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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:26 pm
Roman Goddess Info  
PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:33 pm
Bona Dea
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In Roman mythology, Bona Dea (literally "the good goddess" wink was the goddess of fertility, healing, virginity, and women. She was the daughter of the god Faunus and was often referred to as Fauna.

Bona Dea was the perpetually virginal goddess, associated with virginity and fertility in women. She was also associated with healing, with the sick being tended to in her temple garden with medicinal herbs. She was regarded with great reverence by lower-class citizens, slaves and women who went to her seeking aid in sickness or for fertility.

Bona Dea was invoked for healing and for freedom from slavery; many of her worshippers were freed slaves and plebeians, and many were women seeking aid in sickness or for fertility.

She was worshipped in a temple on the Aventine Hill, but her secret rites were performed in the home of a prominent Roman magistrate. The rites were held on December 4, and only included women. Even paintings or drawings of men or male animals were forbidden, along with the words "wine" and "myrtle" because she had once been beaten by Faunus with a myrtle stick after she got drunk. The rites were conducted annually by the wife of the senior magistrate present in Rome and were assisted by the Vestal Virgins. Very little is known about the ceremony, but the worship seems to have been agricultural in origin. The most famous event to do with this festival was its desecration by Publius Clodius in 62 BC by secretly attending the ceremony at the house of the pontifex maximus, Julius Caesar. During the ensuing trial, Clodius' alibi was destroyed by Cicero, which caused the animosity that would define their relationship from then on.

Bona Dea is usually depicted sitting on a throne, holding a cornucopia. The snake is her attribute, a symbol of healing, and consecrated snakes were kept in her temple at Rome, indicating her phallic nature. Her image frequently occurred on ancient Roman coins.  

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:39 pm
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In Roman mythology, Carmenta was the goddess of childbirth and prophecy, associated with technological innovation as well as the protection of mothers and children, and a patron of midwives. She was also said to have invented the Latin alphabet.

Her name is derived from carmen, meaning a magic spell, oracle or song, and is also the roots of the word charm. Her real name was Nicostrata, but was changed later by the Italians. She was the mother of Evander and along with other followers they founded the town of Pallantium, which later was one of the sites of the start of Rome.

Carmenta was one of the Camenae. The leader of her cult was called the flamen carmentalis.

It was forbidden to wear leather or other forms of dead skin in her temple, which was next to the Porta Carmentalis in Rome.

Her festival, called the Carmentalia, was celebrated primarily by women on January 11 and January 15.  
PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:46 pm
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In Roman mythology, Ceres is the goddess of growing plants (particularly cereals) and of motherly love. Ceres was worshipped in Ancient Roman religion, and is today still worshipped in Religio Romana Neopaganism. Ceres was usually equated with the Greek goddess Demeter.

Her name may derive from the hypothetical Proto-Indo-European root "ker", meaning "to grow", which is also the root for the words "create" and "increase".

Ceres was the daughter of Saturn and Ops, wife-sister of Jupiter, mother of Proserpina by Jupiter and sister of Juno, Vesta, Neptune and Pluto. Works of art depicted Ceres conventionally with a scepter, a basket of flowers and fruit, and a garland made of corn ears (note that "corn" in this instance refers to wheat, barley, or some other old world food grain, not to the new world food grain maize, which is called "corn" in the United States and some other areas of the Western hemisphere).

Ceres was also patron of Enna, Sicily. According to legend, she begged Jupiter that Sicily be placed in the heavens. The result, because the island is triangular in shape, was the constellation Triangulum, an early name of which was Sicilia.

Ceres made up a trinity with Liber and Libera, who were two other agricultural gods. She also had twelve minor gods who assisted her, and were in charge of specific aspects of farming: "Vervactor who turns fallow land, Reparator who prepares fallow land, Imporcitor who plows with wide furrows" (whose name comes from the Latin imporcare, to put into furrows), "Insitor who sowed, Obarator who plowed the surface, Occator who harrowed, Sarritor who weeded, Subruncinator who thinned out, Messor who harvested, Conuector who carted, Conditor who stored, and Promitor who distributed".

The Romans adopted Ceres in 496 BC during a devastating famine, when the Sibylline books advised the adoption of her Greek equivalent Demeter, along with Kore (Persephone) and Iacchus (possibly Dionysus). Ceres was personified and celebrated by women in secret rituals at the festival of Ambarvalia, held during May. There was a temple to Ceres on the Aventine Hill in Rome and her official priest was called a flamen. Her primary festival was the Cerealia or Ludi Ceriales ("games of Ceres" wink , instituted in the 3rd century BC and held annually on April 12 to April 19. The worship of Ceres became particularly associated with the plebeian classes, who dominated the grain trade. Little is known about the rituals of Cerelean worship; one of the few customs which has been recorded was the peculiar practice of tying lighted brands to the tails of foxes which were then let loose in the Circus Maximus. There was also an October festival dedicated to her when women fasted and offered her the first grain of the harvest.

The word cereals derives from Ceres, commemorating her association with edible grains. Statues of Ceres top the domes of the Missouri State Capitol and the Vermont State House serving as a reminder of the importance of agriculture in the states' economies and histories. There is also a statue of her on top of the Chicago Board of Trade Building, which conducts trading in agricultural commodities.

The dwarf planet Ceres (discovered 1801), is named after this goddess. And in turn, the chemical element cerium (discovered 1803) was named after the dwarf planet. A poem about Ceres and humanity features in Dmitri's confession to his brother Alexei in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, Part 1, Book 3, Chapter 3.  

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:04 pm

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Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya "Kubeleyan Mother", perhaps "Mountain Mother"; Greek: Κυβέλη Kybele, Κυβήβη Kybebe, Κύβελις Kybelis), was the Phrygian deification of the Earth Mother. As with Greek Gaia (the "Earth" wink , or her Minoan equivalent Rhea, Cybele embodies the fertile Earth, a goddess of caverns and mountains, walls and fortresses, nature, wild animals (especially lions and bees). Phrygian Cybele is often identified with the Hittite-Hurrian goddess Hebat, though this latter deity might have been the origin of only Anatolian Kubaba. The Greeks frequently conflated the two names, the Anatolian "Kubaba" and the Phrygian "Kybele", to refer to the Phrygian deity.

