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Rome - The Republic

Moneyer: Mn. Fonteius C.f.
Held Office: 85 BC
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo (Vejovis) right, thunderbolt below. "MN•FONTEI - C•F" (MN and NT in monogram)
Reverse: Cupid seated on goat standing right, pilei of the Dioscuri above, thyrus of Bacchus in exergue, all within a laurel wreath.
Reference: RCVM 271, RSC Fonteia 10, RRC 353 1c
Weight: 3.7 gms
Diameter: 19.8 mm
Comment: RSC names the obverse deity as Vejovis - see below


Romans believed that Vejovis was one of the first gods to be born. He was a god of healing, and was later associated with the Greek Asclepius. He was mostly worshipped in Rome and Bovillae in Latium. On the Capitoline Hill and on the Tiber Island, temples were erected in his honour. In spring, goats were sacrificed to avert plagues.

Vejovis is portrayed as a young man, holding a bunch of arrows, pilum, (or lightning bolts) in his hand, and is accompanied by a goat. He may be based on the Etruscan god of vendetta, known to them by the name Vetis written on the Piacenza Liver, a bronze model used in haruspical divination.

The studies about Vejovis are very poor and unclear. They show a constant updating of his condition and his use by people: escaping from netherworld, Volcanic God responsible for marshland and earthquakes, and later guardian angel in charge of slaves and fighters refusing to lose. God of deceivers, he was called to protect right causes and to give pain and deception to enemies. His temple has been described as a haven safe from police for wrongly persecuted people, and dedicated to the protection of the new comers in Rome, but this view is probably wrong.

The legend shows him more like an entity escaping from hell and trying to join the light and heaven, awesome fighter and protector of any people victims of unfairness. Aulus Gellius, in the Noctes Atticae, speculated that Vejovis was the inverse or ill-omened counterpart of Jupiter; compare Summanus. Aulus Gellius observes that the particle ve- that prefixes the name of the god also appears in Latin words such as vesanus, "insane," and thus interprets the name Vejovis as the anti-Jove. Aulus Gellius also informs us that Vejovis received the sacrifice of a female goat, sacrificed ritu humano; this obscure phrase could either mean "after the manner of a human sacrifice" or "in the manner of a burial."

He has been identified with Apollo, with the infant Jupiter, and speculatively as the Anti-Jupiter (i.e. the Jupiter of the Lower World) as suggested by his name. In art, he was depicted as a youth holding a Laurel wreath and some arrows, next to a goat. He had a temple between the two peaks of the Capitoline Hill in Rome, where his statue had a beardless head and carried a bundle of arrows in his right hand. It stood next to a statue of a goat. There is no firm evidence that he was a god of expiation and the protector of runaway criminals. Sacrifices were made to him annually on March 7: A festival of Vejovis was held on this day, celebrating an ancient Etruscan or Latin deity whose exact function was lost by Roman times. He was possibly the subterranean counterpart of Jupiter, whose earthquakes and volcanoes mirrored Jupiter's thunder and lightning; however he was also at times identified with Apollo or as a younger version of Jupiter himself.

reproduced from Wikipedia

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