Ligia is the latin version of Lygia. For more see "Quo Vadis?"
Here the relevant part of Quo Vadis:
"With whom, then?"
"If I knew myself with whom? But I do not know to a certainty her
name even, -- Lygia or Calhina? They call her Lygia in the house,
for she comes of the Lygian nation; but she has her own barbarian
name, Callina. It is a wonderful house, -- that of those Plautiuses.
There are many people in it; but it is quiet there as in the groves of
Subiacum. For a number of days I did not know that a divinity
dwelt in the house. Once about daybreak I saw her bathing in the
garden fountain; and I swear to thee by that foam from which
Aphrodite rose, that the rays of the dawn passed right through her
body. I thought that when the sun rose she would vanish before me
in the light, as the twilight of morning does. Since then, I have
seen her twice; and since then, too, I know not what rest is, I know
not what other desires are, I have no wish to know what the city
can give me. I want neither women, nor gold, nor Corinthian
bronze, nor amber, nor pearls, nor wine, nor feasts; I want only
Lygia. I am yearning for her, in sincerity I tell thee, Petronius, as
that Dream who is imaged on the Mosaic of thy tepidarium
yearned for Paisythea, -- whole days and night do I yearn."
"If she is a slave, then purchase her."
"She is not a slave."
"What is she? A freed woman of Plautius?"
"Never having been a slave, she could not be a freed woman."
"Who is she?"
"I know not, -- a king's daughter, or something of that sort."
"Thou dost rouse my curiosity, Vinicius."
"But if thou wish to listen, I will satisfy thy curiosity straightway.
Her story is not a long one. Thou art acquainted, perhaps
personally, with Vannius, king of the Suevi, who, expelled from
his country, spent a long time here in Rome, and became even
famous for his skilful play with dice, and his good driving of
chariots. Drusus put him on the throne again. Vannius, who was
really a strong man, ruled well at first, and warred with success;
afterward, however, he began to skin not only his neighbors, but
his own Suevi, too much. Thereupon Vanglo and Sido, two sister's
sons of his, and the sons of Vibilius, king of the Hermunduri,
determined to force him to Rome again -- to try his luck there at
"I remember; that is of recent Glaudian times."
"Yes! War broke out. Vannius summoned to his aid the Yazygi; his
dear nephews called in the Lygians, who, hearing of the riches of
Vannius, and enticed by the hope of booty, came in such numbers
that Caesar himself, Claudius, began to fear for the safety of the
boundary. Claudius did not wish to interfere in a war among
barbarians, but he wrote to Atelius Hister, who commanded the
legions of the Danube, to turn a watchful eye on the course of the
war, and not permit them to disturb our peace. Hister required,
thcn, of the Lygians a promise not to cross the boundary; to this
they not only agreed, but gave hostages, among whom were the
wife and daughter of their leader. It is known to thee that
barbarians take their wives and children to war with them. My
Lygia is the daughter of that leader."
"Whence dost thou know all this?"
"Aulus Plautius told it himself. The Lygians did not cross the
boundary, indeed; but barbarians come and go like a tempest. So
did the Lygians vanish with their wild-ox horns on their heads.
They killed Vannius's Suevi and Yazygi; but their own king fell.
They disappeared with their booty then, and the hostages remained
in Hister's hands. The mother died soon after, and Hister, not
knowing what to do with the daughter, sent her to Pornponius, the
governor of all Germany. He, at the close of the war with the Catti,
returned to Rome, where Claudius, as is known to thee, permitted
him to have a triumph. The maiden on that occasion walked after
the car of the conqueror; but, at the end of the solemnity, -- since
hostages cannot be considered captives, and since Pomponius did
not know what to do with her definitely -- he gave her to his sister
Pomponia Grsrcina, the wife of Plautius. In that house where all --
beginning with the masters and ending with the poultry in the
hen-house -- are virtuous, that maiden grew up as virtuous, alas! as
Grxcina herself, and so beautiful that even Poppae, if near her,
would seem like an autumn fig near an apple of the Hesperides."
"And I repeat to thee that from the moment when I saw how the
sun-rays at that fountain passed through her body, I fell in love to
"She is as transparent as a lamprey eel, then, or a youthful
"Jest not, Petronius; but if the freedom with which I speak of my
desire misleads thee, know this, -- that bright garments frequently
cover deep wounds. I must tell thee, too, that, while returning from
Asia, I slept one night in the temple of Mopsus to have a prophetic
dream. Well, Mopsus appeared in a dream to me, and declared
that, through love, a great change in my life would take place."
"Pliny declares, as I hear, that he does not believe in the gods, but
he believes in dreams; and perhaps he is right. My jests do not
prevent me from thinking at times that in truth there is only one
deity, eternal, creative, all. powerful, Venus Genetrix. She brings
souls together; she unites bodies and things. Eros called the world
out of chaos. Whether he did well is another question; but, since
he did so, we should recognize his might, though we are free not to
"Alas! Petronius, it is easier to find philosophy in the world than
"Tell me, what is thy wish specially?"
"I wish to have Lygia. I wish that these arms of mine, which now
embrace only air, might embrace Lygia and press her to my bosom.
I wish to breathe with her breath. Were she a slave, I would give
Aulus for her one hundred maidens with feet whitened with lime
as a sign that they were exhibited on sale for the first time. I wish
to have her in my house till my head is as white as the top of
Soracte in winter."
"She is not a slave, but she belongs to the 'family' of Plautius; and
since she is a deserted maiden, she may be considered an 'alumna.'
Plautius might yield her to thee if he wished."
"Then it seems that thou knowest not Pomponia Graecina. Both
have become as much attached to her as if she were their own