Mythology LAZIO (Region) ITALY - GTP - Greek Travel Pages
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Mythology (6)

Gods & demigods


Fascinus, an early Latin divinity, and identical with Mutinus or Tutinus. He was worshipped as the protector from sorcery, witchcraft, and evil daemons; and represented in the form of a phallus, the genuine Latin for which is fascinum, this symbol being believed to be most efficient in averting all evil influences. He was especially invoked to protect women in childbed and their offspring (Plin. Hist. Nat. xxviii. 4, 7); and women wrapt up in the toga praetexta used to offer up sacrifices in the chapel of Fascinus. (Paul. Diac. p. 103.) His worship was under the care of the Vestals; and generals, who entered the city in triumph, had the symbol of Fascinus fastened under their chariot, that he might protect them from envy (medicus invidiae), for envy was believed to exercise an injurious influence on those who were envied. (Plin. l. c.) It was a custom with the Romans, when they praised any body, to add the word praefiscine or praefiscini, which seems to have been an invocation of Fascinus, to prevent the praise turning out injurious to the person on whom it was bestowed.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Jupiter Latialis

Latialis or Latiaris, a surname of Jupiter as the protecting divinity of Latium. The Latin towns and Rome celebrated to him every year the feriae Latinae, on the Alban mount, which were proclaimed and conducted by one of the Roman consuls. (Liv. xxi. 63, xxii. 1; Dionys. iv. 49; Serv. ad Aen. xii. 135; Suet. Calig. 22 )



