Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/333

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The European Sky -God. 285

at Rome, Praeneste, and perhaps elsewhere, was associated with an oak-Jupiter and Juno.^ Now in Greece the solar wheel was referred to a special mistletoe-god, Ixion.^ When, therefore, at Rome we find a cult of Fortuna Viscata^ Fortuna " of the Mistletoe," it becomes pro- bable that here too the sun was connected with oak- mistletoe. Again, Fortuna was a very ancient goddess of fertility,* who is sometimes called the daughter of Jupiter.^ Fortuna with her wheel would thus be the Italian counterpart of Persephone with her wheel in the vase-paintings of the Greeks.^ Virgil, therefore, knew what he was about when he described the famous " golden bough " first as sacred to Juno of the nether world, whom in the context he calls Proserpina, and secondly as growing on an evergreen oak like mistletoe.'^ I have next to show that in Italy, as in Greece,^ the reigning monarch was regarded as representative and vice- gerent of the sky-god. To begin with, two or three

temple of Fors Fortuna was June 24 (Roscher Lex. i. 1501), i.e. the summer solstice, and concluded that Fortuna may be traced back to a solar deity {Etudes de Myth. Gaul. i. 56 ff.): see, however, Warde Fowler Roman Festivals p. 169 f.

1 Roscher Lex. i. 1518, 1541 ff., 1546.

2 Class. Rev. xvii. 420.

"Tlut. quaestt. Rom. 74, de fort. Rom. 10.

^ Fortuna was specially worshipped by women under the titles Virgo, Virilis, Muliebris, Mammosa, etc. (Warde Fowler Roman Festivals p. 167 f. ). An ancient bronze tablet (Dessau 3684) records an offering to Fortuna Frimocenia nationu cratia, i.e. "in gratitude for fertility." Colu- mella 10. 311 if. bids gardeners offer their produce to Fors Fortuna when the harvest is ripe and the sun's heat greatest. Several symbols of the goddess, the cornucopia, the modius or grain-measure, and the ears of corn (Roscher Lex. i. 1503 ff., 1506), belong to one who was originally no mere personification of luck, but rather the bountiful spirit who brought tD birth {Fortuna connected with fero) the offspring of all living things.

^Dessau 3684, 3685.

•^ Preller-Robert, p. 805 n. i, Class. Rev. xvii. 176.

^Verg. Aen. 6. 138, 142, 205 ff. ^Folk-lore .xv. 299 ff.