A nymph in Greek mythology is a supernatural being associated with many other minor female deities that are associated with the air, seas or water, or particular locations or landforms. Different from Greek goddesses, nymphs are more regarded as divine spirits who animate or maintain Nature for the environments where they live, are depicted as beautiful, young graceful maidens, they are divided into various broad subgroups, such as Aurai, Nereides and Dryades The Greek word νύμφη has the primary meaning of "young woman. Yet the etymology of the noun νύμφη remains uncertain; the Doric and Aeolic form is νύμφα. Modern usage more applies to young women at the peak of their attractiveness, contrasting with parthenos "a virgin", generically as kore "maiden, girl"; the term is sometimes used by women to address each other and remains the regular Modern Greek term for "bride". Nymphs were sometimes beloved by many and dwell in most specific areas related to the natural environment. E.g. mountainous forests by springs or rivers.
Other nymphs appeared in the shape of young maidens, were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess the huntress Artemis. The Greek nymphs were spirits invariably bound to places, not unlike the Latin genius loci, sometimes this produced complicated myths like cult of Arethusa to Sicily. In some of the works of the Greek-educated Latin poets, the nymphs absorbed into their ranks the indigenous Italian divinities of springs and streams, while the Lymphae, Italian water-goddesses, owing to the accidental similarity of their names, could be identified with the Greek Nymphae; the classical mythologies of the Roman poets were unlikely to have affected the rites and cults of individual nymphs venerated by country people in the springs and clefts of Latium. Among the Roman literate class, their sphere of influence was restricted, they appear exclusively as divinities of the watery element; the ancient Greek belief in nymphs survived in many parts of the country into the early years of the twentieth century, when they were known as "nereids".
Nymphs tended to frequent areas distant from humans but could be encountered by lone travelers outside the village, where their music might be heard, the traveler could spy on their dancing or bathing in a stream or pool, either during the noon heat or in the middle of the night. They might appear in a whirlwind; such encounters could be dangerous, bringing dumbness, besotted infatuation, madness or stroke to the unfortunate human. When parents believed their child to be nereid-struck, they would pray to Saint Artemidos. A motif that entered European art during the Renaissance was the idea of a statue of a nymph sleeping in a grotto or spring; this motif came from an Italian report of a Roman sculpture of a nymph at a fountain above the River Danube. The report, an accompanying poem on the fountain describing the sleeping nymph, are now concluded to be a fifteenth-century forgery, but the motif proved influential among artists and landscape gardeners for several centuries after, with copies seen at neoclassical gardens such as the grotto at Stourhead.
As H. J. Rose states, all the names for various classes of nymphs are plural feminine adjectives agreeing with the substantive nymphai, there was no single classification that could be seen as canonical and exhaustive. Thus, the classes of nymphs tend to overlap. Rose mentions dryads and hamadryads as nymphs of trees meliai as nymphs of ash trees, naiads as nymphs of water, but no others specifically; the following is not the authentic Greek classification, but is intended as a guide: The following is a list of groups of nymphs associated with this or that particular location. Nymphs in such groupings could belong to any of the classes mentioned above; the following is a selection of names of the nymphs whose class was not specified in the source texts. For lists of Naiads, Dryades etc. See respective articles. Sabrina Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-36281-9. Larson, Jennifer Lynn. Greek Nymphs: Myth, Lore. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514465-9.
Lawson, John Cuthbert, Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1910, p. 131 Nereids paleothea.com homepage Tomkinson, John L.. Haunted Greece: Nymphs and Other Exotika. Athens: Anagnosis. ISBN 978-960-88087-0-6; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Nymphs". Encyclopædia Britannica. 19. Cambridge University Press. P. 930. Theoi.com: Nymphs Theoi Project – List of Nymphs
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Faunus was the horned god of the forest and fields. He came to be equated in literature with the Greek god Pan. Faunus was one of the oldest Roman deities, known as the di indigetes. According to the epic poet Virgil, he was a legendary king of the Latins, his shade was consulted as a goddess of prophecy under the name of Fatuus, with oracles in the sacred grove of Tibur, around the well Albunea, on the Aventine Hill in ancient Rome itself. Marcus Terentius Varro asserted. Faunus revealed the future in dreams and voices that were communicated to those who came to sleep in his precincts, lying on the fleeces of sacrificed lambs. W. Warde Fowler suggested. Faunus is probably of Indo-European origin, which he shares with the Vedic god Rudra. There are a number of theories on the origin of the name Faunus. Most scholars of historical linguistics connect Faunus with the notion of divine favour. Faunus thus means propitious. Another theory claims that Faunus is the Latin outcome of a PIE *dhau-no- meaning "the strangler" and denotes the wolf.