The goddess was known among the Greeks as Μήτηρ (Mētēr "Mother" wink or Μήτηρ Ὀρεία ("Mountain-Mother" wink , or, with a particular Anatolian sacred mountain in mind, Idaea, inasmuch as she was supposed to have been born on Mount Ida in Anatolia, or equally Dindymene or Sipylene, with her sacred mountains Mount Dindymon (in Mysia and variously located) or Mount Sipylus in mind. In Roman mythology, her equivalent was Magna Mater or "Great Mother".

Her Ancient Greek title, Potnia Theron, also associated with the Minoan Great Mother, alludes to her Neolithic roots as the "Mistress of the Animals". She becomes a life-death-rebirth deity in connection with her resurrection of her son and consort, Attis. She is associated with her lion throne and her chariot drawn by lions.

Walter Burkert, who treats Cybele among "foreign gods" in Greek Religion, notes that "The cult of the Great Mother, Meter, presents a complex picture insofar as indigenous, Minoan-Mycenean tradition is here intertwined with a cult taken over directly from the Phrygian kingdom of Asia Minor" The inscription matar occurs frequently in her Phrygian sites (Burkert). Kubileya is usually read as a Phrygian adjective "of the mountain", so that the inscription may be read Mother of the Mountain, and this is supported by Classical sources (Roller 1999, pp. 67–6 cool . Another theory is that her name can be traced to the Luwian Kubaba, the deified queen of the Third Dynasty of Kish worshiped at Carchemish and Hellenized to Kybebe (Munn 2004, Motz 1997, pp. 105-106). With or without the etymological connection, Kubaba and Matar certainly merged in at least some aspects, as the genital mutilation later connected with Cybele's cult is associated with Kybebe in earlier texts, but in general she seems to have been more a collection of similar tutelary goddesses associated with specific Anatolian mountains or other localities, and called simply "mother" (Motz).

Later, Cybele's most ecstatic followers were males who ritually castrated themselves, after which they were given women's clothing and assumed "female" identities, who were referred to by one third-century commentator, Callimachus, in the feminine as Gallai, but to whom other contemporary commentators in ancient Greece and Rome referred to as Gallos or Galli.

There is no mention of these followers in Classical references although they related that her priestesses led the people in orgiastic ceremonies with wild music, drumming, dancing, and drinking. She was associated with the mystery religion concerning her son, Attis, who was castrated, died of his wounds, and resurrected by his mother. The dactyls were part of her retinue.

Other followers of Cybele, the Phrygian kurbantes or Corybantes, expressed her ecstatic and orgiastic cult in music, especially drumming, clashing of shields and spears, dancing, singing, and shouting—all at night.

Her cult moved from Phrygia to Greece from the 6th to the 4th century BCE. In 203 BCE, Rome adopted her cult as well.

Anatolia and Greece
Greek mythographers recalled that Broteas, the son of Tantalus, was the first to carve the Great Mother's image into a rock-face. At the time of Pausanias (2nd century CE), a sculpture carved into the rock-face of a spur of Spil Mount was still held sacred by the Magnesians.

At Pessinos in Phrygia, an archaic image of Cybele had been venerated as well as the cult of Agdistis, in 203 BCE its aniconic cult object was removed to Rome.

Her cult had already been adopted in 5th century BCE Greece, where she is often referred to euphemistically as Meter Theon Idaia ("Mother of the Gods, from Mount Ida" wink rather than by name. Mentions of Cybele's worship are found in Pindar and Euripides, among other locations. Classical Greek writers, however, either did not know of or did not mention the castrated galli, although they did mention the castration of Attis.

Cybele's cult in Greece was closely associated with, and apparently resembled, the later cult of Dionysus, whom Cybele is said to have initiated and cured of Hera's madness. They also identified Cybele with the Mother of the Gods Rhea.

Anatolian Cybele
Various aspects of Cybele's Anatolian attributes probably predate the Bronze Age in origin.

A figurine found at Çatalhöyük, (Archaeological Museum, Ankara), dating about 6000 BCE, depicts a corpulent and fertile Mother Goddess in the process of giving birth while seated on her throne, which has two hand rests in the form of lion's heads. No direct connection with the later matar goddesses is documented, but the similarity to some of the later iconography is striking.

By the 2nd millennium BCE the Kubaba of Bronze Age Carchemish was known to the Hittites and Hurrians: "[O]n the basis of inscriptional and iconographical evidence it is possible to trace the diffusion of her cult in the early Iron Age; the cult reached the Phrygians in inner Anatolia, where it took on special significance" (Burkert, III.3.4, p. 177). If the theory on the Luwian origin of Cybele's name is correct, Kubaba must have merged with the various matar goddesses well before time the Phrygian matar kubileya inscription was made around the first half of the 6th century BCE (Vassileva 2001).

In Phrygia Rhea-Cybele was venerated as Agdistis, with a temple at the great trading city Pessinos, mentioned by the geographer Strabo. It was at Pessinos that her lover Attis (son of Nana) was about to wed the daughter of the king, when Agdistis-Cybele appeared in her awesome glory, and he castrated himself.

In Archaic Phrygian images of Cybele of the sixth century, already betraying the influence of Greek style (Burkert), her typical representation is in the figuration of a building’s façade, standing in the doorway. The façade itself can be related to the rock-cut monuments of the highlands of Phrygia. She is wearing a belted long dress, a polos (high cylindrical hat), and a veil covering the whole body. In Phrygia, her usual attributes are the bird of prey and a small vase. Sometimes lions are related to her in an aggressive, but tamed, manner. Often the lions are shown drawing her chariot, which may be related as the sun traversing the sky daily.

Later, under Hellenic influence along the coastal lands of Asia Minor, the sculptor Agoracritos, a pupil of Pheidias, produced a version of Cybele that became the standard one. It showed her still seated on a throne but now more decorous and matronly, her hand resting on the neck of a perfectly still lion and the other hand holding the circular frame drum, similar to a tambourine, (tymbalon or tympanon), which evokes the full moon in its shape and is covered with the hide of the sacred lunar bull.

Cybele and Attis
The goddess appears alone, 8th–6th centuries BCE. Later she is joined by her son and consort Attis, who incurred her jealousy. He, in an ecstasy, castrated himself, and subsequently died. Grieving, Cybele resurrected him. This tale is told by Catullus in carmen 63. The evergreen pine and ivy were sacred to Attis.

