Originally associated with water, the ancient Italian goddesses known as the Camenae later became identified with the Greek Muses. Their name means "foretellers," and it relates to the prophetic powers with which they were believed to be endowed. They presided over the lakes, rivers, brooks, and springs where they dwelled and inspired those who drank from them. The Festival of the Camenae was celebrated on August 13. The sacrifices that were offered to nymphs consisted of goats, lambs, milk, and oil, but never wine. Nymphs are represented in works of art as beautiful maidens, either partly clad or completely naked.

Chief among the nymphs was Carmenta, or Carmentis, who had a spring and a grove outside the Porta Capena at Rome where the Vestal Virgins drew water for their rites. Her festival, the Carmentalia (January 11 and 15), shared one day, called the Juturnalia (January 11) with Juturna, a nymph of a fountain in Latium that was famous for its healing qualities. Egeria, another of the nymphs, instructed Numa Pompilius on the forms of worship which he introduced. The grove where his interviews with the goddess took place was dedicated to the Camenae. The nymphs were honored with Volcanus, the god of fire, during the Vulcanalia (August 23). It is not unreasonable to suspect that they were honored along with Fons, the god of fountains, during the Fontinalia (October 13).

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