The Novensiles Dii are mentioned in the solemn prayer which the consul Decius repeated after the pontifex previous to his devoting himself to death for his country.1 Instead of Novensiles, we also find the form Novensides, whence we may infer that it is some compound of insides. The first word in this compound is said by some to be novus ("new"), and by others novem ("nine");2 and it is accordingly said that the Novensiles were nine gods, to whom Jupiter gave permission to hurl his lightnings.3 But this fact, though it may have applied to the Etruscan religion, nowhere appears in the religion of the Romans. We are therefore inclined to look upon Novensides as composed of nove and insides, so that these gods would be the opposite of Indigetes, or old native divinities; that is, the Novensides are the gods who are newly or recently introduced at Rome, after the conquest of some place. For it was customary at Rome after the conquest of a neighboring town to carry its gods to Rome, and there either to establish their worship in public, or to assign the care of it to some patrician family. This is the explanation of Cincius Alimentus,4 and seems to be quite satisfactory.
- Livy. The History of Rome viii, 9.
- Arnobius, iii, 38, 39.
- Arnobius, l.c.; Pliny the Elder. Naturalis Historia ii, 52.
- ap. Arnobius, iii, 38 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.