Online Encyclopedia

EGERIA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 13 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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EGERIA, an ancient Italian goddess of springs. Two distinct localities were regarded as sacred to her,—the grove of Diana Nemorensis at Aricia, and a spring in the immediate neighbour-hood of Rome at the Porta Capena. She derives her chief importance from her legendary connexion with King Numa, who had frequent interviews with her and consulted her in regard to his religious legislation (Livy i. 19; Juvenal iii. 12). These meetings took place on the spot where the sacred shield had fallen from heaven, and here Numa dedicated a grove to-the Camenae, like Egeria deities of springs. After the death of Numa, Egeria was said to have fled into the grove of Aricia, where she was changed into a spring for having interrupted the rites of Diana by her lamentations (Ovid, Metam. xv. 479). At Aricia there was also a Manius Egerius, a male counterpart of Egeria. Her connexion with Diana Nemorensis, herself a birth goddess, is confirmed by the fact that her aid was invoked by pregnant women. She also possessed the gift of prophecy; and the statement (Dion. Halic. ii. 6o) that she was one of the Muses is due to her connexion with the Camenae, whose worship was displaced by them.
End of Article: EGERIA
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