September 2nd, 2008 by sabrina
Diana is the Roman Goddess of nature, fertility, hunting, crossroads, and the moon. She was originally worshipped by the Latins and Sabines as a Goddess of the moon and of forests; her worship was brought to Rome by the Etruscan King Servius Tullius in the sixth century BCE. He built a temple to her on the Aventine Hill, and she was worshipped mainly by the plebeians and the slaves. The two main centers of her worship were at Aricia in Latium and in the forests of Mount Tifata near Capua. Here, she was called upon by women to bless them with fertility and easy childbirths. Diana’s consort as Goddess of the woods was Virbius, God of the woods.
As Diana came to be associated with the Greek Goddess Artemis, her roles in fertility and childbirth were lessened. Her image was that of a huntress with her bow and arrow and a crescent moon on her brow, and she was often accompanied by dogs, who were sacred to Artemis. She became known as the daughter of Jupiter and Latona, corresponding to Artemis’s parents, Zeus and Leto. Diana was also seen as a triple Goddess, as Diana Trivia (of the three ways). This epithet led to an association with death, as a three-way path was often seen as the gateway to the underworld.
Diana’s name comes from the Indo-European root di-, which means “shining” or “light.” Her many epithets include:
Diana Lucina (Goddess of childbirth)
Diana Aventinensis (of the Aventine)
Diana Caelistis (celestial)
Diana Nemorensis (of the woods)
Diana Omnivaga (wandering one)
Diana Opifera (aid bringer)
Diana Venatrix (huntress and mistress of wild animals)
Diana Tifatina (of the town of Tifata)
Diana Lucifera (bringer of light)
Diana Latonia (from her mother, Latona)
Diana Ortygia (born on the island or Ortygia, the Roman name for Delos where Artemis was born)
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