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COMUS.

Comus was the presiding genius of banquets, festive scenes, revelry, and all joyous pleasures and reckless gaiety.

He is represented as a young man crowned with flowers, his face heated and flushed with wine, leaning against a post in a half-sleepy and drunken attitude, with a torch falling from his hand.

THE CAMENÆ.

The Camenæ were prophetic nymphs held in high veneration by the ancient Italians. They were four in number, the best known of whom are Carmenta and Egeria.

Carmenta was celebrated as being the mother of Evander, who led an Arcadian colony into Italy, and founded a town on the river Tiber, which became afterwards incorporated with the city of Rome. Evander is said to have been the first who introduced Greek art and civilization into Italy, and also the worship of Greek divinities.

A temple was erected to Carmenta on the Capitoline Hill, and a festival, called the Carmentalia, was celebrated in her honour on the 11th of January.

Egeria is said to have initiated Numa Pompilius in the forms of religious worship, which he introduced among his people. She was regarded as the giver of {185} life, and was therefore invoked by women before the birth of their children.

The Camenæ are frequently identified by Roman writers with the Muses.


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