Some ecstatic followers of Cybele, known in Rome as galli, willingly castrated themselves in imitation of Attis. For Roman devotees of Cybele Mater Magna who were not prepared to go so far, the testicles of a bull, one of the Great Mother's sacred animals, were an acceptable substitute, as many inscriptions show. An inscription of 160 CE records that a certain Carpus had transported a bull's testes from Rome to Cybele's shrine at Lyon, France.

Aegean Cybele
The worship of Cybele spread from inland areas of Anatolia and Syria to the Aegean coast, to Crete and other Aegean islands, and to mainland Greece. She was particularly welcomed at Athens. The geographer Strabo (book x, 3:1 cool made some useful observations:

"Just as in all other respects the Athenians continue to be hospitable to things foreign, so also in their worship of the gods; for they welcomed so many of the foreign rites ... the Phrygian [rites of Rhea-Cybele are mentioned] by Demosthenes, when he casts the reproach upon Aeschines' mother and Aeschines himself, that he was with her when she conducted initiations, that he joined her in leading the Dionysiac march, and that many a time he cried out evoe saboe, and hyes attes, attes hyes; for these words are in the ritual of Sabazios and the Mother [Rhea]."

Marble statuette of Cybele wearing the polos on her head, from Nicaea in Bithynia, - (Istanbul Archaeology Museum)In Ancient Egypt at Alexandria, Cybele was worshiped by the Greek population as "The Mother of the Gods, the Savior who Hears our Prayers" and as "The Mother of the Gods, the Accessible One". Ephesus, one of the major trading centers of the area, was devoted to Cybele as early the 10th century BCE, and the city's ecstatic celebration, the Ephesia, honored her.

The goddess was not welcome among the Scythians north of Thrace. From Herodotus (4.76-7) we learn that the Scythian Anacharsis (6th century BCE), after traveling among the Greeks and acquiring vast knowledge, was put to death by his fellow Scythians for attempting to introduce the foreign cult of Magna Mater.

Atalanta and Hippomenes were turned into lions by Cybele or Zeus as punishment for having sex in one of her or his temples because the Greeks believed that lions could not mate with other lions. Another account says that Aphrodite turned them into lions for forgetting to do her tribute. As lions they then drew Cybele's chariot, which sometimes numbered to seven.

Roman Cybele
According to Livy in 210 BCE, an archaic version of Cybele, from Pessinos in Phrygia, as mentioned above, that embodied the Great Mother was ceremoniously and reverently moved to Rome, marking the official beginning of her cult there. Rome was embroiled in the Second Punic War at the time (218 to 201 BCE). An inspection had been made of the Sibylline Books and some oracular verses had been discovered that announced that if a foreign foe should carry war into Italy, that foe could be driven out and conquered if the Mater Magna were brought from Pessinos to Rome. The Romans also consulted the Greek oracle at Delphi, which also recommended bringing the Magna Mater "from her sanctuary in Asia Minor to Rome." Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica was ordered to go to the port of Ostia, accompanied by all the matrons, to meet the goddess. He was to receive her image as she left the vessel, and when brought to land he was to place her in the hands of the matrons who were to bear her to her destination, the Temple of Victory on the Palatine Hill. The day on which this event took place, 12 April, was observed afterwards as a festival, the Megalesian.

Plutarch relates that in 103 BCE, Battakes, a high priest of Cybele, journeyed to Rome to announce a prediction of Gaius Marius's victory over the Cimbri and Teutoni. A. Pompeius, plebeian tribune, together with a band of ruffians, chased Battakes off of the Rostra. Pompeius supposedly died of a fever a few days later.

Under the emperor Augustus, Cybele enjoyed great prominence thanks to her inclusion in Augustan ideology. Augustus restored Cybele's temple, which was located next to his own palace on the Palatine Hill. On the cuirass of the Prima Porta of Augustus, the tympanon of Cybele lies at the feet of the goddess Tellus. Livia, the wife of Augustus, ordered cameo-cutters to portray Cybele with her likeness. The Malibu statue of Cybele bears the visage of Livia. The cult seems to have been fully accepted under Claudius as the festival of Magna Mater and Attis are included within the stes religious calendar. At the same time the chief priest of the cult (the archigallus) was permitted to be a Roman citizen, so long as he was not a eunuch.

Under the Roman Empire the most important festival of Cybele was the Hilaria, taking place between March 15 and March 28. It symbolicaly commemorated the death of Attis and his resurrection by Cybele, involving days of mourning followed by rejoicing. Celebrations also took place on 4 April with the Megalensia festival, the anniversary of the arrival of the goddess (i.e the Black Stone) in Rome. On the 10th April, the anniversary of the consecration of her temple on the Palatine, a procession of her image was carried to the Circus Maximus where races were held. These two dates seem to be incorporated within the same festival, though the evidence for what took place in between is lacking.

The most famous rite of Magna Mater introduced by the Romans was the taurobolium, the initiation ceremony in which a candidate took their place in a pit beneath a wooden floor. A bull was sacrificed on the wooden floor so that the blood would run through gaps in the slats and drench the initiate in a symbolic shower of blood. This act was thought to cleanse an initiate of sin as well as signify a 'rebirth' and re-energisation. A cheaper version, known as a criobolium, involved the sacrifice of a ram. The first recorded taurobolium took place at Puteoli in AD 134 in honour of Venus Caelestia.

In Roman mythology, Cybele was given the name Magna Mater deorum Idaea ("great Idaean mother of the gods" wink , in recognition of her Phrygian origins (although this title was given to Rhea also).

Roman devotion to Cybele ran deeply. Not coincidentally, when a Christian basilica was built over the site of a temple to Cybele[citation needed] to occupy the site, the sanctuary was rededicated to the Mother of God, as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. However, later, Roman citizens were forbidden to become priests of Cybele, who were eunuchs like those of their Asiatic Goddess.

The worship of Cybele was exported to the empire, even as far away as Mauretania, where, just outside Setif, the ceremonial "tree-bearers" and the faithful (religiosi) restored the temple of Cybele and Attis after a disastrous fire in 288 CE. Lavish new fittings paid for by the private group included the silver statue of Cybele and the chariot that carried her in procession received a new canopy with tassels in the form of fir cones. (Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, p 581.) The popularity of the Cybele cult in the city of Rome and throughout the empire is thought to have inspired the author of Book of Revelation to allude to her in his portrayal of the mother of harlots who rides the Beast. Cybele drew ire from Christians throughout the Empire; famously, St. Theodore of Amasea is said to have spent the time granted to him to recant his beliefs, burning a temple of Cybele instead.