According to D. Briquel it is that the Luceres, one of the three tribes of Rome, were Daunians from Ardea, as well as the characters of the Aeneis Mezentius and Metabus, who show a Daunian origin. A. Pasqualini agrees on the presence of a Daunian connection in the towns of Latium claiming a Diomedean descent. Moreover, it would seem that there is a sizable presence of Daunians in Campania. Festus 106 L records a king Lucerus. Moreover, Oscan epithet Lucetius should be interpreted as related to the Luceres, he lists the Leucaria mother of Romos, Jupiter Lucetius, toponyms Leucasia /Leucaria near Paestum, the ethnonym Lucani. Though Briquel is unaware that the etymology of both "Luceres", Leucaria and Dauni is from a word meaning wolf and therefore different from that of Leucesius/Lucetius, i.e. from IE from *luq, not from *leuk light: compare Hirpini and Dauni. Daunos according to Walde Hoffmann is from IE root *dhau to strangle, meaning the strangler, epithet of the wolf: cfr. Greek thaunos, thērion Hes.
Phrygian dáos, lykos Hes. Latin Faunus. According to Alessio Latins and Umbrians both did not name the wolf because of a religious taboo, thence their use of loanwords such as lupus in Latin and the Umbrians hirpos male goat instead of expected *lupos, whence herpex for hirpex tool in the shape of wolf teeth. In fable Faunus appears as an old king of Latium, grandson of Saturnus, son of Picus, father of Latinus by the nymph Marica. After his death he is raised to the position of a tutelary deity of the land, for his many services to agriculture and cattle-breeding. A goddess of like attributes, called Fauna and Fatua, was associated in his worship, she was regarded as wife, or sister. The female deity Bona Dea was equated with Fauna; as Pan was accompanied by the Paniskoi, or little Pans, so the existence of many Fauni was assumed besides the chief Faunus. Fauns are place-spirits of untamed woodland. Educated, Hellenizing Romans connected their fauns with the Greek satyrs, who were wild and orgiastic drunken followers of Dionysus, with a distinct origin.
With the increasing Hellenization of literate upper-class Roman culture in the 3rd and 2nd–centuries BC, the Romans tried to equate their own deities with Greek ones, applying in reverse the Greeks' own interpretatio graeca. Faunus was equated with the god Pan, a pastoral god of shepherds, said to reside in Arcadia. Pan had always been depicted with horns and as such many depictions of Faunus began to display this trait. However, the two deities were considered separate by many, for instance, the epic poet Virgil, in his Aeneid, made mention of both Faunus and Pan independently. In Justin's epitome, Faunus is identified with Lupercus, otherwise a priest of Faunus. Livy named Inuus as the god worshiped at the Lupercalia, February 15, when his priests wore goat-skins and hit passers-by with goatskin whips. Two festivals, called Faunalia, were celebrated in his honour—one on February 13, in the temple of Faunus on the island in the Tiber, the other on 5 December, when the peasants brought him rustic offerings and amused themselves with dancing.
A euhemeristic account made Faunus a Latin king, son of Picus and Canens. He was revered as the god Fatuus after his death, worshipped in a sacred forest outside what is now Tivoli, but had been known since Etruscan times as Tibur, the seat of the Tiburtine Sibyl, his numinous presence was recognized with wreaths and goblets. In Nonnos' Dionysiaca, Faunus/Phaunos accompanied Dionysus. Faunus was worshipped across the Roman Empire for many centuries. An example of this was a set of thirty-two 4th-century spoons found near Thetford in England in 1979, they had been engraved with the name "Faunus", each had a different epithet after the god's name. The spoons bore Christian symbols, it has been suggested that these were Christian but taken and devoted to Faunus by pagans; the 4th century was a time of large scale Chri
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. "Roman mythology" may refer to the modern study of these representations, to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period. The Romans treated their traditional narratives as historical when these have miraculous or supernatural elements; the stories are concerned with politics and morality, how an individual's personal integrity relates to his or her responsibility to the community or Roman state. Heroism was an important theme; when the stories illuminate Roman religious practices, they are more concerned with ritual and institutions than with theology or cosmogony. The study of Roman religion and myth is complicated by the early influence of Greek religion on the Italian peninsula during Rome's protohistory, by the artistic imitation of Greek literary models by Roman authors.
