Tiberinus (god)

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Tiberinus (statue from the Campidoglio, Rome). Roman sculpture.jpg
Tiberinus (statue from the Campidoglio, Rome).

Tiberinus is a figure in Roman mythology. He was the god of the Tiber River. He was added to the 3,000 rivers (sons of Oceanus and Tethys), as the genius of the Tiber.

Contents

Mythology

According to Book VIII of Virgil's epic Aeneid , Tiberinus helped Aeneas after his arrival in Italy from Troy, suggesting to him that he seek an alliance with Evander of Pallene in the war against Turnus and his allies (see founding of Rome). Tiberinus appeared to Aeneas in a dream, telling him he had arrived at his true home. Tiberinus also calmed the water so that Aeneas' boat was able to reach the city safely. [1] With Manto, Tiberinus was the father of Ocnus. [2]

Tiberinus is also known as the river god who found the twins Romulus and Remus and gave them to the she-wolf Lupa (who had just lost her own cubs) to suckle. He later rescued and married Rhea Silvia, the mother of the twins and a Vestal Virgin who had been sentenced to death. [3]

Worship

Tiberinus was considered to be one of the most important river-gods and people made sure to put offerings in the Tiber River every May. Tiberinus was honored with twenty-seven straw dummies which were called Argei . [4]

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Next Aventinus drives his chariot round
The Latian plains, with palms and laurels crown'd.
Proud of his steeds, he smokes along the field;
His father's hydra fills his ample shield:
A hundred serpents hiss about the brims;
The son of Hercules he justly seems
By his broad shoulders and gigantic limbs;
Of heav'nly part, and part of earthly blood,
A mortal woman mixing with a god.
For strong Alcides, after he had slain
The triple Geryon, drove from conquer'd Spain
His captive herds; and, thence in triumph led,
On Tuscan Tiber's flow'ry banks they fed.
Then on Mount Aventine the son of Jove
The priestess Rhea found, and forc'd to love.
For arms, his men long piles and jav'lins bore;
And poles with pointed steel their foes in battle gore.
Like Hercules himself his son appears,
In salvage pomp; a lion's hide he wears;
About his shoulders hangs the shaggy skin;
The teeth and gaping jaws severely grin.
Thus, like the god his father, homely dress'd,
He strides into the hall, a horrid guest.

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References

  1. Moroford, Mark and Lenardon, Robert Classical Mythology
  2. Virgil, Aeneid, X, 198ff
  3. Moroford, Mark and Lenardon, Robert Classical Mythology