lived around 630BC.

Book I.9:1-34. A minor lyric poet is still more useful than Homer in love.


The Roman name for 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 I.2:1-32. She presides over the feminine arts, and the intellect.

Book II.30:1-40. Minerva invented the flute by the River Maeander, but threw it into the river when it puffed out her cheeks, marring her beauty.

Book IV.1A:71-150. Forbade the violation of Cassandra.

Minois, Ariadne

Ariadne daughter of king Minos.

Book II.24A:17-52. Abandoned by Theseus.


The King of Crete, ruler of a hundred cities. Son of Jupiter and Europa. Husband of Pasiphae. Father of Ariadne and Phaedra.

Book II.14:1-32. Ariadne’s father.

Book III.19:1-28. Scylla betrayed the city of Megara to him. Also he is a judge of the dead, with Rhadamanthus and Aeacus.

Book IV.11:1-102. His brother is Rhadamanthus.


The descendants of Minyas, living in Orchomenus in Boeotia. They formed the core crew of Jason’s Argos, hence a name for the Argonauts.

Book I:20:1-52. The Argonauts.


Aeneas’s trumpeter Misenus.

The location at the northern end of the Bay of Naples where he was buried. The modern Cape Miseno between Naples and Ischia. See Virgil’s Aeneid VI 155.

Book I.11:1-30. Cynthia stays nearby.

Book III.18:1-34. Marcellus died nearby in 23BC.


Book IV.8:1-88. The Molossi were a tribe of Epirus.

Musa, The Muses

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), Enterpe (Lyric Poetry), Terpsichore (Dance), Calliope (Epic Poetry), Erato (Love Poetry), Urania (Astronomy), and Polyhymnia (Sacred Song).. Their epithets are Aonides, and Thespiades. Mount Helicon is one of their haunts, and called Virgineus from them.

Book I.8A:27-46. Their arts help lovers.

Book II.1:1-78. Book II.10:1-26. Book II.12:1-24.

Book IV.6:1-86The spirit of creative art in the individual poet. Propertius’s Muse.

Book II.13:1-16. The lesser lyric muses.

Book II.30:1-40. Live on Helicon. Called The Virgins, The Sisters.

Book III.1:1-38. His muse.

Book III.1:1-38. Called the Sisters, on Mount Helicon.

Book III.2:1-26. The poet’s companions.

Book III.3:1-52. Their emblems.

Book III.5:1-48. Poetry is their dance.

Book III.10:1-32. They send him a sign (!) that it is Cynthia’s birthday.

Book IV.4:1-94. Goddesses of incantation and magic.

Book IV.6:1-86. Peace-loving goddesses.


A city in Cisalpine Gaul. (The modern Modena). Antony fought Decimus Brutus there, and was in turn defeated by Octavian (Later Augustus Caesar) in 43BC.

Book II.1:1-78. An example of an episode of Civil War.


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. Agamemnon’s citadel.

Book II.22:1-42. Myceneans=the Greeks at Troy.

Book III.19:1-28. The city of Pelops and Agamemnon.


Book IV.6:1-86. The Mygdones were a tribe in Phrygia. Hence Phrygian.


The Athenian sculptor, c 430BC.

Book II.31:1-16. His statues of oxen, round the altar.


The daughter of Cinyras, mother of Adonis, incestuously, by her father. She conceived an incestuous passion for her father. She attempted suicide, and was rescued by her nurse who promised to help her. She slept with her father, was impregnated by him, and when discovered fled to Sabaea, and was turned into the myrrh-tree, weeping resin. Adonis was born from the tree. See Ovid’s Metamophoses Book X:298-502.

Book III.19:1-28. An example of female lust.


The Greek silversmith and engraver of the fifth century BC, who worked with Parrhasius, see Pausanias Book I Attica.

Book III.9:1-60. Acanthus was a motif of his.

Mysus, Mysia

The country of Mysia in Asia Minor containing the city of Pergamum.

Book I:20:1-52. Visited by the Argonauts.

Book II.1:1-78.The country of Telephus King of Mysia, son of Hercules and the nymph Auge. He was wounded and healed by the touch of Achilles’s spear at Troy.

Nais The Naiades The Naiads

The river nymphs.

Book II.32:1-62. Oenone.


Caphareus is a headland of Euboea on which Nauplius lit a false beacon causing the Greek fleet returning from Troy to be wrecked. He did this to avenge the death of his son Palamedes, falsely done to death by the Greeks.

Book IV.1A:71-150. Vengeance on the Greeks.


Book IV.1:1-70. The temple of Phoebus Navalis, God of Shipping, was the famous temple of Apollo on the Palatine, erected by Augustus as a memorial of the victory at Actium.

Naxius, Naxos

The largest island of the Cyclades, and the home of Bacchus.