In matters of theology, the Romans were curiously eager to identify their own gods with those of the Greeks, to reinterpret stories about Greek deities under the names of their Roman counterparts. Rome's early myths and legends have a dynamic relationship with Etruscan religion, less documented than that of the Greeks. While Roman mythology may lack a body of divine narratives as extensive as that found in Greek literature and Remus suckling the she-wolf is as famous as any image from Greek mythology except for the Trojan Horse; because Latin literature was more known in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, the interpretations of Greek myths by the Romans had a greater influence on narrative and pictorial representations of "classical mythology" than Greek sources. In particular, the versions of Greek myths in Ovid's Metamorphoses, written during the reign of Augustus, came to be regarded as canonical; because ritual played the central role in Roman religion that myth did for the Greeks, it is sometimes doubted that the Romans had much of a native mythology.
This perception is a product of Romanticism and the classical scholarship of the 19th century, which valued Greek civilization as more "authentically creative." From the Renaissance to the 18th century, Roman myths were an inspiration for European painting. The Roman tradition is rich in historical myths, or legends, concerning the foundation and rise of the city; these narratives focus on human actors, with only occasional intervention from deities but a pervasive sense of divinely ordered destiny. In Rome's earliest period and myth have a mutual and complementary relationship; as T. P. Wiseman notes: The Roman stories still matter, as they mattered to Dante in 1300 and Shakespeare in 1600 and the founding fathers of the United States in 1776. What does it take to be a free citizen? Can a superpower still be a republic? How does well-meaning authority turn into murderous tyranny? Major sources for Roman myth include the Aeneid of Vergil and the first few books of Livy's history as well as Dionysius' s Roman Antiquities.
Other important sources are the Fasti of Ovid, a six-book poem structured by the Roman religious calendar, the fourth book of elegies by Propertius. Scenes from Roman myth appear in Roman wall painting and sculpture reliefs; the Aeneid and Livy's early history are the best extant sources for Rome's founding myths. Material from Greek heroic legend was grafted onto this native stock at an early date; the Trojan prince Aeneas was cast as husband of Lavinia, daughter of King Latinus, patronymical ancestor of the Latini, therefore through a convoluted revisionist genealogy as forebear of Romulus and Remus. By extension, the Trojans were adopted as the mythical ancestors of the Roman people; the characteristic myths of Rome are political or moral, that is, they deal with the development of Roman government in accordance with divine law, as expressed by Roman religion, with demonstrations of the individual's adherence to moral expectations or failures to do so. Rape of the Sabine women, explaining the importance of the Sabines in the formation of Roman culture, the growth of Rome through conflict and alliance.
Numa Pompilius, the Sabine second king of Rome who consorted with the nymph Egeria and established many of Rome's legal and religious institutions. Servius Tullius, the sixth king of Rome, whose mysterious origins were mythologized and, said to have been the lover of the goddess Fortuna; the Tarpeian Rock, why it was used for the execution of traitors. Lucretia, whose self-sacrifice prompted the overthrow of the early Roman monarchy and led to the establishment of the Republic. Cloelia, A Roman woman taken hostage by Lars Porsena, she escaped the Clusian camp with a group of Roman virgins. Horatius at the bridge, on the importance of individual valor. Mucius Scaevola, who thrust his right hand into the fire to prove his loyalty to Rome. Caeculus and the founding of Praeneste. Manlius and the geese, about divine intervention at the Gallic siege of Rome. Stories pertaining to the Nonae Caprotinae and Poplifugia festivals. Coriolanus, a story of politics and morality; the Etruscan city of Corythus as the "cradle" of Trojan and Italian civilization.
The arrival of the Great Mother in Rome. Narratives of divine activity played a more important role in the system of Greek religious belief than among the Romans, for whom ritual and cult were primary. Although Roman religion did not have a basis in scriptures and exegesis, priestly literature was one of the earliest written forms of Latin prose; the books and commentaries of the College of Pontiffs and
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
Publius Ovidius Naso, known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is ranked as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature; the Imperial scholar Quintilian considered him the last of the Latin love elegists. He enjoyed enormous popularity, but, in one of the mysteries of literary history, was sent by Augustus into exile in a remote province on the Black Sea, where he remained until his death. Ovid himself attributes his exile to carmen et error, "a poem and a mistake", but his discretion in discussing the causes has resulted in much speculation among scholars; the first major Roman poet to begin his career during the reign of Augustus, Ovid is today best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, for works in elegiac couplets such as Ars Amatoria and Fasti. His poetry was much imitated during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, influenced Western art and literature.
