Commonly called Mater Matuta, is usually considered as the goddess of the dawn of morning, and her name is considered to be connected with maturus or matutinus;1 but it seems to be well attested that Matuta was only a surname of Juno,2 and it is probable that the name is connected with mater, so that Mater Matuta is an analogous expression with Hostus Hostilius, Faunus Fatuus, Aius Locutius, and others.
If we look to the ceremonies observed at her festival, the Matralia, which took place on the 11th of June, we must infer that they were intended to enjoin that people should take care of the children of deceased brothers and sisters, as if they were their own, and that they should not be left to the mercy of slaves or hirelings, who were in fact so odious to the goddess, that she delighted in their chastisement.3 A certain resemblance between these ceremonies and those of the Greek Leucothea led the Romans to identify Matuta and Leucothea, and thus to regard her as a marine divinity.4
A temple had been dedicated to Matuta at Rome by king Servius, and was restored by the dictator, Camillus, after the taking of Veii.5 Frequent mention of a temple of Matuta at Satricum is made by Livy.6
- Lucretius. De Rerum Natura v, 655; Augustine. City of God iv, 8.
- Livy. The History of Rome 34.53; P. Victor. De Regionibus Urbis Romae xii.
- Tertullian. On Monogamy, 17; Plutarch. Roman Questions, 16, 17.
- Plutarch. Camillus, 5; Ovid. Fasti vi, 551 ff.; Cicero. On the Nature of the Gods iii, 19; Tusculanae Disputationes i, 12.
- Livy. The History of Rome v, 19, 23; xxv, 7; xli, 33.
- ibid. vi, 33; viii, 27; xxviii, 11.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.