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(also Vediŏvis). An old Italian deity whose peculiar attributes were early forgotten. At Rome he had a famous shrine in the depression between the two peaks of the Capitoline Hill, the Capitol and the Arx (Ovid, Fast. iii. 430; Gell. v. 12). There lay his asylum and afterwards his temple between two sacred groves. His statue, by the side of which stood a goat as a symbol, had a youthful, beardless head, and carried a bundle of arrows in its right hand; it was therefore supposed that he was the same as the Greek Apollo. Others saw in him a youthful Inpiter; while at a later date he was identified with Dis, the god of the world below. He was probably a god of expiation, and hence at the same time the protector of runaway criminals. The goat, which was sacrificed to him annually on the 7th of March, appears elsewhere in the Roman cult as an expiatory sacrifice. Etymologists differ as to the composition of the name Veiovis. Some regard the prefix veas diminutive, hence “little Iupiter” (Ovid, Fast. iii. 445), i.e. youthful. Others make it intensive, as in vepallidus, and hence interpret “mighty” or “destructive” Iupiter. It is probably separative and negative in its nature, as in vecors, vesanus; and hence the name is really the “Anti-Iupiter,” i. e. the antithesis of Iupiter, referring to Iupiter Inferus as the god of the lower world—Dis or Pluto, as noted above.

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 5.12
    • Ovid, Fasti, 3
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