Today, a modern monumental statue of Cybele can be found in one of the principal traffic circles of Madrid, the Plaza de Cibeles.

In Roman poetry
In Rome, her Phrygian origins were recalled by Catullus, whose famous poem ( number 63 ) on the theme of Attis includes a vivid description of Cybele's worship: "Together come and follow to the Phrygian home of Cybele, to the Phrygian forests of the goddess, where the clash of cymbals ring, where tambourines resound, where the Phrygian flute-player blows deeply on his curved reed, where ivy-crowned maenads toss their heads wildly."

In the second book of his De rerum natura, Lucretius appropriately uses the image of Cybele, the Great Mother, as a metaphor for the Earth. His description of the followers of the goddess is thought to be based on autopsy of the celebration of her cult in Rome.

Cybele in the Aeneid
In his Aeneid, which was written in the first century BCE (between 29 and 19 BCE), Virgil called her Berecyntian Cybele, alluding to her place of origin. He described her as the mother of the gods.

In his late version of the legendary story, the Trojans are in Italy and have kept themselves safe in a walled city, following Aeneas's orders. The leader of the Rutuli, Turnus, then ordered his men to burn the ships of the Trojans. At this point in the new legend, there is a flashback to Mount Olympus years before the Trojan War: After Cybele had given her sacred trees to the Trojans so that they could build their ships, she went to Zeus and begged him to make the ships indestructible. Zeus granted her request by saying that when the ships had finally fulfilled their purpose (bringing Aeneas and his army to Italy) they would be turned into sea nymphs rather than be destroyed; so, as Turnus approached with fire, the ships came to life, dove beneath the sea, and emerged as nymphs.

Of course, Cybele was a powerful goddess who had existed long before the "birth" of Zeus, and she would have been worshipped in that area from antiquity, so this new legend may contain elements of much older myths that have been lost — such as the trees that turned into sea nymphs.  
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:28 pm
That was some very thorough information. Thanks for sharing it with us. 4laugh  


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:15 pm

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In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and also of the moon. In literature she was the equivalent of the Greek goddess Artemis, though in cult beliefs she was Italic, not Greek, in origin. Diana was worshipped in ancient Roman religion and is currently revered in the religions of Religio Romana Neopaganism and Stregheria.

Along with her main attributes, Diana was an emblem of chastity. Oak groves were especially sacred to her. According to mythology, Diana was born with her twin brother Apollo on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. Diana made up a trinity with two other Roman deities: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.

Diana huntress, by Houdon. LouvreDiana was initially just the hunting goddess, associated with wild animals and woodlands. She also later became a moon goddess, supplanting Luna.

Diana was worshipped at a festival on August 13, when King Servius Tullius, himself born a slave, dedicated her shrine on the Aventine Hill in the mid-sixth century BC. Being placed on the Aventine, and thus outside the pomerium, meant that Diana's cult essentially remained a 'foreign' one, like that of Bacchus; she was never officially 'transferred' to Rome as Juno was after the sack of Veii. It seems that her cult originated in Aricia, where her priest, the Rex Nemorensis remained. There the simple open-air fane was held in common by the Latin tribes, which Rome aspired to weld into a league and direct. Diana of the wood was soon thoroughly Hellenized, "a process which culminated with the appearance of Diana beside Apollo in the first lectisternium at Rome". Diana was regarded with great reverence by lower-class citizens and slaves; slaves could receive asylum in her temples.

Though some Roman patrons ordered marble replicas of the specifically Anatolian "Diana" of Ephesus, where the Temple of Artemis stood, Diana was usually depicted for educated Romans in her Greek guise. If she is accompanied by a deer, as in the Diana of Versailles (illustration, above right) this is because Diana was the patroness of hunting. The deer may also offer a covert reference to the myth of Acteon (or Actaeon), who saw her bathing naked. Diana transformed Acteon into a stag and set his own hunting dogs to kill him.

Worship of Diana is mentioned in the Bible. In Acts of the Apostles, Ephesian metalsmiths who felt threatened by Saint Paul’s preaching of Christianity, jealously rioted in her defense, shouting “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:28, New English Bible).

In religion
Diana's cult has been related in Early Modern Europe to the cult of Nicevenn (aka Dame Habond, Perchta, Herodiana, etc.). She was related to myths of a female Wild Hunt, close to the Benandantis' struggles against evil witches.

Diana remains an important figure in some modern mythologies. Those who believe that prehistoric peoples lived in matriarchal societies consider Diana to have originated in a mother goddess worshiped at that time.

Today there is a branch of Wicca named for her, which is characterized by an exclusive focus on the feminine aspect of the Divine.

In Italy the old religion of Stregheria embraced goddess Diana as Queen of the Witches; witches being the wise women healers of the time. Goddess Diana created the world of her own being having in herself the seeds of all creation yet to come. It is said that out of herself she divided into the darkness and the light, keeping for herself the darkness of creation and creating her brother Apollo, the light. Goddess Diana loved and ruled with her brother Apollo, the god of the Sun.

Since the Renaissance the mythic Diana has often been expressed in the visual and dramatic arts, including the opera L'arbore di Diana. In the sixteenth century, Diana's image figured prominently at the Château de Fontainebleau, in deference to Diane de Poitiers, mistress of two French kings. At Versailles she was incorporated into the Olympian iconography with which Louis XIV, the Apollo-like "Sun King" liked to surround himself.

There are also references to her in common literature. In Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, many references are made to Diana. Rosaline, a beautiful woman who has sworn to chastity, is said to have "Dian's wit". Later on in the play, Romeo says, "It is the East, and Juliet is the sun. Arise fair sun, and kill the envious moon." He is saying that Juliet is better than Diana and Rosaline for not swearing chastity. Diana is also a character in the 1876 Leo Delibe ballet 'Sylvia'. The plot deals with Sylvia, one of Diana's nymphs and sworn to chastity and Diana's assault on Sylvia's affections for the shepherd Amyntas.

In Jean Cocteau's 1946 film La Belle et la Bête it is Diana's power which has transformed and imprisoned the beast.

In literature
In comic book lore, the character of Wonder Woman who hails from Paradise Island which is rich in Greek mythology is written to be a descendant of the Gods, and named after the moon goddess, Diana.

Diana, like many aspects of mythology, is depicted in the comic books Asterix. In the Roman temples, many times a statue of Diana can be seen in the background, depicted as a well rounded lady, usually sitting on a stag, who appears to be suffering.

