Murcia (deity)

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Murcia was a little-known goddess in ancient Rome. Her name occurs as a surname of Venus.[1]

According to Livy[2] she had a temple at the foot of the Aventine Hill near to the Palatine Hill. Murcus is said to have been an old name for the Aventine Hill itself;[3] hence the adjective murtius (= murcius) was applied to the turning-posts of the Circus Maximus, which was also situated in a valley between the Aventine and the Palatine Hills.[4]

The name Murcia was linked to the name of the myrtle tree (Latin myrtus) by folk etymology; hence the spellings Murtia and Murtea. This association with myrtle, which was a sign of Venus, led to her naming as "Venus of the Myrtles".[5][6] Christian writers, in their turn, connected Murcia with the adjective murcus or murcidus "lazy, inactive", thus interpreting her as a "goddess of sloth and laziness".[7][8]


  1. Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
  2. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:33
  3. Paulus Diaconus, Epitoma Festi, p. 148M
  4. Apuleius, Metamorphoses, 6. 8
  5. Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, XV. 36
  6. Plutarch, Quaestiones Romanae, 20
  7. Augustine, De civitate Dei, IV. 16
  8. Arnobius, Adversus Nationes, IV. 9

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