o Her first temple at Rome was that of Venus Erycina Priapus o The god PRIAPUS was the principal protector of gardens after the promotion of Venus to the ranks of the major divinities. He was represented by a statue painted red with an erect phallus. o Ovid related that he tried to seduce the Naiad Lotis and was interrupted by the braying of the donkey of Silenus, which then became the animal sacrificed to Priapus. Deities of water o Besides Janus, the Italian water-gods were the river-gods, the nymphs of springs and fountains, NEPTUNE and PORTUNUS o The most important river-god was TIBERINUS, who, in Book 8 of the Aeneid , appeared in a dream to Aeneas and smoothed his waters so that the Trojans could sail up to Pallanteum. o Notable fountain nymphs were JUTURNA and the CAMENAE Juturna was the sister of the Rutulian hero Turnus and had been raped by Jupiter. Her shrine was in the Forum, and her precinct included the headquarters of the water administration of Rome. The Camenae were worshiped outside the Porta Capena at Rome. Associated with them were the nymphs EGERIA and CARMENTIS, both water divinities associated with childbirth. Egeria was said to have advised King Numa, and Carmentis was said to be the mother of Evander and to have prophetic powers. Diana o Later idenfied with Artemis, DIANA was worshiped at the Latin town of Aricia, near which is Lake Nemi, called “Diana’s mirror.” o She was concerned with the life of women and was sometimes identified with Lucina, the birth-goddess more commonly identified with Juno. o Through her identification with Artemis, she became goddess of the hunt and of the moon, and was further identified with Hecate as an Underworld goddess. o At Aricia she was associated with a minor Italian deity, Virbius, who was identified with Hippolytus, brought to life again by Aesculapius. Mercury o The temple of MERCURY, originally a god of trade and profit, was in the commercial center of Rome. o Through his identification with Hermes he acquired the attributes, functions, and myths of Hermes.
The Roman underworld o ORCUS was the Roman Underworld, and its ruler was DIS PATER, the equivalent of the Greek Pluto, since Dis is a form of dives (“wealthy”), and in Greek, “wealth” is ploutos . His cult was established in 249 B.C., and his consort was PROSERPINA, the Greek Persephone. Roman poets inherited the mythology of the Underworld from Homer and other Greek poets and from the philosophers; they also used the beliefs of the mystery religions, both Greek and oriental. These literary, philosophical, and religious beliefs achieved a majestic synthesis in Book 6 of Vergil’s Aeneid. o Native Italian ideas of the Underworld originated from the religious beliefs of early agricultural communities.