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Chapter XI.—The Romans Provided Gods for Birth, Nay, Even Before Birth, to Death. Much Indelicacy in This System.

And you are not content to assert the divinity of such as were once known to you, whom you heard and handled, and whose portraits have been painted, and actions recounted, and memory retained amongst you; but men insist upon consecrating with a heavenly life953953    Efflagitant cœlo et sanciunt, (i.e., “they insist on deifying.”) I know not what incorporeal, inanimate shadows, and the mere names of things—dividing man’s entire existence amongst separate powers even from his conception in the womb: so that there is a god Consevius,954954    Comp. Augustine, de Civ. Dei, vi. 9. to preside over concubital generation; and Fluviona,955955    A name of Juno, in reference to her office to mothers, “quia eam sanguinis fluorem in conceptu retinere putabant.” Comp. August. de Civ. Dei, iii. 2. to preserve the (growth of the) infant in the womb; after these come Vitumnus and Sentinus,956956    Comp. August. de Civ. Dei, vii. 2, 3. through whom the babe begins to have life and its earliest sensation; then Diespiter,957957    Comp. August. de Civ. Dei, iv. 11. by whose office the child accomplishes its birth. But when women begin their parturition, Candelifera also comes in aid, since childbearing requires the light of the candle; and other goddesses there are958958    Such as Lucina, Partula, Nona, Decima, Alemona. who get their names from the parts they bear in the stages of travail. There were two Carmentas likewise, according to the general view: to one of them, called Postverta, belonged the function of assisting the birth of the introverted child; while the other, Prosa,959959    Or, Prorsa. executed the like office for the rightly born.  The god Farinus was so called from (his inspiring) the first utterance; while others believed in Locutius from his gift of speech. Cunina960960    “Quæ infantes in cunis (in their cradle) tuetur.” Comp. August. de Civ. Dei, iv. 11. is present as the protector of the child’s deep slumber, and supplies to it refreshing rest. To lift them (when fallen)961961    Educatrix; Augustine says: “Ipse levet de terra et vocetur dea Levana” (de Civ. Dei, iv. 11). there is Levana, and along with her Rumina.962962    From the old word ruma, a teat. It is a wonderful oversight that no gods were appointed for cleaning up the filth of children. Then, to preside over their first pap and earliest drink you have Potina and Edula;963963    Comp. August. de Civ. Dei, iv. 9, 11, 36. to teach the child to stand erect is the work of Statina,964964    See also Tertullian’s de Anima, xxxix.; and Augustine’s de Civ. Dei, iv. 21, where the god has the masculine name of Statilinus. whilst Adeona helps him to come to dear Mamma, and Abeona to toddle off again; then there is Domiduca,965965    See Augustine, de Civ. Dei, vi. 9 and vii. 3. (to bring home the bride;) and the goddess Mens, to influence the mind to either good or evil.966966    Ibid. iv. 21, vii. 3. They have likewise Volumnus and Voleta,967967    Ibid. iv. 21. to control the will; Paventina, (the goddess) of fear; Venilia, of hope;968968    Ibid. iv. 11, vii. 22. Volupia, of pleasure;969969    Ibid. iv. 11. [N.B.—Augustine’s borrowing from our author.] Præstitia, of beauty.970970    Arnobius, adv. Nationes, iv. 3. Then, again, they give his name to Peragenor,971971    Augustine, de Civ. Dei. [iv. 11 and 16] mentions Agenoria. from his teaching men to go through their work; to Consus, from his sug140gesting to them counsel. Juventa is their guide on assuming the manly gown, and “bearded Fortune” when they come to full manhood.972972    On Fortuna Barbata, see Augustine, de Civ. Dei, iv. 11, where he also names Consus and Juventa. If I must touch on their nuptial duties, there is Afferenda whose appointed function is to see to the offering of the dower; but fie on you! you have your Mutunus973973    Tertullian, in Apol. xxv. sarcastically says, “Sterculus, and Mutunus, and Larentina, have raised the empire to its present height.” and Tutunus and Pertunda974974    Arnobius, adv. Nationes, iv. 7, 11; August. de Civ. Dei, vi. 9. and Subigus and the goddess Prema and likewise Perfica.975975    For these three gods, see Augustine, de Civ. Dei, vi. 9; and Arnobius, adv. Nationes, iv. 7. O spare yourselves, ye impudent gods! No one is present at the secret struggles of married life. Those very few persons who have a wish that way, go away and blush for very shame in the midst of their joy.


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