The Ancient Library

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On this page: Capitolium – Caprotina – Capys – Carchesium – Cardea – Caristia – Carmenta or Carmentis



Capltollum. The southern summit of the Capitoline Hill at Rome, separated from the arx or northern summit by a saddle, on which were the asylum and the temple of Veiovis. The Capitol was approached by a road mounting in several zig-zags from the Forum. On the highest point of the southern top was the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, begun by the Tarquins, but not finished till the first year of the Republic (509 b.c.). The temple was quad­rangular and nearly square, with three rows of columns in front, six in each row, and four columns on each side. They were in the Doric, or rather the Tuscan, style. The interior was divided by parallel walls in­to three cellos or chambers. The central chamber was dedicated to Jupiter, and con­tained a statue of the god in terra-cotta. The senate sometimes held its sittings here, particularly at the opening of the year, and on occasions when war was declared. The right-hand chamber was sacred to Minerva, the left-hand to Juno. The entablature was entirely constructed of wood; the pediment was of terra-cotta, as was the quad­riga or four-horsed chariot, with the figure of the god, above. After the Third Punic War the entablature was gilded. In 83 b.c. the whole temple was burnt down to the vaults in which the Sibylline books and other consecrated objects were pre­served. Sulla rebuilt the structure strictly on the lines of the old one, though with much greater splendour in detail; but the new temple was not consecrated till 69 B.C. A statue of Jupiter in gold and ivory, on the model of the Olympian Zeus, by Apol-lonius, was substituted for the old image of terra-cotta. A hundred years later the building was again burnt down, in the civil war of Vitellius and Vespasian. Vespasian restored it, but the new structure was again destroyed by fire in 80 a.d. In 82 Do-mitian erected a new temple, a Corinthian hexastylds, which survived unhurt till the 5th century a.d. This was gradually de­stroyed, partly by the invading barbarians who plundered it, and partly in the dis­sensions of the Middle Ages. The Palazzo Caffarelli now stands upon its foundation.

Caprotma. A Roman epithet of Juno. A special feast, called the Nona; Caprotince, was celebrated in her honour on the Nones of Quintilis, or 7th of July. In this celebration female slaves took a consider­able part. The festival was connected with another, called Poplifugium, or the " Flight of the People," held on the 5th of

July. Thus a historical basis was given to it, though the true origin of both festivals had been probably forgotten. After their defeat by the Gauls, the Romans were con­quered and put to flight by a sudden attack of their neighbours, the Latins, who de­manded the surrender of a large number of girls and widows. Thereupon, at the sug­gestion of a girl called Tutula (or Philotis), the female slaves disguised themselves as Roman ladies, went into the enemy's camp, and contrived to make the enemy drunk, while Tutula, climbing a wild fig-tree, gave the signal for the Romans to attack by hold­ing up a torch. The Poplifugia were cele­brated by a mimic flight. On the 7th July, the female sla.ves went in procession to the fi?;-tree, where they carried on all kinds of sports with the assembled multitude. Be­sides this, there was a sacrifice and a festal meal at the tree, and on the next day a thanksgiving, celebrated by the pontlflcls.

Capys (Gr. Kapys). See dardanus and anchises.

CarchesIum(Gr. KarchesiSn). See vessels.

Cardfia. The tutelary goddess of hinges, in other words, of family life, among the Romans. She was supposed to ward off all the noxious influences of evil spirits, especially of the Strlgcn, who were believed to suck the blood of children by night. It is doubtful whether she is to be identified with the goddess Carna, who is said to have taken the larger organs of the body—heart, lungs and liver—under her especial pro­tection. Carna had a shrine on the Cselian Hill, in Rome, and a festival on the 1st of June, at which they ate beans and bacon, and made offerings of them to the goddess,

Caristia. See manes.

Car men ta or Carmentis. An ancient Italian goddess of prophecy, who protected women in child-birth. In Rome she had a priest attached to her, the flamen Car-mentalis, and a shrine near the gate under the Capitol, named after her the porta Ccir-mentalis. On this spot the Roman matrons celebrated in her honour the festival of the Carmentalia, the flamen and pontifex as­sisting. Two Carmentis, called Pomma or Antevorta, and Postvorta, were worshipped as her sisters and attendants. These names were sometimes explained with reference to childbirth, sometimes as indicating the power of the goddess of fate to look into the past and future. In the legend of the foundation of Rome Carmenta appears as the prophetic mother, or wife, of the Arca­dian stranger Evander.

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.