Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/366

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3i8 The European Sky -God.

The early Italian king was also a rain-maker. Alladius made his mock-thunderstorms till he was destroyed by a real one.^ Aeneas, according to one authority,"^ disappeared in a thunderstorm, as did Romulus after him.^ Numa learnt from Jupiter Elicius how to control thunderstorms : Tullus Hostilius, who had imperfectly mastered Numa's formulae, attempted to do the same, but was thunderstruck himself by Jupiter."^ The pretensions of later Romans to wield the thunderbolt we have already considered.

The king, who provided the weather, was presumably responsible for the crops. His palace, the Regia, con- tained a shrine of Ops, an ancient goddess of fertility ; and modern excavations have brought to light a large silo or corn-pit in the king's courtyard.*^ Possibly the corn- distributions of which we hear so much in republican and imperial tim^es had their origin in a long-standing right of the people to be fed by their king.

In Italy, as in Greece, the judicial and military duties of the king were closely bound up with his position as representative of the sky-god. The king, like Jupiter, was allowed to ride in a chariot within the walls of Rome; and from the chariot he appears to have pronounced his judg- ments. A denarius of the gens Vettia shows a man holding a sceptre, who stands in a two-horse chariot : he is inscribed IVDEX, the "judge," and behind him is placed a large ear of corn. Cavedoni and Mommsen took this personage to be king Numa engaged in distributing corn- fields : Babelon sees in him Sp. Vettius, who was interrex or temporary king after the death of Romulus.^ In any case it is probable that he delivered his verdicts from a chariot as the vice-gerent of Jupiter. The sella ainilis

^ Su/>7-a p. 288. ^[Aur. Vict.] o/'i£^. £-ent. Rom. 14. 2.

^Liv. I. 16. I, alib. ^ Supra p. 269.

^Varro de ling. Lat. 6. 21, cp. Fest. p. 214 Lind. ^E. Burton-Brown, op. cit. p. 57 f. Folk- Lore xv. 370 ff.

^ Babelon, Alonn. de la r^p. ram. ii. 531 f.