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Lacus Aretis : mentioned only in the inscription (CIL vi. 9664) of a
negotiator aerarius et ferrariub sub aede Fortunae, ad lacum Aretis, but
it is uncertain which temple this is.
Lacus Cunicli : a fountain in the campus Martius, known only from one
inscription (BCr 1871, 75), of 375 a.d., where it is spoken of as ‘ de regione
vim.’ Whether * cuniculus ’ means a rabbit (HJ 505) or is used in the
metaphorical, but common, sense of an underground channel, is uncertain.
Lacus Curtius : the name attached to a structure in the middle of the
forum (Plaut. Cure. 477); which the remains are now visible. Three
explanations of the origin and meaning of this name were current in
Rome. One was that at the beginning of the regal period, a chasm
suddenly opened in the middle of the forum valley, which could be
closed, the soothsayers said, only by the sacrifice of that ‘ quo plurimum
populus Romanus posset.’ Thereupon a youth named Curtius leaped in
and the opening closed (Varro, LL v. 148 ; Liv. vii. 6 ; Vai. Max. v. 6. 2 ;
Plin. NH xv. 78 ; Fest. 49 ; Cass. Dio fr. 30. 1 ; Zonaras vii. 25 ; Suidas
ii. I. 572 ; Oros. iii. 5). Another story was that the swamp in the centre
of the forum was called lacus Curtius from the Sabine Mettius Curtius
who rode his hor&e into it when hard pressed by the Romans and escaped
(Liv. i. 12. 9, 13. 5 ; Varro, LL v. 149 ; Dionys. ii. 42 ; xiv. 11 ; Plut.
Rom. 18). This is the story that is represented on a relief, found in 1553
between the column of Phocas and the temple of Castor and preserved
in the Palazzo dei Conserv^tori (Museo Mussolini), which is itself a
late copy of an original of perhaps the second century b.c. (Mitt. 1902,
322-329; S. Sculpt. 324-326; SScR 316-318; Cons. 36). For the
inscription on the other side, see Tribunal Praetoris. According to
the third explanation the lacus was simply a spot of ground that had
been struck by lightning and then enclosed by a stone curb, or puteal,
by C. Curtius, consul in 445 b.c. (Varro, LL. v. 150).
In the time of Augustus the lacus Curtius, siccas qui sustinet aras,
was no longer a lacus but dry ground (Ov. Fast. vi. 403-4), and into it a
small coin was thrown yearly by every Roman in fulfilment of his vows
for the emperor’s safety (Suet. Aug. 7, 57). According to Kobbert
(RE i. A. 576) it is the character of the lacus Curtius as mundus which is
primary ; but its connection with the underworld made it religioszis,