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Old 07-02-18   #1
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Default Odd Insights into the goddess Diana

Thoughts about Diana Nemorensis

Was reading some information about Diana Nemorensis and her sacred woods at Aricia and specifically her temple complex at Lake Nemi. One thing that caught my attention was the idea that perhaps what many accept of the triple goddess configuration for Diana there might be wrong. For reference most listings seem to suggest that Diana Nemorensis consists of three identities

1. Diana the Huntress holding a bow
2. Diana the Moon Goddess
3. Hecate representing the Netherworld

All three figures are depicted on coins standing next to one another and below a bar with cypress tree's above them. Earlier representations are believed to have depicted the same basic pattern only the middle figure was believed to have had the figure with it's right arm on the shoulder of the Huntress figure and the left arm on the waist of the Netherworld figure. But other than that basically the same depiction.

However, I was introduced to a differing perspective about the figures that I though rather interesting and worthy of consideration.

The first though not heavily endorsed suggest the following representation.

1. Diana Nemorensis holding the bow representing the Huntress and Mistress of the Grove
2. Diana Virbia
3. Diana Luciferia LIght Bringer / Bringer of Light - based on the flower she is holding that could be a light vice a flower

All three aspects are heavily represented at Nemi / Aricia. Nemorensis ties into the sacred woods aspect of the site itself. Lucifera ties into the temple which was known for it's procession of lights and the Mirror of Diana and the many lamps that were found within the temple ruins. Virbia ties into the mythology of the site and the Roman God Virbia, god of the woods who gets conflated with Hippolytus at Nemi and the story of Artemis.

Yet there is also another story that ties even deeper to the site and perhaps has an older history attachment. One that goes back to the Etruscan connection to the site's history. That on the surface seem's to make more sense if you compare the magical influences of Diana's woodland magic versus Hecate's more underworld and structured magical influence. That trinity is suggested as:

1. Diana Lucifera - Light Bringer / Bringer of Light - connected to the bow image
2. Luna Lucina - connected to the birthing influence of Luna as a moon goddess
3. A water Nymph Egeria w/ flower - connected to sacred groves & springs also connected to childbirth and has a history at Aricia

Egeria also has a connection to the Etruscan's via King Numa Pompilius in guiding and counselling him in setting up the original laws and rituals for Rome. Something which ties back into Aricia / Nemi being a place where disputes and legal matters would be settled by having representatives meet to settle those disputes before it became more associated with women.

If one looks to the image that is presumed to be a bow even that can be debated. It is equally possible to identify it as a handheld torch. The base of it has a small hook but the head has what appears to be three balls which could be flame points. yet it is not your typical rendition of a bow. So it could be a singular torch held to the right of the facing figure. I've added a second example that shows an image that looks more like a bow but could also be an elongated torch.

Should note the coins are minted about 41 - 43 B.C. and depict P. Accoleius Lariscolus from the Roman Republic period.

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Last edited by MonSno_LeeDra; 07-02-18 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 07-05-18   #2
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Default Re: Odd Insights into the goddess Diana

Figure might as well give a bit more info as a follow up

Nemoralia (Festival of Torches):

Initially the Nemoralia fell on the Ides of August (Sextilis) on the 13th. Which was the date for the New Moon under the old Lunar Calendar system. Over time it migrated to the 15th which still keep it within the 3 day window for the celestial movements.

However, with the change of the Roman Calendar system from a 10 month calendar to a 12 month calendar then from a lunar base to a solar base the moon cycle would not always match up to the Ides of August cycle. Observances would turn to when ever the full moon happened to fall during the month of August.

#1 The festival was also known as the Festival of Torches, so called because worshipers assembled by torch or candlelight at Lake Nemi aka "Speculum Dianae" – "Diana's Mirror". According to Plutarch, everyone assembled had made a special ritual of washing their hair before dressing it with flowers. Dogs were also honored and likewise adorned with flowers. Worshipers wrote prayers and wishes upon ribbons, which were then tied to trees. Sacrifices were made of fruits, tiny sculptures of stags, tiny sculptures of mothers and children, and bread or clay in the shape of body parts in need of healing. The hunting or killing of any beast was forbidden during Nemoralia. Slaves and women were free from their duties during the time of the festival, and while men and masters did participate in the festival, they were required to be on equal terms with women and slaves.

