A surname of Juno among the Romans, by which she was characterized as the protectress of money. Under this name she had a temple on the Capitoline, in which there was at the same time the mint, just as the public treasury was in the temple of Saturn. The temple had been vowed by the dictator L. Furius in a battle against the Aurunci, and was erected on the spot where the house of M. Manlius Capitolinus had stood.1
Moneta signifies the mint, and such a surname cannot be surprising, as we learn from St. Augustin,2 that Jupiter bore the surname of Pecunia; but some writers found such a meaning too plain, and Livius Andronicus, in the beginning of his translation of the Odyssey, used Moneta as a translation of Μνημοσύνη (remembrance, memory), and thus made her the mother of the Muses or Camenae.3 Cicero4 relates an etymological tale. During an earthquake, he says, a voice was heard issuing from the temple of Juno on the Capitol, and admonishing (monens) that a pregnant sow should be sacrificed.
A somewhat more probable reason for the name is given by Suidas,5 though he assigns it to too late a time. In the war with Pyrrhus and the Tarentines, he says, the Romans being in want of money, prayed to Juno, and were told by the goddess, that money would not be wanting to them, so long as they would fight with the arms of justice. As the Romans by experience found the truth of the words of Juno, they called her Juno Moneta. Her festival was celebrated on the first of June.
The word "money" comes from Middle English mynt, "coin," from Old English mynet, from Latin moneta, "mint." Similarly, from Middle English moneye, from Anglo-French moneie, from Latin moneta.
- Livy. The History of Rome iv, 7, 20; vi, 20; vii, 28; xlii, 1; Ovid. Fasti i, 638; vi, 183.
- City of God vii, 11.
- Comp. Hyginus. Fabulae: Preface.
- De Divinatione i, 45; ii, 32.
- s.v. Μονῆτα.
- Ovid. Fasti vi, 183 ff.; Macrobius, i, 12.
- 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.