Page:Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) - Volume 3.djvu/1251

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for if they did cross there, as he hoped they would, he should be able to take advantage of the high ground at that place to oppose the Parthian cavalry. Bassus confidentially communicated this to a petty chieftain, a native of Cyrrhestica, who was about him ; and, as he expected, the chieftain, who was favourable to the Parthians, sent the information to Pacorus. It turned out as Bassus wished: Pacorus, believing that Ventidius wished to meet him at the Zeugma, did not cross the Euphrates there, but advanced by a longer route, which took him forty days, and gave Bassus time to collect his forces. (Frontin. Stratagem, i. 6. § 6.) The Parthians were defeated in Cyrrhestica, and Pacorus fell in the battle. The head of Pacorus was sent round to the Syrian cities, which induced them to keep quiet. Eutropius (vii. 3) says that Bassus killed Pacorus, the son of king Orodes, on the same day on which Orodes had killed Crassus through the means of his general Surena. Bassus then moved against Antiochus, king of Commagene, on the pretext that he had not given up some slaves to him, but in reality to ease king Antiochus of some of liis money. In the mean time Antonius arrived, and so far from being pleased with the success of Ventidius, he showed great jealousy of him, and treated him in an unworthy manner. It is said that Antiochus had offered Ventidius a thousand talents as the price of peace, and that Antonius, who undertook the siege of Samosata, was obliged to be content with three hundred. (Plut. Anton, c. 34.) The Senate decreed to Antonius a supplicatio and a triumph for the victories of Ventidius ; and Antonius rewarded his general by dismissing him from his employment. Yet the services of Ventidius were too great to be overlooked ; and on his coming to Rome he had a triumph in November B. c. 38. Nothing more is known of him, Bassus was often cited (Plin. H. N. vii. 43) as an instance of a man who rose from the lowest condition to the highest honours ; a captive became a Roman consul and enjoyed a triumph ; but this was in a period of revolution. It is probable that the talents of Bassus made Caesar and Antonius think it prudent to reward such a man and secure his services. As to Publius Ventidius, who is named in the text of Appian {Bell. Civ. i. 47) as a commander in the Marsic war, see the note in Schweighaeuser's edition of Appian. It is very improbable that P. Ventidius Bassus commanded in that war ; and besides this, some authorities state that he was a child when he was taken prisoner. The annexed coin, struck by Ventidius Bassus, has on the obverse the head of M. Antonius. (In addition to the authorities cited, see Florus, IV. 9, and notes in Duker's edition ; and the passages in Dion Cassius, with the notes of Reimarus ; and Drumann, Geschichte Roms, Antonii.) [G.L.]

VENTIDIUS CUMA'NUS, procurator of Judaea about A. D. 50, is spoken of more at length mider Antonius Felix. [Vol. II. p. 143, a.]

VENULEIA, the wife apparently of P. Licinius Crassus Dives, consul B. C. 97. (Cic. ad Att. xii. 24.)

VENULEIUS. 1. A Roman senator put to death by Sulla in B. C. 82. (Florus, iii. 21. § 26 ; Oros. v. 21.)

2. A decumanus in Sicily, one of the vile instruments of Verres in oppressing the province. (Cic. Verr. iii. 42.)

3. A legatus apparently of C. Calvisius Sabinus in Africa, was deprived of his lictors by Q. Cornificius, when he took possession of the province in B. C. 43. (Cic. ad Fain. xii. 30. § 7.) [Comp. Vol. III. p. 689, a.]

L. VENULEIUS APRONIA'NUS. 1. Consul suffectus under Domitian, A. D. 92. 2. Consul under Hadrian A. D. 123 with Q. Articuleius Paetinus. 3. Consul under M. Aurelius A. D. 168 with L. Sergius Paulus (Fasti).


VENUS, the goddess of love among the Romans, and more especially of sensual love. Previously to her identification with the Greek Aphrodite, she was one of the least important divinities in the religion of the Romans, and it is observed by the ancients themselves, that her name was not mentioned in any of the documents relating to the kingly period of Roman history. (Macrob. Sat. i. 12.) This is further evident from the fact that at no time a festival was celebrated in honour of Venus, for the Vinalia (on the 23d of April and 19th of August) were quite a different festival, and were connected with this goddess only by a misinterpretation of the name (Dict. of Ant. s. v. Vinalia), which led courtesans to regard the 23d of April as a holiday of their own, and to worship the goddess on that day in their peculiar way in a temple outside the city. (Ov. Fast. iv. 865.) In later times several other solemnities were celebrated to Venus in the month of April, partly because that month being the beginning of spring, was thought to be particularly sacred to the goddess of love, and partly because the belief had gradually gained ground that Venus, as the beloved of Mars, was concerned in the origin of the Roman people. This latter point gained support from the legend which made Aeneas a son of Anchises and Aphrodite (identified with Venus ; see Ov. Fast. iv. 135; Plut. Num. 19; Macrob. l.c.; Laur. Lyd. De Mens. iv. 45). There was at Lavinium a sanctuary of Venus common to all Latium, the ceremonies at which were performed by the people of Ardea, but its age cannot be defined. (Strab. p. 232.) At Rome we may notice the following circumstances as proving the worship of Venus to have been established there at an early time. There was a stone chapel with an image of Venus Murtea or Murcia in the Circus near to the spot where the altar of Consus was concealed. (Fest. p. 149, ed. Müller; Apul. Met. vi. 395; Tertull. De Spect. 8; Varro, De L. L. v. 154; Liv. i. 33; August. De Civ. Dei, iv. 16.) The surname Murtea or Murcia shows that the myrtle-tree stood in some relation to the goddess, and it is actually said that in ancient times there was a myrtle grove in front of her sanctuary below the Aventine. (Plin. H. N. xv. 36; Serv. ad Aen. i. 724; Plut.