MURCIA

Or Murtea, or Murtia, a surname of Venus at Rome, where she had a chapel in the circus, with a statue. (Fest. p. 143, ed. Müller; Apul. Met. vi. 395; Tertull. De Speet. 8; Varro, De Ling. Lat. v. 154; August. De Cir Dei, iv. 16; Liv. i. 33; Serv. ad Aen. viii. 636.) This surname, which is said to be the same as Myrtea (from myrtus, a myrtle), was believed to indicate the fondness of the goddess for the myrtle tree, and in ancient times there is said to have been a myrtle grove in the front of her chapel at the foot of the Aventine. (Plin. H. N. xv. 36; Serv. ad Aen. i. 724; Plut. Quaest. Rom. 20.) Some of the ecclesiastical writers preferred the derivation from murcus, i. e. stupid or awkward. (August. De Civ. Dei, iv. 16; Arnob. adv. Gent. iv. 9.) Others again derived the name from the Syracusan word mukros, tender. (Salmas. ad Solin. p. 637.)