Divine Twins

Wiseman 1995: 71:


I am sympathetic to a view of ancient myth where narratives bleed one into another emerging as new wholes.  I’ve worried a good deal about the connection of the Penates and the Dioscuri. And then, in that context how similar the iconography of the Lares Praestites is.  In this context, when I find myself persuaded of the emergence of the Romulus and Remus narrative out of the Lara, Lares story, I immediately start wondering if we shouldn’t also add in the Dioscuri.  I’m comforted by the fact that Schwegler already made this leap:


I’m especially intrigued by the reference to Servius, Aen. 7.678 and the identification of the dii Indigetes at Praeneste as two brothers and the assertion that this is the same as at Rome.


Vergil a little earlier had just mentioned the twin kings of Tibur.

tum gemini fratres Tiburtia moenia linquunt / fratris Tiburti dictam cognomine gentem / Catillusque acerque Coras Argiua iuuentus (6.670-2)

This portion of book 7 is a mini mythological geography of the region around Rome, an opportunity for Vergil to weave in the esoterica that was not central to his narrative but potentially of sentimental attachment to parts of his audience.

I’m left with the sense that most communities around ancient Rome has pairs of founding or protective young male deities and that dii Indigetes in the unmarked plural probably generally refers to this type of god.  I take part of my support for this idea from this reading of Vergil’s Georgics.


By the same poetic logic as this above (Romulus – Indiges) in Silius Italicus,  Punica 9.294 the suggestion is that the Indigetes include Faunus, Quirinus and Castor and Pollux.  This reminds me of the composition of the Bolsena mirror!

This is also consistent with all the plural references to the di Indigetes in the Latin corpus.

Serv. V. Aen. 12.794 ~ Serv. V. Geor. 1.64

Livy 8.9.6 – Decius’ devoto

Lucan BC 1.556 – statues weep to foretell civil war

Silius Italicus,  Punica 10.436 – another military oath

The only epigraphic reference to the di Indigetes is discussed here. The article also has excellent bibliography of both the plural and singular divinities.

My one quibble would be their differentiating the Indiges of the Dec 11 festival (epigraphic evidence here) from the cult of Sol Indiges on the Quirinal known from other calendars (see below).  The key text reads: Ag]on(alia) Ind(igeti)  and we know of a connection between the Quirinal and the name Agones from Festus (images below) and Dionysius.

Singular references to Indiges seem to always refer to the god worshiped near the Numicus river, associated with both Aeneas and Jupiter.

Tibullus elegies 2.5.44

Livy 1.2.6

V. Aen. 12.794

Ovid Meta. 15.862

Aulus Gellius NA 2.16.9

Silius Italicus,  Punica 8.39

Serv. V. Aen. 1.259

There is also a frieze decorating the tomb of T. Statilius Taurus which shows the battle of Numicus and Aeneas’ apotheosis.

There is nothing that stops Aeneas Indiges from being an Augustan age creation or embellishment at very least.

Update 7/5/17:

An elogium of Aeneas from the forum of Emerita (an Augustan Colony) refers to his apotheosis and his assumption of the name Indiges Pater.  It came to light in 1986 excavations.  This elogium is nearly identical to one found in Pompeii:

CIL 10, 00808 (p 967) = CIL 10, 08348 = EE-08-01, 00311 = EE-08-01, 00854 = PompIn 00016 = InscrIt-13-03, 00085 = D 00063 = AE 2013, +00195

Augustan age epigraphy also testifies to the cult of Sol Indiges on the Quirinal. Cf. Also another calendars for reference to the same cult:

CIL 09, 02319 = CIL 09, 02320 = CIL 01, p 0217 = InscrIt-13-02, 00024 = Allifae 00002 = Allifae 00003 = RECapua 00212 = RECapua 00213 

CIL 09, 04192 (p 698) = InscrIt-13-02, 00025 = ZPE-153-266 = Freis 00001

Festus refs:







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