In language
Pomona (left, symbolizing agriculture), and Diana (symbolizing commerce) as building decorationBoth the Romanian word for "fairy", zânǎ and the Leonese word for "water nymph", xana, seem to come from the name of Diana.

In the funeral oration of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, her brother drew an ironic analogy between the ancient goddess of hunting and his sister - 'the most hunted person of the modern age'.  
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:18 pm

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Flora is the Roman Goddess of flowering plants, especially those that bear fruit. Spring, of course, is Her season, and She has elements of a Love-Goddess, with its attendant attributes of fertility, sex, and blossoming. She is quite ancient; the Sabines are said to have named a month for Her (which corresponds to our and the Roman April), and She was known among the Samnites as well as the Oscans, where She was called Flusia. She was originally the Goddess specifically of the flowering crops, such as the grain or fruit-trees, and Her function was to make the grain, vegetables and trees bloom so that autumn's harvest would be good. She was invoked to avert rust, a nasty fungal disease of plants that causes orange growths the exact color of rusting iron, and which was (is) an especial problem affecting wheat. Hers is the beginning of the process that finds its completion with Pomona, the Goddess of Fruit and the Harvest; and like Pomona, Flora had Her own flamen, one of a small number of priests each in service to a specific Deity. The flamens were said to have been instituted by Numa, the legendary second King of Rome who succeeded Romulus; and whether Numa really existed or not, the flamens were undoubtedly of ancient origin, as were the Deities they served.

In later times Flora became the Goddess of all flowering plants, including the ornamental varieties. Her name is related to Latin floris, meaning naturally enough "a flower", with the additional meaning of "[something] in its prime"; other related words have meanings like "prospering", "flourishing", "abounding", and "fresh or blooming". In one story, Flora was said to have provided Juno with a magic flower that would allow Her to conceive with no help from a man; from this virgin-birth Mars was born. A late tale calls Flora a courtesan and gives Her a story similar to Acca Larentia: Flora was said to have made a fortune as a courtesan, which She bequeathed to Rome upon Her death, and for which She was honored with the festival of the Floralia. As Flora was originally a Sabine Goddess, and as the Sabines were a neighboring tribe whom the Romans conquered and assimilated into Rome, perhaps this is an acknowledgement of the land so acquired, put into legendary terms.

Flora had two temples in Rome, one near the Circus Maximus, the great "stadium" of Rome where chariot races were held, and another on the slopes of the Quirinal Hill. The temple on the Quirinal was most likely built on the site of an earlier altar to Her said to have been dedicated by Titus Tatius, King of the Sabines, who ruled alongside Romulus for a time in the very early (hence legendary) days of Rome. Her other temple was built quite near to the Circus Maximus, though its exact site has not been found, and was associated with a neighboring temple dedicated to the triad of Ceres (the Grain Goddess) and Liber and Libera (God and Goddess of the Vine). These Deities and Flora were all concerned with the fertility and health of the crops. Flora's temple by the Circus was dedicated on the 28th of April in 241 (or 24 cool BCE in response to a great drought at the command of the Sybilline books, and this day became the starting date of Her great festival, the Floralia. In Imperial times (1st century CE) this temple was rededicated (I assume after some restorations were made) on the 13th of August, and this date was given to a second festival of Flora, coinciding with the ripening of the grain, whose flowers She had set forth.

The Floralia of April was originally a moveable feast to coincide with the blossoming of the plants, later becoming fixed with the dedication of Her temple on the 28th (or 27th, before the calendar was reformed--I mention this because holidays were almost always held on odd-numbered days as it was considered unlucky to start a festival on an even-numbered day), though ludi or "games"--horse-races or athletic contests--were not held every year. By the Empire the festival had grown (or should I say, blossomed) to seven days, and included chariot-races and theatrical performances, some of which were notoriously bawdy. It was given over to merriment and celebrations of an amorous nature, much like that northern flower-and-sex festival Beltaine whose date neatly coincides. Prostitutes considered it their own special time, and the Floralia gained a reputation as being more licentious and abandoned than the Saturnalia of December, whose name is legendary even now.

At the chariot-races and circus games of the Floralia it was traditional to let goats and hares loose, and lupines, bean-flowers and vetch (all of which have similarly-shaped blossoms and are a sort of showier version of wheat in bloom) were scattered, symbolic of fertility. Brightly colored clothes were a must, as were wreaths of flowers, especially roses; and the celebrations drew great crowds. Of the two nationalized chariot-teams who shared a deep rivalry, the Greens and the Blues, the Greens (of course) were Hers, and She had been invoked at chariot-races from ancient times. The last day of the festival, May 3rd, was called Florae; it may be a special name for the closing day of the Floralia, or it may refer to a seperate ceremony conducted in Her temple on the Quirinal.

Flora was depicted by the Romans wearing light spring clothing, holding small bouquets of flowers, sometimes crowned with blossoms. Honey, made from flowers, is one of Her gifts, and Her name is said to be one of the secret (holy) names of Rome. She is sometimes called the handmaiden of Ceres. Ovid identifies Her with the Greek flower-nymph Chloris, whose name means "yellow or pale green", the color of Spring. The word flora is still used as a general name for the plants of a region.

Alternate names/epithets: Flora Rustica, "Flora the Countrywoman" or "Flora of the Countryside", and Flora Mater, or "Flora the Mother", in respect to Her ancient origins. Among the Oscans She was known as Flusia.

In Roman mythology, Flora was a goddess of flowers and the season of spring. While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime. Her festival, the Floralia, was held in April or early May and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life, marked with dancing, drinking, and flowers. Her Greek equivalent was Chloris. Flora was married to Favonius, the wind god, and her companion was Hercules. Due to her association with plants, her name in modern English also means plant life.

Flora achieved more prominence in the neo-pagan revival of Antiquity among Renaissance humanists than she had ever enjoyed in ancient Rome.

One of the fairies in the Sleeping Beauty (1959 film) is named Flora after this goddess.  

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:30 pm

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In Roman mythology, Fortuna (equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) goddess of fortune, was the personification of luck; hopefully she brought good luck, but she could be represented veiled and blind, as modern depictions of Justice are seen, and came to represent the capriciousness of life. Atrox Fortuna claimed the lives of Augustus' two hopeful grandsons, educated to take up princely roles, for she was also a goddess of fate. Her father was Jupiter, and though she had no lovers or children of her own, Fortuna was propitiated by mothers.

Fortuna had a retinue that included Copia, "bounty", among her blessings. Under the name Annonaria she protected grain supplies. In the Roman calendar, June 11 was sacred to Fortuna, with a greater festival to Fors Fortuna on the 24th.

Roman writers disagreed whether her cult was introduced to Rome by Servius Tullius. or Ancus Marcius. Fortuna had a temple in the Forum Boarium and a public sanctuary on the Quirinalis, as the tutelary genius of Roma herself, Fortuna Populi Romani, the "Fortune of the Roman people", for Fortuna, the embodiment of the chaotic chance event as modern historians would see it, was closely tied by the Romans to virtus, strength of character; flaws in the main public actors brought on the calamities of ill fortune, as Roman historians like Sallust saw her role: "Truly, when in the place of work, idleness, in place of the spirit of measure and equity, caprice and pride invade, fortune is changed just as with morality".

Fortuna and PontosAt an oracle in Praeneste connected with the Temple of Fortuna Muliebris the future was chosen by a small boy choosing oak rods with possible futures written on them.

All over the Roman world, Fortuna was worshipped at a great number of shrines under various titles that were applied to her according to the various circumstances of life in which her influence was hoped to have a positive effect. Fortuna was not always positive: she was doubtful (Fortuna Dubia); she could be "fickle fortune" (Fortuna Brevis), or downright evil luck (Fortuna Mala).

Her name seems to derive from Vortumna, "she who revolves the year", however the earliest reference to the Wheel of Fortune, emblematic of the endless changes in life between prosperity and disaster, occurs in Cicero, In Pisonem, ca. 55 BCE.

In Seneca's tragedy Agamemnon, a chorus addresses Fortuna in terms that would remain almost proverbial, and in a high heroic ranting mode that Renaissance writers would emulate:

"O Fortune, who dost bestow the throne’s high boon with mocking hand, in dangerous and doubtful state thou settest the too exalted. Never have sceptres obtained calm peace or certain tenure; care on care weighs them down, and ever do fresh storms vex their souls. ...great kingdoms sink of their own weight, and Fortune gives way ‘neath the burden of herself. Sails swollen with favouring breezes fear blasts too strongly theirs; the tower which rears its head to the very clouds is beaten by rainy Auster.... Whatever Fortune has raised on high, she lifts but to bring low. Modest estate has longer life; then happy he whoe’er, content with the common lot, with safe breeze hugs the shore, and, fearing to trust his skiff to the wider sea, with unambitious oar keeps close to land."

Middle Ages
Fortuna did not disappear from the popular imagination with the ascendancy of Christianity by any means (illustration, left). In the 6th century, the Consolation of Philosophy, by statesman and philosopher Boethius, written while he faced execution, reflected the Christian theology of casus, that the apparently random and often ruinous turns of Fortune's Wheel are in fact both inevitable and providential, that even the most coincidental events are part of God's hidden plan which one should not resist or try to change. Events, individual decisions, the influence of the stars were all merely vehicles of Divine Will. Fortune crept back in to popular acceptance. In succeeding generations Boethius' Consolation was required reading for scholars and students.

Albrecht Dürer's engraving of Fortuna, ca 1502The ubiquitous image of the Wheel of Fortune found throughout the Middle Ages and beyond was a direct legacy of the second book of Boethius's Consolation. The Wheel appears in many renditions from tiny miniatures in manuscripts to huge stained glass windows in cathedrals, such as at Amiens. Lady Fortune is usually represented as larger than life to underscore her importance. The wheel characteristically has four shelves, or stages of life, with four human figures, usually labeled on the left regnabo (I shall reign), on the top regno (I reign) and is usually crowned, descending on the right regnavi (I have reigned) and the lowly figure on the bottom is marked sum sine regno (I have no kingdom). Medieval representations of Fortune emphasize her duality and instability, such as two faces side by side like Janus; one face smiling the other frowning; half the face white the other black; she may be blindfolded but without scales, blind to justice. Occasionally her vivid clothing and bold demeanor suggest the prostitute. She was associated with the cornucopia, ship's rudder, the ball and the wheel. The cornucopia is where plenty flows from, the Helmsman's rudder steers fate, the globe symbolizes chance (who gets good or bad luck), and the wheel symbolizes that luck, good or bad, never lasts.

Fortune would have many influences in cultural works throughout the Middle Ages. In Le Roman de la Rose, Fortune frustrates the hopes of a lover who has been helped by a personified character "Reason". In Dante's Inferno, in the seventh canto, Virgil explains the nature of Fortune. Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium ("The Fortunes of Famous Men" wink , used by John Lydgate to compose his Fall of Princes, tells of many where the turn of Fortune's wheel brought those most high to disaster. Fortune makes her appearance in Carmina Burana (see image). Lady Fortune appears in chapter 25 of Machiavelli's The Prince, in which he says Fortune only rules one half of men's fate, the other half being of their own will. Machiavelli reminds the reader that Fortune is a woman, that she favours a strong, or even violent hand, and that she favours the more aggressive and bold young man than a timid elder. Even Shakespeare was no stranger to Lady Fortune:

When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state ... — Sonnet 29

Pars Fortuna in Astrology
llustration by Al-Biruni (973-104 cool of different phases of the moon, from the Persian Kitab al-tafhimIn Astrology the term ‘Pars Fortuna’ represents a mathematical point in the zodiac derived by the longitudinal positions of the Sun, Moon and Ascendant (Rising sign) in the birth chart of an individual. It represents an especially beneficial point in the horoscopic chart. In Arabic Astrology, this point is called Arabian Parts.

The procedure followed for fixing one’s Pars Fortuna in ancient and traditional astrology depended on the time of birth, viz., during daylight or night time (whether the Sun was above or below the horizon). In modern western astrology the day time formula only was used for many years, but with more knowledge of ancient astrology,the two calculation method is now often in use.

The formula for calculating the day time Part of Fortune (PF) is (using the 360 degree positions for each point):

PF = Ascendant + Moon - Sun

The formula for the night-time Part of Fortune is PF = Ascendant + Sun - Moon

Each calculation method results in a different zodiac position for the Part of Fortune.

Al Biruni (973 – 104 cool , an 11th-century mathematician, astronomer and scholar, who was the greatest proponent of this system of prediction, listed a total of 97 Arabic Parts, which were widely used for astrological consultations. Paul Vachier has prepared an Arabic Parts Calculator for all the Arabic Parts.