Book III.17:1-42. The island of the god of the vine.

Nemorensis, Nemi

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.)

Book III.22:1-42. The sacred grove at Nemi.

Neptunus, Neptunius, Neptune

Neptune, Poseidon, God of the sea, brother of Pluto (Dis) and Jupiter. The trident is his emblem. He helped to initiate the Great Flood (see Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks for the influence of Book I on his descriptions of the deluge, and his drawing Neptune with four sea-horses, Royal Library, Windsor: See the Neptune Fountain by Bartolomeo Ammannati, Piazza della Signoria, Florence.)

He raped Medusa in the temple of Minerva, fathering Pegasus and Chrysaor, for which Minerva filled Medusa’s hair with snakes, and caused her to turn men to stone at a look. He and Apollo built the walls of Troy for Laomedon. He flooded the land when Laomedon refused to pay, and demanded the sacrifice of Hesione to a sea-monster.

Book II.16:1-56. Book II.26:1-20. The God of the Sea.

Book II.26A:21-58. Loved Amymone. He pays his love debts.

Book III.7:1-72. Delights in storms and wrecks.

Book III.9:1-60. Built the walls of Troy with Apollo.

Nereides, The Nereids

The fifty mermaids, attendants on Thetis. They were the daughters of Doris and Nereus.

Book II.26:1-20. Nesaee and Cymothoe are two of their number.

Book III.7:1-72. Propertius says a hundred daughters of Nereus.


A sea-god. The husband of Doris, and, by her, the father of the fifty Nereids, the mermaids attendant on Thetis.

Book IV.6:1-86. God of the waters.


Book II.26:1-20. A Nereid.


King of Pylos, son of Neleus. A Greek chieftain at Troy.

Book II.13A:1-58. He saw his son Antilochus killed there.

Book II.25:1-48. Lived to extreme old age.

Nilus, The River Nile

The great river of Egypt. It is often described as seven-headed from the major mouths of its delta. It was also a royal title of the Pharaohs.

Book II.1:1-78. It is mentioned as a royal title.

Book II.28:1-46. Book II.33:1-22. Io reached the river and became a goddess, an incarnation of Isis.

Book III.11:1-72. Opposes the Tiber by analogy.

Book III.22:1-42. Seven-mouthed.

Book IV.6:1-86. Cleopatra’s river.

Book IV.8:1-88. A flute-player from Egypt.


The daughter of the Phrygian king Tantalus, and Dione one of the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas. The wife of Amphion, king of Thebes.

She rejected Latona and boasted of her children. Her seven sons were killed by Apollo and Diana, the children of Latona (Leto), and her husband committed suicide. Still unrepentant, her daughters were also killed, and she was turned to stone and set on top of a mountain in her native country of Lydia where she weeps eternally. (A natural stone feature exists above the valley of the Hermus, on Mount Sipylus, which weeps when the sun strikes its winter cap of snow – See Freya Stark ‘Rome on the Euphrates’ p9.)

Book II.20:1-36. Weeping for her children.

Book II.31:1-16. Depicted on the temple doors.

Book III.10:1-32. Her rock an emblem of grief.


A Greek hero. Said in the Iliad to be the most handsome of the Greeks.

Book III.18:1-34. Not saved from death by his beauty.


Book III.19:1-28. The father of Scylla and King of Megara. She betrayed him and the city. See the entry for Scylla.


Book IV.7:1-96. One of Cynthia’s slaves.


Book IV.10:1-48. A town north-east of Rome.


The south-west wind.

Book II.5:1-30. Book IV.6:1-86. A storm wind.

Book II.9:1-52. Wintry winds.

Book III.15:1-46. The wind.

Book IV.5:1-78. A parching wind.

Book IV.7:1-96. An uncaring wind.

Novi Agri

Book IV.8:1-88. New Fields. The gardens laid out by Maecenas on the Esquiline to replace an old cemetery.


Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome.

Book IV.2:1-64. Ancient times were before Numa.


Book IV.11:1-102. Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Numantinus defeated Carthage in the Third Punic War. He was awarded the suffix Numantinus for his destruction of Numantia in Spain. An ancestor of Cornelia


Antiope, daughter of Nycteus.


The Theban father of Antiope.

Book I.4:1-28.

Nymphae, The Nymphs

The nymphs are semi-divine maidens inhabiting rivers, springs, seas, hills, trees and woodlands, or attendants on greater deities.

Book I:20:1-52. They seize Hylas. They are a metaphor for the licentious young girls of Rome.

Nysaeus, Mount Nysa

Heliconian or Indian Mount Nysa. The Nyseïds were the nymphs Macris, Erato, Bromie, Bacche and Nysa who hid Bacchus in their cave and nurtured him. They became the star cluster of the Hyades.

