was the lover of the Hamadryad
The Fauns and Satyrs would have given all they
possessed to win her, and so would old Sylvanus, who looks
young for his years, and Pan, who wears a garland of pine leaves around his head. But
Vertumnus loved her best of all; yet he sped no better than the rest. O how often, in the
disguise of a reaper, did he bring her corn in a basket, and looked the very image of a
reaper! With a hay band tied round him, one would think he had just come from turning
over the grass. Sometimes he would have an ox-goad in his hand, and you would have
said he had just unyoked his weary oxen. Now he bore a pruning-hook, and personated a
vine-dresser; and again, with a ladder on his shoulder, he seemed as if he was going to
gather apples. Sometimes he trudged along as a discharged soldier, and again he bore a
fishing-rod, as if going to fish. In this way he gained admission to her again and again,
and fed his passion with the sight of her.
Source: Bulfinch's Mythology
The Age of Fable
Vertumnus visited Pomona disguised as an old woman and pled his suit and
persuaded Pomona to become his lover.
Ovid tells the tale in book XIV of his Metamorphoses and John Milton
mentions it in passing in Book IX of Paradise Lost.
According to pantheon.org, vertere means 'changing', and Vertumnus was
The Roman divinity of seasons, changes and ripening of plant life. He is the patron of
gardens and fruit trees. He has the power to change himself into various forms, and used
this to gain the favor of the goddess Pomona. Vertumnus' cult was introduced in Rome
around 300 BCE and a temple was built on the Aventine Hill in 264 BCE. The
Vertumnalias, observed on August 13, is his festival. A statue of Vertumnus stood at the
"The Vicus Tuscus was so named because it was the location of an Etruscan
settlement within Rome":
Propertius 4.2: Slumming with Vertumnus?
, Kerill O'Neill
American Journal of Philology
121.2 (2000) 259-277.
An anonymous article on pages.ancientsites.com says that the original, Etruscan
name of Vertumnus was Veltha, who was the
"Original God of the Etruscans, Patron of
the Etruscan League Centred on the Fanum
Voltumnae in Volsinii".
We find him described as "Dius Etruriae Princeps (Chief God of the Etruscans): He is master of all Vegetation, but especially
Fruit Trees" in ARS HARUSPICINA
a Ioanne Opsopoeo (by John Opsopaus).
François Boucher's 1748 painting
Earth: Vertumnus and Pomona shows Vertumnus disguised as an old woman.
The same is true of Gerbrand van den Eckhout's
Vertumnus and Pomona (1669)
and Francesco Melzi's Pomona and Vertumnus (circa 1520).
A tapestry by Willem de Pannemaker (1535) shows Vertumnus disguised as a haymaker.
A 2nd century statuette of Vertumnus at the Lowe Art Museum also shows him
as fully human in form.
Giuseppe Arcimboldo's Vertumnus represents the
Emperor Rudolph II as Vertumnus and the image is composed of
various fruits and vegetables juxtaposed (See Jan Svankmajer's witty
parody collage Vertumnus and Mona Lisa).
These images do not show Vertumnus as a faun, but I conjecture that this name was the source
of the name Mr. Tumnus in the Narnia books of C. S. Lewis.