A surname of Diana (Artemis), derived from the town of Aricia in Latium, where she was worshiped. A tradition of that place related that Hippolytus, after being restored to life by Asclepius, came to Italy, ruled over Aricia, and dedicated a grove to Diana.1 This goddess was believed to be the Taurian Artemis, and her statue at Aricia was considered to be the same as the one which Orestes had brought with him from Tauris.2
According to Strabo, the priest of the Arician Artemis was always a run-away slave, who obtained his office in the following manner: The sacred grove of Artemis contained one tree from which it was not allowed to break off a branch; but if a slave succeeded in effecting it, the priest was obliged to fight with him, and if he was conquered and killed, the victorious slave became his successor, and might in his turn be killed by another slave, who then succeeded him. Suetonius3 calls the priest rex nemorensis.
Ovid,4 Suetonius, and Pausanias, speak of contests of slaves in the grove at Aricia, which seem to refer to the frequent fights between the priest and a slave who tried to obtain his office.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 27.4.
- Servius on Virgil's Aeneid ii, 116; Strabo. Geography v, 239; Hyginus. Fabulae, 261.
- Life of Caligula, 35.
- Fasti iii, 260 ff.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.