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On this page: Priapus – Primigenia – Primus


moter of fertility both of the vegetation and of all animals connected with an agricultural life, and in this capacity he was worshipped as the protector of flocks of sheep and goats, of bees, the vine, all garden-produce, and even of fishing (Paus. ix. 31. § 2 ; Virg. Ed. vii. 33, Georg. iv. 110, with the commentators). Like other divinities presiding over agricultural pursuits, he was believed to be pos­sessed of prophetic powers, and is sometimes men­tioned in the plural (Tibull. i. 4. 67 ; Moschus, iii. 27). As Priapus had many attributes in common with other gods of fertility, the Orphics identified him with their mystic Dionysus, Hermes, Helios, &c. (Schol. ad Theocr. i. 21 ; Eustath. ad Horn. pp. 691, 242.) The Attic legends connect Priapus with such sensual and licentious beings as Conisalus, Orthanes, and Tychon. (Strab. I. c. ,• Aristoph. Lys. 982 ; comp. Diod. iv. 6). In like manner he was confounded by the Italians with Mutunus or Muttmms, the personification of the fructifying power in nature (Salmas. ad Solin. p. 219 ; Arnob. iv. 11). The sacrifices offered to him consisted of the first-fruits of gardens, vineyards, and fields (Anthol. Palat. vi. 102), of milk, honey, cakes, rams, asses, and fishes (Anthol. Palat. x. 14 ; Ov. Fast. i. 391, 416 ; Serv. ad Virg. Georg. ii. 84). He was represented in carved images, mostly in the form of hermae, with very large genitals, carry­ing fruit in his garment, and either a sickle or cor­nucopia in his hand (Tibull. i. 1. 22, 4. 8 ; Virg. Georg. iv. 110 ; Horat. Sat. i. 8 ; Hirt. Mytlwl. Bilderb. p. 172). The hermae of Priapus in Italy, like those of other rustic divinities, were usually painted red, whence the god is called ruber or ru-bicundus. (Ov. Fast. i. 415, vi. 319, 333). [L. S.]

PRIAPUS, a maker of fictile vases, whose name occurs on a cup in the Durand collection, found at Vulci. (Cab. Durand. n. 882, p. 281 ; R. Rochette, Lettre a M. Schorn, p. 57.) [P. S.]

PRIMIGENIA, a surname of Fortuna, under which she had a celebrated sanctuary at Praeneste, and at Rome on the Quirinal. (Cic. de Div. ii. 41 ; Liv. xxxiv. 53.) [L. S.J

PRIMUS, a Roman freedman, whose name appears on an inscription in the Museum at Naples, in the form m. artorius m. l. primus archi- tectus. M. Raoul-Rochette has copied and piib- lished the inscription ; and he states that he was assured by M. C. Bonucci, that the stone came from the great theatre at Pompeii, of which, there­ fore, if this statement be correct, Primus was the architect. (R. Rochette, Lettre a M. Schorn^ p. 441.) [T.S.]

PRIMUS, M. ANTO'NIUS, was born at To-losa in Gaul, and received in his boyhood the surname ofBecco, which signified in the Gallic lan­guage a cock's beak. (Suet.Fz'feW. 18; Martial, ix. 100.) He afterwards went to Rome, and rose to the dignity of a senator ; but having been condemned of forgery (falsum) under the lex Cornelia in the reign of Nero, he was expelled from the senate, and banished from the city. (Tac. Ann. xiv. 40 ; Dion Cass. Ixv. 9). After the death of Nero (a. d. 68), he was restored to his former rank by Galba, and appointed to the command of the seventh legion, which was stationed in Pannonia. It was believed that he subsequently wrote to Otho, offering to take the command of his forces ; but as Otho would not employ him, he gave him no support in his struggle with Vitellius. When the fortunes of the



latter began to decline (a. d. 69), Antonius was one of the first generals in Europe who declared in favour of Vespasian ; and he rendered him the most important services. He was well fitted to play a conspicuous part in a civil war, being bold in action, ready in speech, unscrupulous in the use of means, equally ready to plunder and to bribe, and possessing considerable military abilities. It was by his influence that the legions in Moesia, as well as those in Pannonia, espoused the side of Vespasian. When the other generals of Vespasian were of opinion that they should remain in Pan­nonia, and await the arrival of Mucianus, who was marching from the East at the head of a powerful body of Vespasian's troops, Antonius on the con­trary urged an immediate invasion of Italy. His energy overruled all opposition. Without waiting till the army was ready, Antonius, with a small body of picked troops, and accompanied by Arrius Varus, who had gained great renown under Cor-bulo in the Armenian war, crossed the Alps and pushed forwards into Italy. Here he met with great success ; he obtained possession of several towns in Transpadane Gaul, and at Patavium was joined by two legions which had followed him from the north. At Patavium he allowed his troops a short time for repose, and then marched upon Verona, which also fell into his power. Meantime Alienus Caecina, who had been sent by Vitellius at the head of a large army to oppose Antonius, adopted no active measures against him, though with his superior forces he might easily have driven him out of Italy. Shortly afterwards three more legions crossed the Alps and joined Antonius, who was now at the head of five legions. His au­thority however was shared by two generals of consular rank, T. Ampius Flavianus, the governor of Pannonia, and Aponius Saturninus, the go­vernor of Moesia ; but an insurrection of the sol­diers delivered him from these rivals, and obliged them to flee from the camp. Antonius affected great indignation at these proceedings, but it was believed by many that the mutiny had been insti­gated by himself that he might obtain the sole command. The army of Caecina meanwhile had been thrown into great confusion by the treason of their general Caecina, who had endeavoured to persuade his troops to desert Vitellius and espouse the cause of Vespasian ; but not succeeding in his attempt, he had been thrown into chains, and new generals elected by the soldiers in his stead. An­tonius resolved to avail himself of these favourable circumstances for making an immediate attack upon the army of Vitellius. He accordingly broke up from his quarters at Verona, and advanced as far as Bedriacum, a small town at no great distance from Cremona. At Bedriacum the decisive battle was fought. The imprudence of Arrius Varus, who had charged the enemy too soon and was driven back with loss, threw the army of Antonius into confusion, and nearly caused the loss of the battle. Antonius only arrested the flight by killing one of his own standard-bearers who was in the act of flying, and by leading the men against the enemy with the standard in his hand. Victory at length declared for Antonius, and the enemy fled in con­fusion to Cremona, from which town they had marched to Bedriacum. In the night Antonius was attacked by another army of Vitellius, consist­ing of six legions, which had been stationed at Hostilia, thirty miles distant, and which had im-

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