Aspects of Fortuna
Lady Fortune in a Boccaccio manuscriptFortuna Annonaria brought the luck of the harvest.
Fortuna Belli the fortune of war.
Fortuna Primigenia directed the fortune of a firstborn child at the moment of birth.
Fortuna Virilis attended a man's career.
Fortuna Redux brought one safely home.
Fortuna Respiciens the fortune of the provider.
Fortuna Muliebris the luck of a woman. Typical of Roman attitudes, the fortune of a woman in marriage, however, was Fortuna Virilis.
Fortuna Victrix brought victory in battle.
Fortuna Augusta the fortune of the emperor.
Fortuna Balnearis the fortune of the baths.
Fortuna Conservatrix the fortune of the Preserver.
Fortuna Equestris fortune of the Knights.
Fortuna Huiusque fortune of the present day.
Fortuna Obsequens fortune of indulgence.
Fortuna Privata fortune of the private individual.
Fortuna Publica fortune of the people.
Fortuna Romana fortune of Rome.
Fortuna Virgo fortune of the virgin.
Pars Fortuna  
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:42 pm

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Juno was an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Juventas, Mars, and Vulcan. Her Greek equivalent is Hera.

As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman empire she was called Regina ("queen" wink and, together with Jupiter and Minerva, was worshipped as a triad on the Capitol (Juno Capitolina) in Rome.

As the Juno moneta (which either means "the one who warns" or "the one unique" or "union unique" wink she guarded over the finances of the empire and had a temple on the Arx (one of two Capitoline hills), close to the Royal Mint. She was also worshipped in many other cities, where temples were built in her honor.

Every year, on the first of March, women held a festival in honor of Juno called the Matronalia. On this day, lambs and other cattle were sacrificed in her honor. Another festival called the Nonae Caprotinae ("The Nones of the Wild Fig" wink was held on July 7. Many people consider the month of June, which is named after the goddess who is the patroness of marriage, to be the most favorable time to marry. Lucina was an epithet for Juno as "she who brings children into light."

Juno's own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She often appeared armed and wearing a goatskin cloak, which was the garment favoured by Roman soldiers on campaign. This warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, whose goatskin was called the 'aegis'.

Etymology and origin
Sitting Juno, Roman silverware of imperial era, Petit Palais (ADUT0016 cool .There is a possible etymology for Juno in the Proto-Indo-European root *yeu-, "vital force", which has such derivatives as the English youth. Although such a derivation could possibly be consistent with an origin as a mother goddess, it is more likely that the root *yeu- is used in the same sense as other Latin words derived from it, such as iuvenis ("young man", with derivatives such as juvenile and rejuvenate), which would imply that Juno's nature prior to the syncretism of Greek and Roman mythology was more akin to Diana's, as a maiden goddess of birth or midwifery. However, the Roman absorption of Greek myth replaced earlier characteristics of Juno with those of Hera, extending her domain from birth to marriage and promoting her to the role of Jupiter's wife and the queen of the gods. She could also throw lightning bolts like Jupiter.

More immediately, Juno's Etruscan equivalent was Uni. There is currently more support for the theory that Juno is derived from Uni, and thus cannot have an Indo-European link to *yeu-. It is likely that one of these goddesses inspired the other, but whether Juno comes from Uni, or vice versa, remains disputed. "Uni" possibly meant "alone, unique, unit, union", but more examples of the Etruscan language proper will need to be found to see what Etruscans meant by uni.

The theory that Juno is derived from Ubi is also supported by an ancient writer, Livy who states (Book V, Ab Urbe Condita ) that Juno was an Etruscan goddess from Veii, who was ceremonially adopted into the Roman pantheon when Veii was sacked in 396BC.

Every year, women held a festival in honor of Juno called the Matronalia. Another festival in her honor, the Nonae Caprotinae ("The Nones of the Wild Fig" wink was held on July 7. Many considered the month of June, which is named after Juno, the patroness of marriage, to be the most favorable time to marry. The Kalends of every month was also sacred to Juno, and she had festivals on July 1 and September 13.

Juno's own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She often appeared armed and wearing a goatskin cloak, which was the garment favored by Roman soldiers on campaign. This warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, whose goatskin was called the aigis.

Even more than other major Roman deities, Juno held a large number of significant and diverse epithets, names and titles representing various aspects and roles of the goddess. In accordance with her central role as a goddess of marriage, these included Interduca ("she who leads the bride into marriage" wink , Domiduca ("she who leads the bride to her new home" wink , Cinxia ("she who looses the bride's girdle" wink . However, many other epithets of Juno are less thematically linked.

IVNO REGINA ("Queen Juno" wink on a coin celebrating Julia Soaemias.Juno was very frequently called Juno Regina ("Juno the Queen" wink . This aspect was the one named in the Temple of Jupiter as part of the Capitoline Triad, emphasizing that Juno's role as the wife of Jupiter and queen of the gods was the most important in that context. There were also temples of Juno Regina on the Aventine Hill, in the Circus Flaminius and in the area that became the Porticus Octaviae. On September 1, the festival of Juno took place.

Juno protected the finances of the Roman Empire as Juno Moneta ("Juno who Warns" or "Juno the alone" wink .

Lucina was an epithet for Juno as "she who brings children into the light", and Lucetia as "bringer of light" in general. She was also referenced as Pomona ("goddess of fruit" wink , Pronuba ("matron of honor" wink and Ossipagina ("bone setter" or "bone strengthener" wink . Some of these titles may have been invented as poetic descriptions, however, and may not have been actually used in the cult worship of Juno.

In Virgil's Aeneid, book I, verse 23, she is referred to as Saturnia, daughter of Saturnus.

Statue at Samos
In The Netherlands, in Maastricht, which was founded as Trajectum ad Mosam about 2000 years ago, the remains of the foundations of a substantial temple for Juno and Jupiter are to be found in the cellars of Hotel Derlon. Over part of the Roman remains the first Christian church of the Netherlands was built in the 4th century AD.

The story behind these remains begins with Juno and Jupiter being born as twins of Saturn and Opis. Juno was sent to Samos Island when yet a very young child. She was carefully raised there until puberty, when she then married her brother. A statue was made representing Juno, the bride, as a young girl on her wedding day. It was carved out of Parian marble and placed in front of her temple at Samos for many centuries. Ultimately this statue of Juno was brought to Rome and placed in the sanctuary of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill. For a long time the Romans honored her with many ceremonies under the name Queen Juno. The remains were moved then sometime between the first century and the four century to the Netherlands.

