Evander

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In Roman mythology, Evander (from Greek Εὔανδρος Euandros, "good man" or "strong man")[1][2] or Euander was a deific culture hero from Arcadia, Greece, who brought the Greek pantheon, laws and alphabet to Italy, where he founded the city of Pallantium on the future site of Rome, sixty years before the Trojan War. He instituted the Lupercalia.

The oldest tradition of its founding ascribes to Evander the erection of the Great Altar of Hercules in the Forum Boarium. In Virgil's Aeneid, VIII, where Aeneas and his crew first come upon them, Evander and his people are engaged in venerating Hercules for having dispatched the giant Cacus. Virgil's listeners recognized the same Great Altar of Hercules in the Forum Boarium of their own day, one detail among the passages that Virgil has saturated with references linking a heroic past with the Age of Augustus. As Virgil's backstory goes, Hercules had been returning from Gades with Geryon's cattle when Evander entertained him and was the first to raise an altar to this hero. The archaic altar was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome, AD 64.

Evander was born to Mercury and Carmenta, and his wisdom was beyond that of all Arcadians. According to Virgil [3], previous to the Trojan War, he gathered a group of natives to a city he founded in Italy near the Tiber river, which he named Pallantium. Virgil states that he named the city in honor of his son, Pallas, although Pausanias as well as Dionysius of Halicarnassus [4] say that Evander's birth city was Pallantium, thus he named the new city after the one in Arcadia.

Since he met Anchises before the Trojan War, Evander aids Aeneas[5] in his battle against the Rutuli under the autochthonous leader Turnus and plays a major role in Aeneid Book XII.

Evander was deified after his death and had an altar constructed in his name on the Aventine Hill.

Pallas apparently died childless, leaving the natives under Turnus to ravage his kingdom. However, the gens Fabia claimed descent from Evander.

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