Faunus, the son of Picus and father of Latinus, was the third in the series of the kings of the Laurentes. In his reign Faunus, like his two predecessors, Picus and Saturn, had promoted agriculture and the breeding of cattle among his subjects, and also distinguished himself as a hunter. (Plin. H. N. ix. 6; Propert. iv. 2. 34.) In his reign likewise the Arcadian Evander and Heracles were believed to have arrived in Latium. (Plut. Parall. Gr. et Rom. 38.) Faunus acts a very prominent part in the mythical history of Latium, for, independent of what he did for agriculture, he was regarded as one of the great founders of the religion of the country; hence Lactantius (i. 24.9) places him on an equality with Numa. He was therefore in later times worshipped in two distinct capacities: first, as the god of fields and shepherds, and secondly, as an oracular and prophetic divinity. The festival of the Faumalia, which was celebrated on the 5th of December, by the country people, with great feasting and merriment, had reference to him as the god of agriculture and cattle. (Horat. Carm. iii. 18.) As a prophetic god, he was believed to reveal the future to man, partly in dreams, and partly by voices of unknown origin. (Virg. Aen. vii. 81, &c.; Cic. de Nut. Deor. ii. 2, iii. 6, de Divin. i. 45.) What he was in this respect to the male sex, his wife Fauna or Faula was to the female, whence they bore the surnames Fatuus, Fatua, or Fatuellus, Fatuella, derived from fari, fatum. (Justin, xliii. 1; Lactant. i. 22.) They are said to have given their oracles in Saturnian verse, whence we may perhaps infer that there existed in Latium collections of oracles in this metre. (Varro, de L. L. vii. 36.) The places where such oracles were given were sacred groves, one near Tibur, around the well Albunea, and another on the Aventine, near Rome. (Virg. l. c.; Ov. Fast. iv. 649, &c.) The rites observed in the former place are minutely described by Virgil : a priest offered up a sheep and other sacrifices; and the person who consulted the oracle had to sleep one night on the skin of the victim, during which the god gave an answer to his questions either in a dream or in supernatural voices. Similar rites are described by Ovid as having taken place on the Aventine. (Comp. Isidor. viii. 11, 87.) There is a tradition that Numa, by a stratagem, compelled Picus and his son Faunus to reveal to him the secret of calling down lightning from heaven, and of purifying things struck by lightning. (Arnob. v. 1; Plut. Num. 15; Ov. Fast. iii. 291, &c.) At Rome there was a round temple of Faunus, surrounded with columns, on Mount Caelius and another was built to him, in B. C. 196, on the island in the Tiber, where sacrifices were offered to him on the ides of February, the day on which the Fabii had perished on the Cremera. (Liv. xxxiii. 42, xxxiv. 53; P. Vict. Reg. Urb. 2; Vitruv. iii. 1; Ov. Fast. ii. 193.) In consequence of the mauner in which be gave his oracles, he was looked upon as the author of spectral appearances and terrifying sounds (Dionys. v. 16); and he is therefore described as a wanton and voluptuous god, dwelling in woods, and fond of nymphs. (Horat. l. c.) The way in which the god manifested himself seems to have given rise to the idea of a plurality of fauns (Fauni), who are described as monsters, half goat, and with horns. (Ov. Fast. v. 99, Heroid. iv. 49.) Faunus thus gradually came to be identified with the Arcadian Pan, and the Fauni as identical with the Greek satyrs, whence Ovid (Met. vi. 392) uses the expression Fauni et Satyri fratres. As Faunus, and afterwards the Fauni, were believed to be particularly fond of frightening persons in various ways, it is not an improbable conjecture that Faunus may be a euphemistic name, and connected with faveo. (Hartung, Die Relig. d. Rom. vol. ii.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Latinus (Latinos), a king of Latium, is described in the common tradition as a son of Faunus and the nymph Marica, as a brother of Lavinius, and the husband of Amata, by whom he became the father of Lavinia, whom he gave in marriage to Aeneas (Virg. Aen. vii. 47, &c.; Serv. ad Aen. i. 6; Arnob. ii. 71). But along with this there are a variety of other traditions. Hesiod (Theog. 1013) calls him a son of Odysseus and Circe, and brother of Agrius, king of the Tyrrhenians, and Hyginus (Fab. 127) calls him a son of Telemachus and Circe, while others describe him as a son of Heracles, by an Hyperborean woman, who was afterwards married to Faunus (Dionys. i. 43), or as a son of Heracles by a daughter of Faunus (Justin. xliii. 1). Conon (Narr. 3) relates, that Latinus was the father of Laurina, whom he gave in marriage to Locrus, and that Latinus was slain by Heracles for having taken away from him the oxen of Geryones, According to Festus (s. v. Oscillum) Jupiter Latiaris once lived upon the earth under the name of Latinus, or Latinus after the fight with Mezentius suddenly disappeared, and was changed into Jupiter Latiaris. Hence the relation between Jupiter Latiaris and Latinus is perfectly analogous to that between Quirinus and Romulus, and Latinus may be conceived as an incarnation of the supreme god.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



Faula or Fauna was, according to some, a concubine of Heracles in Italy; while, according to others, she was the wife or sister of Faunus. Latinus, who is called a son of Heracles by a concubine, was probably considered to be the son of Faula; whereas the common tradition describes him as a son of Faunus. Faula was identified by some of the ancients with the Greek Aphrodite (Verr. Flacc. ap. Lactant. de Fals. Relig. i. 20, Inst. Ep. ad Pentad. 20)



Juturna, the nymph of a well in Latium, famous for its excellent healing qualities. Its water was used in nearly all sacrifices (Serv. ad Aen. xii. 139; Varr. de L. L. v. 71), and a chapel was dedicated to its nymph at Rome in the Campus Martius by Lutatius Catulus; sacrifices were offered to her on the 11th of January both by the state and private persons. (Ov. Fast. i. 463; Serv. l.c.) A pond in the forum, between the temples of Castor and Vesta, was called Lacus Juturnae, whence we must infer that the name of the nymph Juturna is not connected with jugis, but probably with juvare. She is said to have been beloved by Jupiter, who rewarded her with immortality and the rule over the waters. (Virg. Aen. xii. 140, 878; Ov. Fast. ii. 585, 606.) Arnobius (iii. 29) calls her the wife of Janus and mother of Fontus, but in the Aeneid she appears as the affectionate sister of Turnus. (Hartung, Die Relig. der Rem. vol. ii. p. 101, &c.)

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