Mefitis

July 31st, 2008 by sabrina

Mefitis is the Samnite Goddess of the foul-smelling gases of the earth. The Samnites occupied central Italy before the rise of Rome. Mephitis was worshipped in central and southern Italy before Roman times, with her main shrine in the volcano Ampsanctus in Samnium. There was a temple dedicated to her in Cremona, and another on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. It is theorized that Mefitis was originally a Goddess of underground sources, such as natural springs—the fact that many of these springs were sulfurous led to her association with noxious gases. She is almost always identified with volcanoes, having been worshipped at Pompeii. Her name, which likely means “one who smokes in the middle,” is also seen as Mephitis.

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