#2 The festival proved so popular that the Catholic Church chose 15 Aug. as the date of the Feast of the Assumption, the chief festival honoring Mary

#1 & #2 http://www.novaroma.org/nr/Nemoralia

Plutarch Source - The Roman and Greek Questions, by Plutarch, tr. Frank Cole Babbitt, [1936] Question 100 specifically

100. Why is it that on the Ides of August, formerly called Sextilis, all the slaves, female and male, keep holiday, and the Roman women make a particular practice of washing and cleansing their heads?

Do the servants have release from work because on this day King Servius was born from a captive maidservant? b And did the washing of their heads begin with the slave-women, because of their holiday, and extend itself to free-born women?

Note: I see references to devotee's or participants being transported across the lake on small boats as part of the Nemoralia mentioned on Wikipedia and some individual sites. However this seems unlikely given Roman law towards sacred waters (see below). The source material I have found does support both processions coming from Rome itself and processions with torches around the lake on foot to the temple / sacred woods. The only reference to ships which might tie into the reference would be in support of the giant barges created for Emperor Caligula. But it is doubtful they would be directly associated with the Nemoralia.

I have doubts of the small ships in part because under Roman Law (Pliny The Younger - Letters VIII-20 - To his friend Gallus) no ship could sail on the lake as it was sacred. It's a different lake in the reference but speaks to the fact ships can't sail on sacred waters.

Propertius: The Elegies
Book II.28A:47-62 Transience (Translated by A. S. Kline)
Since you’ve escaped, mea lux, from great danger pay Diana the gift of song and dance you owe her, and keep vigil as well for that heifer, now a goddess; and, for my sake, grant her the ten nights you vowed.

(2.28.47-62) (Tranlated by H. E. Butler)
Since then, light of mine eyes, thou hast escaped
from mighty peril, render Diana the dance tliou owest
for offering ; and as is due, keep vigil in honour of
her who, once a heifer, is now a goddess, and on my
behalf pay her ten nights of worship.

Book II.19:1-32 Cynthia is off to the country (A. S. Kline)
Even though you’re leaving Rome against my wish, I’m glad, Cynthia, since you’re without me, you’re in the country, off the beaten track. There’ll be no young seducer in those chaste fields, one whose flatteries stop you being true; no fights will begin beneath your window; your sleep won’t be troubled by being called aloud.
You’ll be alone, and you’ll gaze, alone, Cynthia, at mountains, herds, the fields of poor farmers. No games will have power to corrupt you there, no sanctuary temples giving you countless opportunities for sin. There you’ll watch the oxen’s endless ploughing, vines losing leaves to the pruning-hook’s skill: and you’ll carry a little offering of incense to some crude shrine, where a goat will die in front of the rustic altar: and you’ll imitate their choral dance bare-legged: but only if all is safe from strange men.

I’ll go hunting: I’ll take pleasure now, at once, in accepting the rites of fair Diana, and dropping my former vows to Venus. I’ll start chasing wild creatures, and fasten horns to fir trees, and control the audacious dogs myself. Yet I’ll not try great lions, or hurry to meet wild boar face to face. It’s daring enough to take the gentle hare, or pierce a bird with a trim rod, where Clitumnus clothes the beautiful stream with woodland tangles, and his wave bathes the snow-white heifers.

You, mea vita, if you venture anything, remember I’ll be coming there for you, in a few days time. So, solitary woods and vagrant streams, in mossy hills, won’t stop me trying your name on my tireless tongue. Everyone wishes to hurt those who are absent.

