You are here:
  1. » Home
  2. » Areas
  3. » Mythology
  4. » Europe
  5. » Roman mythology
  6. » Diana
Cite/print/rate article
Send comment    References

Diana

by Micha F. Lindemans
The Roman goddess of nature, fertility and childbirth. She is closely identified with the Greek goddess Artemis. Diana is also a moon-goddess and was originally worshipped on the mountain Tifata near Capua and in sacred forests (such as Aricia in Latium). Her priest lived in Aricia and if a man was able to kill him with a bough broken from a tree in this forest, he would become priest himself 1. Also torch-bearing processions were held in her honor here. Later she was given a temple in the working-class area on the Aventine Hill where she was mainly worshipped by the lower class (plebeians) and the slaves, of whom she was the patroness. Slaves could also ask for asylum in her temple. Her festival coincided with the idus (13th) of August.

Diana

Diana was originally a goddess of fertility and, just as Bona Dea, she was worshipped mainly by women as the giver of fertility and easy births. Under Greek influence she was equated with Artemis and assumed many of her aspects. Her name is possibly derived from 'diviana' ("the shining one"). She is portrayed as a huntress accompanied by a deer. Diana was also the goddess of the Latin commonwealth.

1. Details of the ritual are described in "The Golden Bough" by Sir James George Frazer.


Article details:

Page tools: