[Milton-L] Mulciber: "fireman" and therefore hell architect

Dario Rivarossa ilTassista dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
Sat May 14 08:50:03 EDT 2016

Dear friends and scholars, while reading Ovid's "Fasti" (Feasts) I
came across these interesting lines:

Arserat hoc templum: signo tamen ille pepercit
ignis; opem nato Mulciber ipse tulit.
__6. 625-6

"This temple [the temple of Fortune, who had been built by Servius
Tullius, the sixth King of Rome, in the 6th century BC] was then
destroyed by a fire, but that fire did not harm the statue [the one
portraying Servius himself]: Mulciber in person came to his son's aid
[again Servius, according to a myth]."
Now, this quotation might provide one interesting reason -- together
with more general references -- why Milton in PL choose to call
Hephaestus/Vulcan after his title of "Mulciber": he could save sacred
objects in a fire, and even more than that, he could build a whole
'temple' (Pandemonium) in the midst of flames by using flames.

One further reason might be that "Mulciber" somewhat echoes
"Michael-Angel," meant as an ironic hint at the Papacy.

Incidentally, Servius' temple of Fortune has been rediscovered by
archaeologists in 2013 in the area of the "Teatro di Marcello," for
those who have been in Rome.

il Tassista http://tassonomia.blogspot.it
co-artist with the Magic Trio http://tiziafra.wix.com/the-magic-trio

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