Tanaquil - Encyclopedia




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TANAQUIL, the Etruscan name of the wife of Tarquinius Priscus, or of one of his sons. After her immigration to Rome she is said to have received the name Gaia Caecilia. She was famous for her shrewdness and prophetic gifts, which enabled her to foretell the future greatness of her husband and of Servius Tullius. There was a statue of her as Gaia Caecilia in the temple of Sancus, which possessed magical powers. She was celebrated as a spinner of wool, and was supposed to exercise influence over Roman brides. Tanaquil and Gaia Caecilia are, however, really distinct personalities. The anecdotes told of Gaia Caecilia are aetiological myths intended to explain certain usages at Roman marriages.

See Livy, i. 34, 41; Pliny, Nat. Hist., viii. 74, xxxvi. 7 0; Schwegler, Romische Geschichte, bk. xv. 8.

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