Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/335

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


The European Sky -God. 287

his descendants,! or even of the Romans in general, as luli 2 — a compliment doubtless to the Caesars, for the great gens Julia claimed descent from lulus.^ The name Ascanins appears to mean " he of the oak " (cp. acrKpa, " oak,") * so that Ascanius lulus may have meant neither more nor less than "the young oak-Jupiter" — a sufficiently remarkable appellation. According to tradition, his son disputed the succession with Silvius, the son of Aeneas by Lavinia, " and to lulus in place of the sovereignty a certain holy power and honour was given, preferable to the royal dignity both for security and for ease ; and this his posterity enjoy down to the present time, being called Julii for him." ^ These words of Dionysius seem to record a genuine separation of the sacred from the secular functions of the Alban dynasty. Note, however, that Silvius and the line of Silvii who succeeded him,^ retained a cognomen suitable to representatives of a tree- god : Silvius means " he of the Forest." Moreover, since Virgil introduces them one and all as crowned with " civic oak,"'^ this tree-god must have been an oak-Jupiter.^ Romulus Silvius, the eleventh in descent, claimed the powers of Jupiter in a very practical way. Ovid^ describes him as " Remulus . . . mimick o' the thunderbolt " ; and

^ Aus. episi. i6. 85 ff. ut quondam in Albae moenibus | supremus Aenea satus I Silvios lulis miscuit.

^Val. Flacc. i. 9 oceanus Phrygios prius indignatus lulos, Sil. 3. 595 f. sacris augebit nomen lulis | bellatrix gens bacifero nutrita Sabino. Pru- dentius actually uses the singular lulus collectively of the Roman people : perist. 2. 454 f. agnoscat et verum Deum I errans luli caecitas.

^Verg. Aen. I. 288, alib. * Class. Rev. xviii. 363.

■^Dionys. a7it. Rom. i. 70.

  • See the lists in Marindin Class. Diet. s.v. "Silvius."

"Verg. Aen. 6. 772, a passage to which Dr. Frazer drew my attention. On a sarcophagus in the Mattel collection at Rome Rhea Silvia reclines beneath an oak-tree (C. Robert Die aiitiken Sarkophag- Reliefs iii. 2, p. 229, pi. 60).

^ Infra p. 307 f. ^Ov. met. 14. 617 f.