), a Latin prophetic divinity, is described as a son of Saturnus or Sterculus, as the husband of Canens, and the father of Faunus (Ov. Met. 14.320
3.291; Verg. A. 7.48
; Serv. ad Aen. 10.76
In some traditions he was called the first king of Italy (Tzetz. ad Lyc.
He was a famous soothsayer and augur, and, as he made use in these things of a picus
(a wood-pecker), he himself also was called Picus.
He was represented in a rude and primitive manner as a wooden pillar with a wood-pecker on the top of it, but afterwards as a young man with a wood-pecker on his head (Dionys. A. R. 1.14
; Ov. Met. 14.314
; Verg. A. 7.187
The whole legend of Picus is founded on the notion that the wood-pecker is a prophetic bird, sacred to Mars. Pomona, it is said, was beloved by him, and when Circe's love for him was not requited, she changed him into a wood-pecker, who, however, retained the prophetic powers which he had formerly possessed as a man. (Verg. A. 7.190
; Ov. Met. 14.346
; Plut. Quaest. Rom.
21; Ov. Fast. 3.37