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The Camenae were originally Roman mythology’s gods of prophecy, wells, springs, and childbirth.
The four Camenae:
- Carmenta, or Carmentis
- Egeria, or Ægeria, or Aegeria
- Antevorta, or Porrima
- Postverta, or Postvorta, or Prorsa
The final two are frequently referred to as the Carmentae and may have originally been two facets of Carmenta rather than independent creatures; now, however, they are recognized as separate entities thought to protect women during childbirth. Carmenta was the leader among the nymphs. Water was ceremonially gathered by Vestal Virgins from the spring outside the Porta Capena on her feast day, the Carmentalia. The Greek Muses were later associated with the Camenae; Livius Andronicus translated Homer’s Odyssey using the term Mousa as Camena, and Horace described poetic inspiration as the “soft breath of the Greek Camena” (spiritum Graiae tenuem Camenae) in Odes II.16.
Featured image: Grotto of Egeria in the gardens of Wörlitz
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