Book II.19:1-32 Cynthia is off to the country (H. E. Butler)
Though, Cynthia, 'tis against my will that thou
departest from Rome, glad am I that 'tis in the
country far from paths of man thou dwellest with-
out me. In those chaste fields thou shalt find no
seductive youth whose flatteries shall not permit
thee to be honest, nor shall any brawl arise before
thy windows, nor shall thy slumber be made bitter
by cries upon thy name. Lone shalt thou dwell and
oti lone mountains gaze, on flocks and the lands of
poor farmers. There will no games have power to
corrupt thee, no temples, most frequent cause of all
thy sins ; there shalt thou behold the tireless oxen
plough, and the vine lay aside her foliage at the
sickle's skilful touch, and there shalt thou bear
a scanty offering of incense to some rude shrine,
where the kid shall fall before a rustic altar; then
bare-legged shalt thou imitate the country dance, if
only there be no danger from the espial of some
town-bred man.

^'' I myself will hunt; now straightway 'tis my
joy to perform sacrifice to Diana, my vows to Venus
laid aside. I will begin to snare wild beasts, to nail
trophies of horns to the pine-tree, and with mine
own voice urge on the bold hounds ; yet would I
never dare to assail the lion fell, or with speedy
foot go face the wild boar of the field. Daring
enough for me to catch the timid hare^ or pierce
birds with arrows from the quiver, where Clitumnus
shrouds his fair streams in his own beloved grove,
and with his waters laves the snow-white kine.

2' Do thou^my love, oft as thou meditatest aught,
remember that I shall be with thee in a few more
dawns. So as thou rememberest this, neither the
lonely woods nor the wandering streams upon the
mossy hills can stay me from repeating thy name
with tireless tongue ; for one and all are ready to
wrong an absent lover

Book II.32:1-62 Cynthia talked about (A. S. Kline)
He who sees you sins: so he who can’t see you can’t desire you: the eyes commit the crime. O Cynthia, why else do you search out dubious oracles at Praeneste, or the walls of Aeaean Telegonus? Why do chariots take you to Herculean Tibur? Why the Appian Way, so often, to Lanuvium? Cynthia, I wish you’d walk here when you’re free! But the crowd tell me to put no trust in you, when they see you rush faithfully, carrying a torch on fire, to the sacred grove, bearing light to the goddess Trivia.

Book II.32:1-62 Cynthia talked about (H. E. Butler)
' Ah that thou Avouldst Avalk here in all thine
hours of leisure ! but the world forbids me trust
thee, Avhen it beholds thee hurry in frenzy with
kindled torches to the Arician grove, and bear lights
in honour of the goddess Trivia. Forsooth, thou
carest naught for Ponipey's colonnade, with its shady
columns, bright-hung with gold-embroidered cur-
tains ; naught for the avenue thick-planted with
plane-trees rising in trim rows ; nor the waters that
flow from Maro's slumbering form and run, their
Naiads babbling through all the streets of Rome, till
at the last, with sudden plunge, they vanish in the
Triton's mouth.'-

cur tua ie ^ Herculeum deportant esseda Tibur ?
Appia oui- totiens te via Lanuvium ? ^
hoc utinam spatiere loco, quodcumque vacabis,
Cynthia ! sed tibi me credere turba vetat,
cum videt accensis devotam currere taedis
in nemus et Triviae lumina ferre deae. 10
scilicet umbrosis sordct Ponipcia columnis
Porticus, aulaeis uobilis Attalicis,
et platanis crebcr pariter surgentibus oido,

A. S. Kline link and translations: Https://www.poetryintranslation.com/...rtiusBkTwo.php

H. E. Butler link (Archive Org.): https://archive.org/stream/propertiu...puoft_djvu.txt

There is one passage that appears on nearly every page on the net that is supposed to have been written by Propertius dealing with the Nemoralia. Of course none of those "passages" have any citations as to where the passage was obtained from. About the best is that they state it is from Propertius. I know by the subject content it has to be from his Elegies, I have searched line by line through every translated copy I can find and have come across no translation that contains this supposed passage as listed.
The closest I can find word wise, is actually translated close, but does not match the implied emotional meaning that is being suggested by the below passage. Yes Cynthia is still going on the torch procession to Nemi but the relationship is much different. Similar to the translation above (H. E. Butler) but different enough that this one is still closer to the un-cited reference in red.
Provided for reference:

“Ah, if you would only walk here in your leisure hours. But we cannot meet today, When I see you hurrying in excitement with a burning torch To the grove of Nemi where you Bear light in honour of the Goddess Diana.”

