Page:Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) - Volume 3.djvu/1252

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

Quaest. Rom. 20.) It must however be observed that some of the ecclesiastical writers preferred taking the surname Murcia in the sense of "stupid" or "dull" (from murcus). Another ancient surname of Venus was Cloacina, which, according to Lactantius (i. 20), was derived from the fact that her image was found in the great sewer (cloaca), and was set up by the Sabine king, T. Tatius, in a temple near the forum. (Comp. Liv. 3.48 ; Plaut. Curcul. iv. 1. 10.) If Venus had been one of the divinities of the lower world, this story might be intelligible enough, but as such was not the case, it appears to be nothing but an etymological inference from the name. Cloaca is connected with cluere, Cluilia, Cloelia, κλύζειν, luere (i. e. purgare), and there is a tradition that T. Tatius and Roranlus, after the war which had arisen out of the rape of the Sabine women, ordered their subjects to purify themselves before the image of Venus Cluacina. (Plin. H. N. xv. 29; comp. Serv. ad Aen. i. 724, where purgare must be read for pugnare.) This explanation agrees perfectly with the belief of the ancients that T. Tatius was the founder of marriage; and Venus Cloacina, accordingly, is the goddess presiding over and purifying the sexual intercourse in marriage. A third ancient surname of the goddess is Calva, under which she had two temples in the neighbourhood of the Capitol. Some believed that one of them had been built by Ancus Marcius, because his wife was in danger of losing her hair ; others thought that it was a monument of a patriotic act of the Roman women, who during the siege of the Gauls cut off their hair and gave it to the men to make strings for their bows, and others again to the fancies and caprices of lovers, calvere signifying "to teaze." (Serv. ad Aen. i. 724; Lactant. i. 20; Nonius, p. 6.) But it probably refers to the fact that on her wedding day the bride, either actually or symbolically, cut off a lock of hair to sacrifice it to Venus. (Pers. Sat. ii. 70, with the Schol.) In these, the most ancient surnames of Venus, we must recognise her primitive character and attributes. In later times her worship became much more extended, and the identification with the Greek Aphrodite introduced various new attributes. At the beginning of the second Punic war, the worship of Venus Erycina or Erucina was introduced from Sicily, and a temple was dedicated to her on the Capitol, to which subsequently another was added outside the Colline gate. (Liv. xxii. 9, 10, xxiii. 30, 31, xl. 34; Ov. Rem. Am. 549; P. Victor, Reg. Urb. v.) In the year B. C. 114, a Vestal virgin was killed by lightning, and her body was found naked; as the general moral corruption, especially among the Vestals, was believed to be the cause of this disaster, the Sibylline books were consulted which contained the order to build a temple of Venus Verticordia (the goddess who turns the hearts of men) on the via Salaria. (Ov. Fast. iv. 160; Val. Max. viii. 15. § 12.) After the close of the Samnite war, Fabius Gurges founded the worship of Venus Obsequens and Postvota; Scipio Africanus the younger that of Venus Genitrix, in which he was afterwards followed by Caesar, who added that of Venus Victrix. (Serv. ad Aen. i. 724.) The antiquity of the worship of Venus Militaris, Barbata and Equestris is unknown (Serv. l.c.; Macrcob. Sat. iii. 8); but the sanctuaries of Venus Rhamnusia, Placida, and Alma are all of a very late date. (P. Vict. Reg. Urb. v. x. xii.) Lastly, we may remark, that Venus is also said to have presided over gardens. (Varro, De R. R. i. 1; Plin. H. N. xix. 4; Fest. p. 58, ed. Müller; compare Hartung, Die Relig. der Röm. vol. ii. p. 248, &c.) [L. S.]

VENUSTUS, artist. This name is found on the celebrated marble of Antium, as that of a freedman of the imperial family, in the time of Claudius, whose profession is described by the letters SPEC, which Vulpi interprets Speculator, but which, according to Raoul-Rochette, should be read Speclarius, that is, a manufacturer of the glass ornaments employed in the decoration of houses. M. R, Rochette brings forward strong arguments in support of his opinion, showing that there was a distinct class of such artists, speclarii, speculorum or speculariorum fabri, and that they existed at Rome as a body corporate. Collegium Speclariorum. (Tabul. Antiat. v. 23. p. 15, Rom. 1726, 4to ; R. Rochette, Lettre à M. Schorn, pp. 422 — 425, 2d ed.) [P. S.]

VENU'TIUS. [Cartimandua.]

VERA'NIA, the wife of Piso Licinianus, who was adopted by the emperor Galba. After the murder of her husband in A. D. 69, she obtained his head from Otho and buried it together with his body. (Tac. Hist. i. 47 ; Plut. Galb. 28 ; Plin. Ep. ii. 20.) [Piso, No. 31.]

Q. VERA'NIUS, was appointed by Tiberius the Caesar's legatus or governor of Cappadocia, when the country was reduced to the form of a Roman province in A. D. 18. Veranius was one of the friends of Germanicus, and accordingly took an active part in A. D. 20 in the prosecution of Cn. Piso, who was believed to have poisoned Germanicus. After the death of Piso in this year [Piso, No. 23], Veranius was rewarded with one of the priestly dignities. He was consul in the reign of Claudius A. D. 49 with C. Pompeius Gallus. In the reign of Nero, A. D. 58 he succeeded Didius Gallus as governor of Britain, but died there within a year, and was followed in the government by Suetonius Paulinus. (Tac. Ann. ii. 56, 74, iii. 10, 13, 17, 19, xii. 5, xiv. 29, Agr. 14.) It was probably to this Veranius that Onosander dedicated his work on military tactics. [Onosander.]

VERA'TIUS, CN. EGNATIUS, a Roman historian, mentioned only by Aurelius Victor (de Orig. Gent. Rom. init,).

VERATIUS or NERATIUS, P.FU'LVIUS, called by Cicero lectissimus homo, accused Milo in B. C. 52, (Cic. pro Flacc. 20 ; Ascon. in Mil. pp. 40, 54, ed. Orelli.)

VERAX, the nephew of Civilis, assisted the latter in his war against the Romans, A. D. 70. (Tac. Hist. v. 20.) [Civilis.]

VERCINGETORIX, the celebrated chieftain of the Arverni, who carried on war with great ability against Caesar in B. C. 52. The history of this war, which occupies the seventh book of Caesar.'s Commentaries on the Gallic war, has been related elsewhere. [Caesar, p. 548.] It is only necessary to mention here that after Vercingetorix fell into Caesar's hands on the capture of Alesia, he was kept in chains and subsequently taken to Rome, where he adorned the triumph of his conqueror in B. C. 45 and was afterwards put to death. (Dion Cass. xl. 41, xliii. 19 ; Plut. Caes. 27.)

VERGASILLAUNUS, a chief of the Arverni and a consobrinus of Vercingetorix, was one of the