invocabo eos, nec, ut Homerus et Ennius, Musas, sed duodecim deos Consentis; neque tamen eos urbanos, quorum imagines ad forum auratae stant, sex mares et feminae totidem, sed illos XII deos, qui maxime 5agricolarum duces sunt. Primum, qui omnis fructos agri culturae caelo et terra continent, Iovem et Tellurem; itaque, quod ii parentes magni dicuntur, Iuppiter pater appellatur, Tellus terra mater. Secundo Solem et Lunam, quorum tempora observantur, cum quaedam seruntur et conduntur. Tertio Cererem et Liberum, quod horum fructus maxime necessari ad victum; ab his enim cibus et potio venit 6e fundo. Quarto Robigum ac Floram, quibus propitiis neque robigo frumenta atque arbores corrumpit, neque non tempestive florent. Itaque publice Robigo feriae Robigalia, Florae ludi Floralia instituti. Item adveneror Minervam et Venerem, quarum unius procuratio oliveti, alterius hortorum; quo nomine rustica Vinalia instituta. Nec non etiam precor Lympham ac Bonum Eventum, quoniam sine aqua omnis arida ac misera agri cultura, sine successu ac bono eventu frustratio est, non 7cultura. Iis igitur deis ad venerationem advocatis ego referam sermones eos quos de agri cultura habuimus nuper, ex quibus quid te facere oporteat
the gods help those who call upon them, I will first invoke them—not the Muses, as Homer and Ennius do, but the twelve councillor-gods1; and I do not mean those urban gods, whose images stand around the forum, bedecked with gold, six male and a like number female, but those twelve gods who are the special patrons of husbandmen. First, then, I invoke Jupiter and Tellus, who, by means of the sky and the earth, embrace all the fruits of agriculture; and hence, as we are told that they are the universal parents, Jupiter is called “the Father,” and Tellus is called “Mother Earth.” And second, Sol and Luna, whose courses are watched in all matters of planting and harvesting. Third, Ceres and Liber, because their fruits are most necessary for life; for it is by their favour that food and drink come from the farm. Fourth, Robigus and Flora; for when they are propitious the rust will not harm the grain and the trees, and they will not fail to bloom in their season; wherefore, in honour of Robigus has been established the solemn feast of the Robigalia, and in honour of Flora the games called Floralia. Likewise I beseech Minerva and Venus, of whom the one protects the oliveyard and the other the garden; and in her honour the rustic Vinalia has been established.2 And I shall not fail to pray also to Lympha and Bonus Eventus, since without moisture all tilling of the ground is parched and barren, and without success and “good issue” it is not tillage but vexation. Having now duly invoked these divinities, I shall relate the conversations which we had recently about agriculture, from which you may
- 1In the Etrusco-Romish language of religion, the twelve superior deities who formed the common council of the gods, assembled by Jupiter. The word occurs only in this phrase.
Their names are given by Ennius in the hexameters:
Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, Diana, Venus, Mars, Mercurius, Ioui’, Neptunus, Vulcanus, Apollo.
- 2The festival occurred on the 19th of August; and Varro tells us (De Ling. Lat., VI, 16) that it was “because at that time a temple was dedicated to Venus, and the protection of the garden is assigned to her.” But Ovid, Fasti, IV, 877 f. gives another explanation.