Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/338

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


290 The European Sky -God.

to be a sun-god with Diana for his partner/ had an aquatic as well as a celestial aspect. He was, it will be remembered, the mate of Juturna, the old Latin goddess of lakes and rivers.- He was the father of Fontus,^ the god of springs and wells, whose Janiform head appears on coins of the gens Fonteia.* He was the father also of the river Tiber, whose sacred oak is mentioned by- Virgil,^ and of Canens the water-nymph, whom King Picus preferred to the Naiads of Nemi.^ It was said that, when the Sabines on one occasion attempted to force their way into Rome, a raging flood of waters burst out from the temple of Janus and drove them back.'^ All this and more^ goes to prove that an aquatic bust of Janus is far from being incredible.^ Moreover, that this god was

^ Supra p. 277 n. i. "Supra p. 277.

^Arnob. adv. nat. 3. 29. Babelon Moitn. de la Rip. ro?n. i. 499.

^ Szipra p. 281. ^Ov. met. 14, 320 ff.

Macrob. Sat. i. 9. 18, Ov. fast. i. 267 ff., Serv. ifi Verg. Aeti. i. 291.

  • Roscher Lex. ii. 41.

^In what relation to this watery Janus, it may be asked, did Diana's favourite Virbius stand ? Virbius is an ancient name of unknown origin, which appears on both sides of the Adriatic. According to Vibius Sequester (p. 20, 5 Oberlin) there was a river Virbius in Laconia and {ib. p. 22, 15) a spring Virvinus also in Laconia. These statements are supported by the name Ip^os, which occurs as that of a mythical person connected with the cult of Artemis at Sparta (Paus. 3. 16. 9). Perhaps, then, Virbius in Italy, as in Greece, was an aboriginal stream-god, identified with the watery form of Janus. Note that Irbos was son of ^;«//22sthenesand grandson of AmpAides (Paus. 3 16. 9) — a pedigree well suited to a Janiform god ; and that Janiform gods were not unknown in Laconia {Folk-lore xv. 284). The notion that Virbius meant "the man with two lives" (vir bis: Serv. in Verg. Aen. 7. 761) might easily arise from his representation with a Janiform head; and the statement that certain persons took Virbius to be the Sun (Serv. in. Verg. Aen. 7. 776) is intelligible in view of the fact that Janus as the partner of Diana was sometimes identified with that luminary {supra p. 277. n. i, Roscher Lex. ii. 44). A list of temple property found at Nemi includes a head of the Sun ; but this was probably a head of Jupiter Sol Sarapis (cp. Dessau 4395 tf.), since the temples in question seem to have been those of Isis (Dessau 4423). In the Class. Rev. xvi. 373 I proposed to regard the Janiform head from Nemi as that of a river-god Virbius : I still think that view possible, provided