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[659] The name Rhea seems to be borrowed from the story of Romulus: though Prof. Seeley (Livy p. 29), thinks that Virg. is here actually thinking of Rhea Silvia the Vestal, and that this story of Aventinus is virtually the original legend of Romulus, who was confounded with Aventinus after the Aventine was included in Rome. The first syllable is made short by other poets: but Virg. doubtless followed the analogy of the Greek, where the goddess is called indifferently Π̔εία and Π̔έα. This seems to show that Niebuhr (Hist. vol. 1. p. 211 Eng. Tr.) is wrong in laying the blame of the confusion between the goddess and the priestess on the editors of Latin texts, as if the Romans invariably wrote the name of the priestess ‘Rea.’ Here Gud. originally had ‘Rea,’ and the latter ‘h’ is written in Rom. over an erasure. Nor does it appear likely, as Niebuhr conjectures, that Virg.'s Rhea was the daughter of Evander, as Aventinus fights against Evander and the Trojans. The name “Silvia” may have suggested to Virg. the birth of the child in the woods: comp. 6. 765. Other warriors however are born or bred in woods, as Virbius, below v. 763, and the son of Arcens, 9. 584.

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