eliciunt caelo te, Iuppiter; unde minores
nunc quoque te celebrant Eliciumque uocant.
constat Auentinae tremuisse cacumina siluae,
terraque subsedit pondere pressa Iouis. (Ov. Fasti 3.327–30)
They draw you down from the sky, Jupiter, and that is why more recent generations still worship you today, and call you Elicius. It is certain that the summit of the Aventine wood trembled, and the earth sank beneath the weight of Jupiter.
Dismayed by an unprecedented flurry of thunderbolts, the pious King Numa sets out to expiate the omen. His divine consort Egeria advises him to learn the ritus piandi
(291) from Picus and Faunus, who will, however, only reveal the necessary information under compulsion. Numa makes plans to ambush the gods, taking up position in a cave within a grove ‘under the Aventine, black with the shade of the holm oak, at sight of which you would say, “A spirit is here”’ (lucus Auentino suberat niger ilicis umbra, | quo posses uiso dicere ‘numen inest’
, 295–6). The description of this numinous location continues (297–9):
in medio gramen, muscoque adoperta uirenti
manabat saxo uena perennis aquae;
inde fere soli Faunus Picusque bibebant.
In the middle was a meadow, and an unceasing stream of water, covered with green moss, flowed from the rock. From it Faunus and Picus, unaccompanied, were in the habit of drinking.
Once captured by the king, Faunus and Picus tell Numa that only Jupiter himself can be consulted about Jupiter's own domain (if we read tecta
at 316; Jupiter's weapons, if we read tela
, and there's little to choose between those readings), but that with their help Numa may be able to draw Jupiter down from the sky to answer his enquiry.