A prophetic and healing divinity, as well as of childbirth, and one of the Camenae. The traditions which assigned a Greek origin to her worship at Rome, state that her original name was Nicostrate, and that she was called Carmentis from her prophetic powers.1 According to these traditions she was the mother of Evander, the Arcadian, by Hermes, and after having endeavored to persuade her son to kill Hermes, she fled with him to Italy, where she gave oracles to the people and to Heracles. She was put to death by her son at the age of 110 years, and then obtained divine honors.2 Hyginus3 further relates, that she changed the fifteen characters of the Greek alphabet, which Evander introduced into Latium, into Roman ones.
Her shrine in Rome was at Porta Carmentalis, the foot of the Capitoline Hill, and it was forbidden to bring leather products there. Her festival, the Carmentalia, was observed on January 11 and 15 and was attended mainly by women. Her priest was the flamen Carmentalis. The two other Camenae, or Cermentae, Porrima or Antevorta and Postvorta, were worshiped as her sisters and attendants.
- Servius on Virgil's Aeneid viii, 51, 336; Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Roman Antiquities i, 15, 32.
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Roman Antiquities i, 31 ff.
- Hyginus. Fabulae, 277.
- 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.