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ACHERU´SIA PALUS

ACHERU´SIA PALUS (Ἀχερουσία λίμνη), the name given to a small lake or saltwater pool in Campania separated from the sea only by a bar of sand, between Cumae and Cape Misenum, now called Lago di Fusaro. The name appears to have been bestowed on it (probably by the Greeks of Cumae) in consequence of its proximity to Avernus, when the legends connecting that lake with the entrance to the infernal regions had become established. [AVERNUS.] On this account the name was by some applied to the Lucrine lake, while Artemidorus maintained that the Acherusian lake and Avernus were the same. (Strab. v. pp. 243,245; Plin.3.5. s. 9.) The Lago di Fusaro could never have had any direct connection with the volcanic phenomena of the region, nor could it have partaken of the gloomy and mysterious character of Lake Avernus. The expressions applied to it by Lycophron (Alex. 695) are mere poetical hyperbole: and Virgil, where he speaks of tenebrosa palus Acheronte refuso (Aen. 6.107), would seem to refer to Avernus itself rather than to the lake in question. In later times, its banks were adorned, in common with the neighbouring shores of Baiae, with the villas of wealthy Romans; one of these, which belonged to Servilius Vatia, is particularly described by Seneca (Ep. 55).

[E.H.B]

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