Vertumnus in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
or VORTUMNUS, is said to have been an Etruscan divinity
whose worship was introduced at Rome by an ancient Vulsinian
colony occupying at first the Caelian hill, and afterwards
the vicus Tuscus. (Propert 4.2. 6, &c.; Ov. Miet. 14.642.)
The name is evidently connected with verto, and formed on
the analogy of alumnus from alo, whence it must signify "
the god who changes or metamorphoses himself." For this
reason the Romans connected Vertumnus with all occurrences
to which the verb verto applies, such as the change of
seasons, purchase and sale, the return of rivers to their
proper beds, &c. (Comp. Horat. Sat. 2.7. 14.) But in reality
the god was connected only with the transformation of
plants, and their progress from being in blossom to that of
bearing fruit. (Schol. ad Horat. List. 1.20. 1 Ascon. in
Cic. Verr. 1.59; Propert. 4.2. 10, &c.) Hence the story,
that when Vertumnus was in love with Pomona, he assumed all
possible forms, until at last he gained his end by
metamorphosing himself into a blooming youth. (Propert 4.2.
21, &c.; Ov. l.c.) Gardeners accordingly offered to him the
first produce of their gardens and garlands of budding
flowers. (Propert. 4.2. 18 and 45.) But the whole people
celebrated a festival to Vertumnus on the 23d of August,
under the name of the Vortumnalia, denoting the transition
from the beautiful season of autumn to the less agreeable
one. He had a temple in the vicus Tuscus, and a statue of
him stood in the vicus Jugarius near the altar of Ops.
(Propert. l.c. ; Cic. in Verr. 1.59.) The story of the
Etruscan origin seems to be sufficiently refuted by his
genuine Roman name, and it is much more probable that the
worship of Vertumnus was of Sabine origin, which in fact is
implied in his connection with T. Tatius. (Varro, De L. L.
5.75.) The importance of the worship of Vertumnus at Rome is
evident from the fact, that it was attended to by a special
flamen (flamen Vortumnalis ; see Varro, De L. L. 7.45, with
Müller's note; Festus, p. 379; Plin. Nat. 23.1; Müller, Anc.
Art and its Rem. § 404). - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman
biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.
Vertumnus in Wikipedia
In Roman mythology, Vertumnus - also Vortumnus or Vertimnus -
is the god of seasons, change and plant growth, as well as
gardens and fruit trees. He could change his form at will;
using this power, according to Ovid's Metamorphoses (xiv), he
tricked Pomona into talking to him by disguising himself as an
old woman and gaining entry to her orchard, then using a
narrative warning of the dangers of rejecting a suitor (the
embedded tale of Iphis and Anaxarete) to seduce her. The tale
of Vertumnus and Pomona was the only purely Latin tale in