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A diversity of opinions subsisted between mythological writers respecting the parentage of Astrea; some supposing her to have been the daughter of Titan and Aurora, others of Astreus, from whom she was named. Hesiod traces her descent from Jupiter and Themis.

Astrea was designated the goddess of justice, and as such resided upon earth during the gold and silver ages; but the crimes of mankind becoming insupportable to her, the poets relate that she flew back to heaven, and was made by Jupiter one of the constellations of the Zodiac, under the appellation Virgo, since which time she has rarely visited this lower world.

Astrea is described as a virgin of majestic mien and inflexible disposition: she is drawn with scales in one hand, in which she weighs the actions and motives of mankind; and in the other an unsheathed sword.

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August, from him who rules the heavens and earth;

A creature glorious to the gods on high,

Whose mansion is yon everlasting sky.

Driven by despiteful wrong she takes her seat
In lowly grief at Jove's eternal feet.
There of the soul unjust her plaints ascend;
So rue the nations when their kings offend :
When uttering wiles, and brooking thoughts of ill,
They bend the laws, and wrest them to their will.



FAMA, or Fame, was the goddess of rumour and renown, and endowed with great power. She has, however, inconsistently enough, left little account of herself: even her descent has not been traced with certainty from any of the gods.

Fame is usually represented in a flying attitude, passing from city to city, and proclaiming with the sound of a trumpet all news or reports, whether true or false. Ovid finely describes the celebrated temple erected to her honour at Troy, and her watchfulness in the cause of the Trojans, when the Grecian invasion was expected by them.

Her worship was common at Rome, where she had a temple and officiating priests. Fame was regarded as the rewarder of all heroic and glorious achievements, generally bestowing a crown of laurel, or bay, upon those whom she favoured.

Full in the midst of this created space,

Betwixt heaven, earth, and skies, there stands a place,

Confining on all three, with triple bound;

Whence all things, though remote, are view'd around,
And thither bring their undulating sound.
The palace of loud Fame, her seat of power,
Placed on the summit of a lofty tower;
A thousand winding entries, long and wide,
Receive of fresh reports a flowing tide;
A thousand crannies in the walls are made,
Nor gate, nor bars, exclude the busy trade.
'Tis built of brass, the better to diffuse
The spreading sounds, and multiply the news;
Where echoes in repeated echoes play;
A mart for ever full, and open night and day.
Nor silence is within, nor voice express,
But a deaf noise of sounds that never cease.
Confused, and chiding like the hollow roar
Of tides, seceding from th' insulted shore;
Or like the broken thunder heard from far,
When Jove at distance drives the rolling war.
The courts are filled with a tumultuous din
Of crowds, or issuing forth, or entering in.
A thoroughfare of news; where some devise
Things never heard, some mingle truth with lies;
The troubled air with empty sounds they beat,

Intent to hear, and eager to repeat.

Error sits brooding there, with added train

Of vain credulity, and joys as vain;

Suspicion, with sedition joined, are near,

And rumours raised, and murmurs mixed, and panic fear.
Fame sits aloft, and sees the subject ground,

And seas about, and skies above, inquiring all around.

The goddess gives th' alarm; and soon is known

The Grecian fleet, descending on the town.

OVID'S Metamorphoses, book 12.


FORTUNA, or the goddess of fortune, was universally worshipped by the ancients, as the bestower of all temporal blessings. Temples and statues were erected to her in all parts of Greece and Rome : of the temples, the most celebrated were those of Rome, eight in number, of Præneste and Antium she had also a temple at Corinth, and statues in Achaia and Boeotia. Fortune, in common with many of the other goddesses, is frequently drawn with the horn of plenty in her hand, and, at times, with another at her feet.


She is represented blindfolded, to shew that she distributes happiness and misery indiscriminately; and has a wheel revolving at her side, to designate the uncertainty of human


affairs. Occasionally she appears winged, to prove that riches are fleeting. This deity has been named Pherapolis, as the guardian of cities, Acrea, and Prænestine. Offerings and

presents were constantly made at her shrines, as, although described to be of a roving and fickle temper, all were eager to ensure her favours for themselves, and unwilling to believe that she would use the wings with which she was endowed. Fortune is also known as a female figure placed at a ship's prow, and guiding the course of the vessel whither her inclination directs. Horace apostrophises Fortune, and begs her interference in favour of Cæsar, when he was about to invade Britain.

Great goddess! Antium's guardian power,
Whose force is strong and quick to raise
The lowest to the highest place;

Or, with a wond'rous fall

To bring the haughty lower,

And turn proud triumphs to a funeral.

The labouring swain thy aid implores,
His prayers are mixed of fear and hope,
On thee depending for his crop;

The merchants thee confess

When far removed from shore,

And bow to thee, the mistress of the seas.

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