Thursday, July 12, 2012

Myth Monday - Vediovis

Vediovis (aka Vedius, Vejove, or Veiovis) is a puzzling Roman god, thought to have come to the Romans in their pre-Republican period, from the Latins and Sabines.

In the early 20th century, American archaeologist A. L. Frothingham and British classical scholar Arthur Bernard Cook, among others, studied Vediovis, who, even in the ancient world, was a curiosity. Frothingham says that by the Augustan era, "Ovid presupposed on the part of his readers absolute ignorance as to Vediovis and that even the name will be strange to them (novitas nominis)." This despite the fact that Caesar's extended family, the Julian gens, honored the god Vediovis. Frothingham considers Vediovis a volcanic god. Cook says Vediovis is an anti-Jove, worshiped in proximity to the king of the Roman gods, both verbally and physically.

Even if Vedovis is mysterious, with not quite credible or consistent reports circulating about him from antiquity, we can still guess who Vediovis was and report on the curiosities that Latin writers, like Ovid,Pliny, Aulus Gellius, and Martianus Capella report.

Vediovis came to be associated with the healing god Asculapius, with anaedes (temple) on Tiber Island [Lacus Curtius Platner: Aedes Veiovis].