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Mephitin was the old reading. Mephitim was restored by Heins. from Med. &c. Mephitis was worshipped as a deity in various parts of Italy, as at Amsanctus (see v. 564 below), Pliny 2. 93 (95), at Cremona, Tac. H. 3. 33. It had a temple and grove at Rome on the Esquiline, Varro L. L. 5. 49, Festus s. v. Septimontis. Serv. says some made it a male power, connected with Leucothea like Virbius with Diana, which may possibly account for saevum, the reading of Med. Comp. generally 6. 240. Saevam like saevior pestis 3. 214. Virg. may have thought of Apoll. R. 4. 599, li/mnhs ei)s proxoa\s polubenqe/os: h(\ d' e)/ti nu=n per *trau/matos ai)qome/noio baru\n a)nakhki/ei a)tmo/n.
Fatis contraria nostris fata Phrygum, because the destinies of the Trojans and of Rome were contrary to, and conflicted with, those of Argos and Carthage, which were the favourites of Juno. This is the chief cause of her hostility in the Aeneid. Comp. 1. 12—24. Fata contraria fatis of course implies the idea of a number of particular destinies acting like separate forces in the world, as opposed to that of one universal law. Comp. 9. 133 foll., and Venus' words 1. 239, fatis contraria fata rependens, where, though the fates spoken of are the prosperous and adverse fates of Troy, the contrast is really the same, as the adverse fates of Troy would be the prosperous fates of its enemies
This description of Bacchic orgies and frenzy is altogether Greek, and suggested by some Greek work, such as the Bacchae of Euripides. The Bacchanalia were introduced into Rome from Southern Italy through Etruria, but their celebration leading to dreadful excesses, they were suppressed throughout Italy by a decree of the Senate B.C. 186. See Livy 39. 8 foll. Perhaps Virg.'s nefas may be a touch of Roman feeling. Comp. 4. 301 foll., where Dido is compared to a Bacchant. Med. a m. p. and one of Ribbeck's cursives originally have in silvis. Rom. and some others have nomine, which might stand; but numine is better. Serv. thinks simulato means delusion, not conscious pretence, appealing to v. 405 below: but Virg. doubtless means that the pretended enthusiasm eventually took real hold on her. Ov. M. 6. 594 (of Procne) is, as usual, more explicit, furiisque agitata doloris, Bacche, tuas simulat.
War is formally declared, according to a custom still observed at Rome, by opening the temple of the wargod, an act here performed by Juno herself. Five great cities of the Ausonian confederacy rush to arms.
Hesperia being an ancient name for Italy, Hesperius will be equivalent to ancient or primitive. Connect protions coluere sacrum, kept up the observance of it; protinus denoting that the custom passed without a break from the ancient Latins to the Albans, like porro 5. 600. Here as elsewhere (1. 6. 265 foll., 12. 826) Virg. makes Alba succeed to Latium, Rome to Alba. Bearing this in mind, we need hardly inquire whether he had any definite meaning in urbes Albanae, such as the Alban colonies. Livy 1. 19 assigns this institution, like other parts of Roman religion, to Numa.
Iubebatur indicere bella implies a constitutional monarchy like that of legendary Rome, in which the king was the first magistrate, and made peace and war by consent of the Comitia Curiata and Senate (see Lewis 1. p. 415), an idea which is not sustained throughout. Latinus makes a covenant with the Trojans on his own authority v. 266, and he is called tyrannus v. 342.
Iam tum, even then, before the great historical period of Rome. Tantum was a reading before Pierius.
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 *(pei/a and *(pe/a. 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
Besides the lake and mountain of Ciminus, there was also a forest, which was regarded with special awe in the early history of Rome, so that the Senate once forbade a consul to lead his army through it: he had however passed it in safety before the order reached him, Livy 9. 36 foll. See Dict. G., where also the features of the country are described. Lucos Capenos would naturally refer to Feronia, though that is mentioned by name in a different connexion v. 800 below.
The name Clausus seems to be taken from the later legend of Attus or Atta Clausus, who shortly after the establishment of the commonwealth migrated to Rome from Regillum with a large number of followers, who were formed into the Claudian tribe, while he himself was known as App. Claudius Sabinus Regillensis (Dict. B. Claudius). Agmen agens below v. 804. Agminis instar: his strength and bravery made him worth an army—as we say, a host in himself