Book III.17:1-42. Indian Mount Nysa.


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

Book II.9:1-52. Book IV.4:1-94. The Western Seas.


Book IV.3:1-72. A hard-working character whose earnings were spent by his wife. In Polygnotus’s painting of the Underworld he was depicted eternally twisting a rope of straw while an ass devoured the other end. ‘To twist the rope of Ocnus’ was therefore a proverbial expression.

Odysseus, Ulysses

see Ithacus


Of Oeagrus an ancient king of Thrace. Supposedly the father of Orpheus and of Linus his brother. Their mother was the Muse Calliope.

Book II.30:1-40. Apollo disguised as him, begot Orpheus on Calliope.

Oetaeus, Mount Oeta

Book I.13:1-36. A mountain range between Aetolia and Thessaly. Hercules endures the torment of the shirt of Nessus there, and builds his own funeral pyre. He is deified from its summit.

Oiliades, Ajax

A hero of the Trojan War, son of Oileus, Aiax moderatior, not to be confused with the more famous Ajax son of Telamon. His rape of Cassandra brought the wrath of Minerva on the Greeks.

Book IV.1A:71-150. The rape of Cassandra.


A mountain in northern Thessaly supposed to be the home of the gods.

Book II.1:1-78. The giants Otus and Ephialtes wanted to place Pelion on Ossa to storm the gods in heaven. Propertius adds Olympus to these.


The Queen of Lydia who enslaved Hercules, wearing his lion-skin and carrying his club, while he dressed as a slave-girl.

Book III.11:1-72. Her power over him.


The son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, brother of Iphigenia and Electra. He avenged Agamemnon’s death. (See Aeschylus, the Oresteia)

Book II.14:1-32. Welcomed with joy by Electra.

Oricius, Oricos

A seaport on the coast of Illyria.

Book I.8:1-26. A safe harbour.

Book III.7:1-72. A source of terebinth wood.


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 II.16:1-56. A harbinger of stormy autumn weather.

Book II.26A:21-58. Good weather when seen clearly.


The daughter of the Athenian king Erectheus, and the sister of Procris, stolen away by Boreas, and married to him. She becomes the mother of Calais and Zetes. (See Evelyn de Morgan’s painting–Boreas and Orithyia– Cragside, Northumberland)

Book I:20:1-52. Her winged sons, Calais and Zetes.

Book II.26A:21-58. Willing to be taken by Boreas.

Book III.7:1-72. Feared Boreas.


The Syrian river. Its course lies near Antioch.

Book I.2:1-32. Its region mentioned as a source of myrrh.

Book II.23:1-24. Girls from Syria, dancers and prostitutes.


A Babylonian seer. Possibly fictitious.

Book IV.1A:71-150. Father of Horos.


The mythical musician of Thrace, son of Oeagrus and Calliope the Muse. His lyre, given to him by Apollo, and invented by Hermes-Mercury, is the constellation Lyra containing the star Vega.

(See John William Waterhouse’s painting – Nymphs finding the head of Orpheus – Private Collection, and Gustave Moreau’s painting – Orpheus – in the Gustave Moreau Museum, Paris: See Peter Vischer the Younger’s Bronze relief – Orpheus and Eurydice – Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg: and the bas-relief – Hermes, Eurydice and Orpheus – a copy of a votive stele attributed to Callimachus or the school of Phidias, Naples, National Archaeological Museum: Note also Rilke’s - Sonnets to Orpheus – and his Poem - Orpheus, Eurydice and Hermes.)

He summoned Hymen to his wedding with Eurydice. After she was stung by a snake and died, he travelled to Hades, to ask for her life to be renewed. Granted it, on condition he did not look back at her till she reached the upper world, he faltered, and she was lost. He mourned her, and turned from the love of women to that of young men. He was killed by the Maenads of Thrace and dismembered, his head and lyre floating down the river Hebrus to the sea, being washed to Lesbos. (This head had powers of prophetic utterance) His ghost sank to the fields of the Blessed where he was reunited with Eurydice. He taught Midas and Eumolpus the Bacchic rites.

Book I.3:1-46. He is a patron of music, and the lyre is his emblem.

Book III.2:1-26. The wild creatures and trees gathered to his music.

See Ovid’s Metamorphoses Book XI:1-66.


An ancient name for the island of Delos, originally of an islet nearby (Quail Island), and an epithet of Diana, the Delian goddess. Once a floating island.

Book II.31:1-16. Phoebus’s birthplace.

Book III.22:1-42. A mythical Aegean island.


The Oscans were a people of Italy.

Book IV.2:1-64. =rough or wild.


A mountain in Thessaly in Northern Greece.

Book II.1:1-78. The giants Otus and Ephialtes wanted to place Pelion on Ossa to storm the gods in heaven. Propertius adds Olympus to these.