Archive for the 'Roman' Category


October 30th, 2009 by sabrina

maniaMania is the Roman Goddess of the dead. Not to be confused with the Greek Goddess of madness (also named Mania), she is called the mother of the Manes, the souls of the dead, who became her children when they descended to the Underworld. She was also later said to be the mother of the Lares, the household Gods. Mania rules over the Underworld along with Mantus, God of the dead. Her image was hung over doors to frighten away evil spirits. Mania’s name is also seen as Manea and Mania della Notte (“Mania of the night”).

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October 7th, 2009 by sabrina

vanthVanth is the Etruscan Goddess of death. She appears when death is near and also helps guide the newly dead to the Underworld. Vanth is depicted as a winged woman, wearing a short skirt and with only leather straps across her bare chest. There are sometimes eyes on her wings, symbolic of the omnipresence of death. The items that Vanth carries are also representative of her role as a psychopomp or escort of the dead—she carries a torch to light the way and a key to open the gates to the Underworld. Other items that she is sometimes shown with include a sword, a scroll, and snakes, all symbols of fate. Vanth’s name, which has been interpreted as “one who keeps the door,” is also seen as Van.

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September 11th, 2009 by sabrina

HilaritasHilaritas is the Roman Goddess of rejoicing. She was often depicted on coins given out to the Roman people to celebrate the birth of a child to the Emperor. Hilaritas was shown holding a palm branch and a cornucopia, symbols of joy and abundance, and sometimes with children standing at her feet. Hilaritas’s name means “cheerfulness,” and the epithet Hilaritas Augustii (cheerfulness of the Augustus) was used for her.

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July 29th, 2009 by sabrina

I pretty much glossed over her story, but I’ll do a more thorough job with Persephone in a few days.


Proserpina is the Roman Goddess of springtime and Queen of the Underworld. As the Roman equivalent of the Goddess Persephone, she is the daughter of Ceres (Greek Demeter) and Jupiter (Greek Zeus). In the Roman version, Proserpina was gathering flowers with some nymphs in Sicily, when Pluto, God of the Underworld, came out of Mount Etna and abducted her. He eventually freed her, after first tricking her into eating pomegranate seeds in the Underworld, ensuring that she would have to return there every year. As with Persephone, Proserpina comes to the world above every spring and returns to the Underworld in the autumn. Proserpina’s name, which means “emerging,” is also seen as Proserpine, Prosperine, and Prosperina, and her epithets include:
Proserpina Candida (white)
Proserpina Casta (chaste)
Proserpina Dea (Goddess)
Proserpina Filia (daughter)
Proserpina Furva (stolen)
Proserpina Matrona (lady)
Proserpina Maxima (great)
Proserpina Neotera (younger)
Proserpina Plutonia (of Pluto)
Proserpina Pulchra (beautiful)
Proserpina Rapta (seized)
Proserpina Regina (queen)
Proserpina Saeva (furious)
Proserpina Saluia (sage)

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April 1st, 2009 by sabrina

pietasPietas (pronounced PIE-eh-tass) is the Roman Goddess of devotion. She represents both devotion to the Gods and to one’s own family. She was often featured on coins, symbolizing both the devotion of the Roman state to its people and of the people to the state. Pietas is usually depicted standing next to an altar fire, with her hands lifted in prayer. In some depictions, she holds a patera (a ritual dish) or a censer. In still others, she either holds a baby or stands with children at her sides. Pietas’ name means “duty.”

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February 15th, 2009 by sabrina

romaRoma is the Roman Goddess of the city of Rome. Temples to her were established in many Roman colonies to cement the relationship of the colony with the authority of Rome. A temple next to the Colosseum was shared by Roma and Venus—the temple consisted of two back-to-back chambers, with a statue of one of the Goddesses in each. Roma’s depiction is usually quite similar to that of Minerva, wearing a helmet and carrying a spear or a sword and a shield, but she is often shown seated on a throne. One of her epithets was Roma Aeterna (Eternal Rome).

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January 23rd, 2009 by sabrina

Most people go to Rome for the churches—I went for the temples. One particulary fascinating area (at least to me 😉 ) is the Largo di Torre Argentina on what was the Campus Martius, where four ancient temples were discovered in the 1920s. The temples are also home to a cat sanctuary for Rome’s many stray cats. I so wanted to adopt one, but I didn’t think I could smuggle it home safely on the plane, so I had to settle for a donation. You can help too by visiting their website at


Juturna is the Roman Goddess of wells and springs. Originally an important Goddess married to Janus, God of beginnings and endings, and the mother of Fontus, God of fountains, later myths made her a mortal woman who was turned into a nymph by Jupiter in exchange for her virginity. Jupiter gave her control of a spring in the Roman Forum near to the Temple of Castor and Pollux. A well built over the spring, the Lacus Juturnae, is still in existence today, and it was from this well that the Vestal Virgins would draw water to use in their rituals. The water from her spring was said to have healing properties—Juturna’s name is derived from the Latin word juvare, which means “to help.” She was also worshipped at a temple in Rome’s Campus Martius, which was likely built around 240 BCE. Juturna’s name is also seen as Iuturna.

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January 2nd, 2009 by sabrina

Paventia is the Roman Goddess of childhood fears. She both protects against sudden fright and comforts those who have been frightened. The Romans placed great importance on infancy and early childhood, and had many deities devoted to this time, each with rule over a very specific aspect. Her name is also seen as Paventina.

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December 8th, 2008 by sabrina

Potina is the Roman Goddess of a child’s first drink. Just as Edusa looked after children as they ate their first solid foods after weaning, Potina watched over their first drink. The Romans placed great importance on infancy and early childhood, and had many deities devoted to this time, each with rule over a very specific aspect. Potina helped the child transition from suckling to drinking from a cup. Her name means “she of the act of drinking.”

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November 16th, 2008 by sabrina

Edusa is the Roman Goddess of weaning. She takes over the nutrition of children from Rumina, Goddess of breastfeeding, when it is time for children to learn to eat solid foods. The Romans placed great importance on infancy and early childhood, and had many deities devoted to this time, each with rule over a very specific aspect. Edusa’s name is also seen as Educa, Edulia, or Edulica.

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