Few mythological names are more familiar than that of Vulcan; and few cults present more puzzling difficulties than his. I propose to review the chief points connected with this god and one or two of the main theories concerning him, ending by putting forward the view which seems to me the most likely.
What may be called the orthodox theory concerning him is to be found in the works of the late Professor Wissowa, and is as follows. He was a genuinely Roman god, a deus indiges. His department was fire, considered, not as the flame of the hearth or of the smith's forge, but as the destroying element, pure and simple. Hence, he was regularly worshipped outside the city walls, or at all events outside the pomerium. For this reason the Volcanal at Rome was at one end of the Forum, outside the original Palatine settlement and the ‘Servian’ city ; the later temple of the god, of date about 540/214, was in the Circus Flaminius ; perhaps also at Perusia he was worshipped outside the walls ; at all events, the fire of 714/40, which destroyed all the rest of the city, spared his temple and, according to Cassius Dio, that of Juno likewise.