It appears to be the same general passage as above but the perspective has been greatly changed. Above the person is warned against Cynthia's participation and presence and there is no excitement about it. No sense of support but dread and apprehension. This one changes that though that public warning has been removed to a simple sorry we can't meet today.

Ovid, Fasti Book #3 (Translated By A. S. Kline)
Book III: March 1: Kalends
Now who will tell me why the Salii carry Mars’
Celestial weapons, and sing of Mamurius.
Teach me, nymph, who serves Diana’s lake and grove:
Nymph, Egeria, wife to Numa, speak of your actions.
There is a lake in the vale of Aricia, ringed by dense woods,
And sacred to religion from ancient times.
Here Hippolytus hides, who was torn to pieces
By his horses, and so no horse may enter the grove.
The long hedge is covered with hanging threads,
And many tablets witness the goddess’s merit.
Often a woman whose prayer is answered, brow wreathed
With garlands, carries lighted torches from the City.
One with strong hands and swift feet rules there,
And each is later killed, as he himself killed before.
A pebble-filled stream flows down with fitful murmurs:
Often I’ve drunk there, but in little draughts.
Egeria, goddess dear to the Camenae, supplies the water:
She who was wife and counsellor to Numa.

Book III: March 1: Kalends
[259] Who will now tell me why the Salii (27) bear the heavenly weapons of Mars and sing of Mamurius? Inform me, thou nymph who on Diana’s grove and lake dost wait; thou nymph, wife of Numa, come tell of thine own deeds. In the Arician vale there is a lake begirt by shady woods and hallowed by religion of old.(28) Here Hippolytus (29) lies hid, who by the reins of his steeds was rent in pieces: hence no horses enter that grove. The long fence is draped with hanging threads, and many a tablet there attests the merit of the goddess. Often doth a woman, whose prayer has been answered, carry from the City burning torches, while garlands wreathe her brows. The strong of hand and fleet of foot do there reign kings,(30) and each is slain thereafter even as himself has slain. A pebbly brook flows down with fitful murmur; oft have I drunk of it, but in little sips. Egeria it is who doth supply the water, goddess dear to the Camenae (31); she was wife and councillor to Numa.
27. Dancing priests. They carried a spear and one of the ancilia or sacred shields. See 377 note, below.
28. Lacus Nemorensis. See 377 note, below.
29. Hippolytus, after being torn to pieces by his horses near Troezen, was restored to life by Aesculapius and transported by Diana to the woods of Aricia, where he took the name of Virbius.
30. A runaway slave reigns there as Rex Nemorensis, until a stronger runaway slave dispossesses him. This is the theme of the Golden Bough.
31. Egeria was one of the Camenae, water-nymphs whose spring flowed in a sacred grove outside the Porta Capena; but these came to be identified with the Muses.

References deal more with Diana Nemorensis (Diana of Nemi) (Diana of the wood)specifically and the Sanctuary complex at Nemi / Aricia

Carin M.C. Green, Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia (Cambridge University Press, 2007HB /2012PB ), ISBN 0-521-85158-0, ISBN 978-0-521-85158-9, ISBN 978-I-107-40753-4

From Artemis To Diana, The Goddess of Man and Beast (12 ACTA Hyperborea,2009, Danish Studies in Classical Archaeology, Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhahen, 2009) ISBN 978-87-635-0788-2 (pgs 345-365
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Old 07-06-18   #3
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Default Re: Odd Insights into the goddess Diana

Wow, I'm looking up some things , because I am unfamiliar in the background.