In literature
Perhaps Juno's most prominent appearance in Roman literature is as the primary antagonistic force in Virgil's Aeneid, where she is depicted as a cruel and savage goddess intent upon supporting first Dido and then Turnus and the Rutulians against Aeneas' attempt to found a new Troy in Italy. There has been some speculation—such as by Maurus Servius Honoratus, an ancient commentator on the Aeneid—that she is perhaps a conflation of Hera with the Carthaginian storm-goddess Tanit in some aspects of her portrayal here.
Juno is also mentioned in The Tempest in Act IV, Scene I. In this, she relates to Prospero as they are both leaders in their realm and have spirit like messengers who are very loyal (Juno has Iris, Prospero has Ariel).  

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:52 pm

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Minerva was the Roman name of Greek goddess Athena. She was considered to be the virgin goddess of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, and the inventor of music.

This article focuses on Minerva in early Rome and in cultic practice. For information on literary mythological accounts of Minerva, which were heavily influenced by Greek mythology, see Pallas Athena where she is one of three virgin goddesses along with Artemis and Hestia.

Etruscan Menrva
The name "Minerva" is likely imported from the Etruscans who called her Menrva. In Etruscan mythology, Menrva was the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena and to Roman Minerva. Like Athena, Menrva was born from the head of her father, Tinia.

Her name has the "mn-" stem, linked with memory. See Greek "Mnemosyne" (gr. μνημοσύνη) and "mnestis" (gr. μνῆστις): memory, remembrance, recollection. The Romans could have confused her foreign name with their word mens meaning "mind" since one of her aspects as goddess pertained not only to war but also to the intellectual. Minerva is the Roman name for Athena the goddess of Wisdom and Virginity. She is also depicted as an owl.

Cult of Minerva in Rome
Menrva was part of a holy triad with Tinia and Uni, equivalent to the Roman Jupiter-Juno-Minerva triad. Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter

As Minerva Medica, she was the goddess of medicine and doctors. As Minerva Achaea, she was worshipped at Luceria in Apulia where votive gifts and arms said to be those of Diomedes were preserved in her temple.

Ovid called her the "goddess of a thousand works." Minerva was worshipped throughout Italy, though only in Rome did she take on a warlike character. Her worship was also taken out to the empire — in Britain, for example, she was conflated with the wisdom goddess Sulis.

The Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to March 23 during the day which is called, in the feminine plural, Quinquatria, the fifth after the Ides of March, the nineteenth, the artisans' holiday. A lesser version, the Minusculae Quinquatria, was held on the Ides of June, June 13, by the flute-players, who were particularly useful to religion. In 207 BC, a guild of poets and actors was formed to meet and make votive offerings at the temple of Minerva on the Aventine hill. Among others, its members included Livius Andronicus. The Aventine sanctuary of Minerva continued to be an important center of the arts for much of the middle Roman Republic.

Minerva was worshipped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno, at the Temple of Minerva Medica, and at the "Delubrum Minervae" a temple founded around 50 BC by Pompey on the site of the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (near the present-day Piazza della Minerva and the Pantheon).

Public monuments and places
A small Roman shrine to Minerva (the only one still in situ in the UK) stands in Handbridge, Chester. It sits in a public park, overlooking the River Dee.
Minerva circle is one of the famous and busiest circles in Bangalore.
The Minerva Roundabout in Guadalajara, Mexico, located at the crossing of the López Mateos, Vallarta, López Cotilla, Agustín Yáñez and Golfo de Cortez avenues, features the goddess standing on a pedestal, surrounded by a large fountain, with an inscription which says "Justice, wisdom and strength guard this loyal city".
Minerva is displayed as a statue in the Minneapolis Central Library in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Minerva is displayed as a statue in Pavia near the train station, and is considered as an important landmark in the city.
A statue of Minerva stands atop the dome of the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, Scotland.
A seven foot statue of Minerva stands at the highest point in Brooklyn, overlooking New York Harbor, located in Green-Wood Cemetery.
A bronze statue of Minerva lies in monument square Portland, Maine. "Our Lady of Victories Monument" dedicated 1891, Richard Morris Hunt and Franklin Simmons.  
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:01 pm

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Ops, more properly Opis, (Latin: "Plenty" wink was a fertility deity and earth-goddess in Roman mythology of Sabine origin.

Her husband was Saturn, the bountiful monarch of the Golden Age. Just as Saturn was identified with the Greek deity Cronus, Ops was identified with Rhea, Cronus' wife. In her statues and coins, Ops is figured sitting down, as Chthonian deities normally are, and generally holds a scepter or a corn spike as her main attributes. The Chthonian deities are the manifestations of the Great Goddess, such as Gaia or Ge.

In Latin writings of the time, the singular nominative (Ops) is not used; only the form Opis is attested by classical authors. According to Festus (203:19), "Ops is said to be the wife of Saturn. By her they designated the earth, because the earth distributes all goods to the human genus" (Opis dicta est coniux Saturni per quam uolerunt terram significare, quia omnes opes humano generi terra tribuit). The Latin word ops means "riches, goods, abundance, gifts, munificence, plenty". The word is also related to opus, which means "work", particularly in the sense of "working the earth, ploughing, sowing". This activity was deemed sacred, and was often attended by religious rituals intended to obtain the good will of chthonic deities such as Ops and Consus. Ops is also related to the Sanskrit word ápnas ("goods, property" wink .

The cult of Ops was (mythically) instituted by King Titus Tatius, the Sabine monarch. Ops soon became the patroness of riches, abundance, and prosperity, both on a personal and national level. Ops had a famous temple in the Capitolium. Originally, a festival took place in Ops' honor on August 10. Additionally, on December 19 (some say December 9), the Opalia was celebrated. On August 25, the Opiconsivia was held. Opiconsivia was another name used for Opis, indicating when the earth was sown. These festivals also included activities that were called Consualia, in honor of Consus, her consort.

Opis not only being the wife of Saturn, she was his sister and the daughter of Caelus. Her children were Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, Ceres and Vesta. Opis also acquired queenly status and was reputed to be an eminent goddess and the Mother of the Gods. By public decree temples, priests, and sacrifices were accorded her. There was even an oddly shaped stone that was procured from Pessinus that represented Opis. It was put in the famous temple in Rome and worshiped by the Romans for a long time in numerous ceremonies.  

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