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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

E. M. Berens
Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome - Part II

From, A Handbook of Mythology, New York 1886
{ } = Page Numbers in the print edition,   [ ] = Footnote Numbers

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Page 62

PALES.

Pales, a very ancient Italian divinity, is represented sometimes as a male, sometimes as a female power.

As a male divinity he is more particularly the god of shepherds and flocks.

As a female deity, Pales presides over husbandry and the fruitfulness of herds. Her festivals, the Palilia, were celebrated on the 21st of April, the day on which the city of Rome was founded. During this festival it was customary for shepherds to ignite a mass of straw, through which they rushed with their flocks, believing that this ordeal would purify them from sin.

The name Palatine, which originally signified a pastoral colony, is derived from this divinity. Her offerings were cakes and milk.

{182}

PICUS.

Picus, the son of Saturn and father of Faunus, was a woodland divinity, gifted with prophetic powers.

An ancient myth relates that Picus was a beautiful youth, united to a nymph called Canens. The sorceress Circe, infatuated by his beauty, endeavoured to secure his love, but he rejected her advances, and she, in revenge, changed him into a woodpecker, under which form he still retained his powers of prophecy.

Picus is represented as a youth, with a woodpecker perched upon his head, which bird became henceforth regarded as possessed of the power of prophecy.

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Cf. A Day in Old Athens * A Short History of Greek Philosophy
Toynbee, Ancient Greek History and the West * Livingstone, On the Ancient Greek Literature

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/mythology2.asp?pg=62