Virbius, Lord of the Forest, is now most famous as Diana’s chief companion at her shrine in the Forest of Nemi. He is invoked for virility.
• He may always have been a spirit of the woods.
• He may be her first priest, now deified.
• The Greeks identified Virbius with Hippolytus, brought back to life by Asklepios and spirited away to the oak groves of Nemi. (Hippolytus died trampled by horses; horses were not permitted in Virbius’ grove in Nemi.)
Thieves, fugitives, slaves
A man or a stag; statues of Diana depicting her beside a stag may indicate a literal stag, her sacred animal, or Virbius in stag guise.
The Forest of Nemi, Italy
- Diana, Egeria
- Roman Mythology
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.