The Metamorphoses remains one of the most important sources of classical mythology. Ovid talks more about his own life than most other Roman poets. Information about his biography is drawn from his poetry Tristia 4.10, which gives a long autobiographical account of his life. Other sources include Seneca the Quintilian. Ovid was born in Sulmo, in an Apennine valley east of Rome, to an important equestrian family, on 20 March, 43 BC; that was a significant year in Roman politics. He was educated in rhetoric in Rome under the teachers Arellius Fuscus and Porcius Latro with his brother who excelled at oratory, his father wanted him to study rhetoric toward the practice of law. According to Seneca the Elder, Ovid tended to not the argumentative pole of rhetoric. After the death of his brother at 20 years of age, Ovid renounced law and began travelling to Athens, Asia Minor, Sicily, he held minor public posts, as one of the tresviri capitales, as a member of the Centumviral court and as one of the decemviri litibus iudicandis, but resigned to pursue poetry around 29–25 BC, a decision his father disapproved of.
Ovid's first recitation has been dated to around 25 BC. He was part of the circle centered on the patron Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus, seems to have been a friend of poets in the circle of Maecenas. In Trist. 4.10.41–54, Ovid mentions friendships with Macer, Horace and Bassus. He married three times and divorced twice by the time he was thirty years old, he had one daughter, who bore him grandchildren. His last wife was connected in some way to the influential gens Fabia and would help him during his exile in Tomis; the first 25 years of Ovid's literary career were spent writing poetry in elegiac meter with erotic themes. The chronology of these early works is not secure, his earliest extant work is thought to be the Heroides, letters of mythological heroines to their absent lovers, which may have been published in 19 BC, although the date is uncertain as it depends on a notice in Am. 2.18.19–26 that seems to describe the collection as an early published work. The authenticity of some of these poems has been challenged, but this first edition contained the first 14 poems of the collection.
The first five-book collection of the Amores, a series of erotic poems addressed to a lover, Corinna, is thought to have been published in 16–15 BC. 8–3 BC. Between the publications of the two editions of the Amores can be dated the premiere of his tragedy Medea, admired in antiquity but is no longer extant. Ovid's next poem, the Medicamina Faciei, a fragmentary work on women's beauty treatments, preceded the Ars Amatoria, the Art of Love, a parody of didactic poetry and a three-book manual about seduction and intrigue, dated to AD 2. Ovid may identify this work in his exile poetry as the carmen, or song, one cause of his banishment; the Ars Amatoria was followed by the Remedia Amoris in the same year. This corpus of elegiac, erotic poetry earned Ovid a place among the chief Roman elegists Gallus and Propertius, of whom he saw himself as the fourth member. By AD 8, he had completed his most ambitious work, the Metamorphoses, a hexameter epic poem in 15 books; the work encyclopedically catalogues transformations in Greek and Roman mythology, from the emergence of the cosmos to the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
The stories follow each other in the telling of human beings transformed to new bodies: trees, animals, constellations etc. At the same time, he worked on the Fasti, a six-book poem in elegiac couplets on the theme of the calendar of Roman festivals and astronomy; the composition of this poem was interrupted by Ovid's exile, it is thought that Ovid abandoned work on the piece in Tomis. It is in this period, if they are indeed by Ovid, that the double letters in the Heroides were composed. In AD 8, Ovid was banished to Tomis, on the Black Sea, by the exclusive intervention of the Emperor Augustus, without any participation of the Senate or of any Roman judge; this event shaped all his following poetry. Ovid wrote that the reason for his exile was carmen et error – "a poem and a mistake", claiming that his crime was
Picus was a figure in Roman mythology, was the first king of Latium. He was the son of Saturn known as Stercutus, he was the founder of the first Latin tribe and settlement, located a few miles to the Southeast of the site of the city of Rome. He was known for his skill at horsemanship. According to Festus he got his name as a consequence of the fact that he used to rely on a woodpecker for the purpose of divination. Picus was described to be quite handsome, sought after by nymphs and naiads; the witch Circe attempted to seduce him with her charms and herbs while he was on a hunting trip, but he savagely rejected her. She turned him into a woodpecker for scorning her love; when his comrades accused Circe of her crime and demanded Picus' release, she turned them too into a variety of beasts. Picus' wife was a nymph. After Picus' transformation she wandered madly through the forest for 6 days until she lay down on the bank of the Tiber and died, they had Faunus. According to grammarian Servius, Picus's love for Pomona was itself scorned.