Thanks MonSno.

It is interesting how everything comes from something else. Everyone needs to spin it their way. Nice to look back at the start.
~ One by one, we will step into the center of the circle. We will hear our names chanted, feel the cone rise around us. We will receive the gift, and remember: I am Goddess..
You are God, Goddess. All that lives, breathes, loves, sings in the unending harmony of being is divine.

~ The reason nothing can truly ever make sense is that it is all fluid. ~
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Old 07-06-18   #4
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Default Re: Odd Insights into the goddess Diana

Here's a bit more that goes with the Diana Nemorensis presence. These coin types represent a form of Diana Nemorensis That would have existed long before the triple formed version would come into existence. Typically these coins would be minted between 269 - 235 B.C.E. where the triple version would be minted around the 40-45 B.C.E. era. So your looking at roughly 200 years before. In most coin catalogs they are still listed as "Roma" vice Diana so there is still debate about that fact.

The Diana - Victory DIDRACHMS and the DECADRACHMS of ARSINOE
The silver didrachm, may be described as follows :
Obv. Bust of goddess (Diana), wearing Phrygian helmet with griffin
on the back. Behind head, varying symbol.
Rev . Victory standing r., holding in r. hand wreath as if about to
place it on palm, held upright on ground in 1. hand. Single or
double Greek letter. ROMANO.
Weight just under 6 scrup

Appendix I. - The types of the Diana didrachms
The goddess of the obverse cannot be Roma, as Haberlin and others have thought, for no goddess Roma was yet known. She is, however, an armed Amazon, and the armed Amazon type was one of those selected for Roma, when she finally came to be worshipped. In the Roman pantheon of the third century b.c. a number of Amazon god-desses are to be found - all of them, in essence, variants of one - the Diana who is warrior as well as huntress. Virtus, Bellona, Diana Nemorensis (of Aricia) - of Diana of the Aventine we are not yet sure - they differ in name and cult, but little in real nature. The peculiar form of the Phrygian helmet with the griffin climbing up it probably marks the goddess here as Diana of Aricia. The only helmet of this shape that seems to survive to-day was dredged up out of the Lake of Nemi. The evidence for the warrior Diana has been collected in Mattingly and Robinson, The Date of the Roman Denarius , Papers of the British Academy , [1933].
Harold Mattingly
The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society, Sixth Series, Vol. 6, No. 1/2 (1946), pp. 63-67
Published by: Royal Numismatic Society
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/42661253
Page Count: 5

Note: Images that have a write up this them, the write up is from the Coin site and contains general information about the coin itself. Images without write-ups are for other examples of the coins.

Didrachm, Neapolis (?) circa 265-242, AR 6.49 g. Head of Roma r., wearing Phrygian helmet; behind, sword in scabbard with belt. Rev. ROMANO Victory attaching wreath to palm branch; in r. field, II. Sydenham 21. Crawford 22/1. Historia Numorum Italy 295.

Anonymous AR Didrachm of the Roman Republic. Circa 280-276 BC. Head of Roma right in Phrygian helmet, cluster of grapes behind / ROMANO, Victory standing right, attaching wreath to a long palm, MM before. Crawford 22/1

Anonymous, Didrachm, Neapolis or Rome, 265-242 BC; AR (g 6,60; mm 20; h 4); Head of Roma r., wearing Phrygian helmet; behind, dog, Rv. Victory standing r., attaching wreath to palm-branch; before, Γ; behind, ROMANO

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Old 07-12-18   #5
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Default Re: Odd Insights into the goddess Diana

Not to be a dick, but I don't understand what is "odd" about this? As in, out of the ordinary? Ancient heathen societies regularly borrowed characters, idea structures, rituals, and cults from one another
I believe my work here is done. Dosvedanya!

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Old 07-12-18   #6
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A simple mixture of information & thoughs, odds and in's or an odd assortment of things, or in this case Odd Insights into the Goddess Diana
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