But in another place he states she consented to marriage, but Circe transformed Picus into a woodpecker and her into a pica, a kind of bird a magpie or an owl. He is featured in one of the Metamorphoses of Ovid. Virgil says that he was the son of Saturnus and the grandfather of Latinus, the king of the Laurentines whom Aeneas and his Trojans fought upon reaching Italy. Italic people believed Picus was the son of the god of war Mars and attributed his avine transformation to his skills at interpreting bird omens. One of the function he performed was to lead the deduction of colonies with his flight, which traditionally took place in spring and was performed according to a religious ritual known as ver sacrum; the people of the Piceni derived their name from the memory of this ritual. Ovid Metamorphoses 14.320-620 Virgil Aeneid 7.45-49, 170-191 Servius on Aeneid 7.190 Diodorus Siculus 6, frag. 5
Latium is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire. Latium was a small triangle of fertile, volcanic soil on which resided the tribe of the Latins or Latians, it was located on the left bank of the River Tiber, extending northward to the River Anio and southeastward to the Pomptina Palus as far south as the Circeian promontory. The right bank of the Tiber was occupied by the Etruscan city of Veii, the other borders were occupied by Italic tribes. Subsequently, Rome defeated Veii and its Italic neighbours, expanding Latium to the Apennine Mountains in the northeast and to the opposite end of the marsh in the southeast; the modern descendant, the Italian Regione of Lazio called Latium in Latin, in modern English, is somewhat larger still, but not as much as double the original Latium. The ancient language of the Latins, the tribespeople who occupied Latium, was to become the immediate predecessor of the Old Latin language, ancestor of Latin and the Romance languages.
Latium has played an important role in history owing to its status as the host of the capital city of Rome, at one time the cultural and political centre of the Roman Empire. Latium is home to celebrated works of art and architecture. Earliest known Latium was the country of the Latini, a tribe whose recognised centre was a large, extinct volcano, Mons Albanus, 20 kilometres to the southeast of Rome, 64 kilometres in circumference. In its center is a crater lake, Lacus Albanus, oval in shape, a few km long and wide. At the top of the second-highest peak was a temple to Jupiter Latiaris, where the Latini held state functions before their subjection to Rome, the Romans subsequently held religious and state ceremonies; the last pagan temple to be built stood until the Middle Ages when its stone and location were reused for various monasteries and a hotel. During World War II, the Wehrmacht turned it into a radio station, captured after an infantry battle by American troops in 1944, it is a controversial telecommunications station surrounded by antennae considered unsightly by the population within view.
The selection of Jupiter as a state god and the descent of the name Latini to the name of the Latin language are sufficient to identify the Latins as a tribe of Indo-European descent. Virgil, a major poet of the early Roman Empire, under Augustus, derived Latium from the word for "hidden" because in a myth Saturn, ruler of the golden age in Latium, hid from Jupiter there. A major modern etymology is that Lazio comes from the Latin word "latus", meaning "wide", expressing the idea of "flat land" meaning the Roman Campagna; the region that would become Latium had been home to settled agricultural populations since the early Bronze Age and was known to the Ancient Greeks and earlier to the Mycenaean Greeks. The name is most derived from the Latin word "latus", meaning "wide", expressing the idea of "flat land" but the name may originate from an earlier, non-Indo-European one; the Etruscans, from their home region of Etruria exerted a strong cultural and political influence on Latium from about the 8th century BC onward.
However, they were unable to assert political hegemony over the region, controlled by small, autonomous city-states in a manner analogous to the state of affairs that prevailed in Ancient Greece. Indeed, the region's cultural and geographic proximity to the cities of Magna Graecia had a strong impact upon its early history. By the 10th century BC, archaeology records a slow development in agriculture from the entire area of Latium with the establishment of numerous villages; the Latins cultivated grains, olives and fig trees. The various Latini populi lived in a society led by influential clans; these clans were a sign of their tribal origin, which continued in Rome as the thirty curiae which organized Roman society. However, as a social unit the gens was replaced by the family, headed by the paterfamilias - the oldest male who held supreme authority over the family. A fixed local center seemed necessary as the center of the region cannot have been one of the villages, but must have been a place of common assembly, containing the seat of justice and the common sanctuary of the district, where members of the clans met for purposes of administration and amusement, where they obtained a safer shelter for themselves in case of war: in ordinary circumstances such a place was not at all or but scantily inhabited.
Such a place was called in Italy "height", or "stronghold". The isolated Alban range, that natural stronghold of Latium, which offered to settlers a secure position, would doubtless be first occupied by the newcomers. Here, along the narrow plateau above Palazzuola between the Alban lake and the Alban mount, extended the town of Alba Longa, regarded as the primitive seat of the Latin stock, the mother city of Rome as well as of all the other Old Latin communities. Here too are found some primitive works of masonry, which mark the be