Angerona

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The Romans held as a state secret the true name of the protective Goddess of Rome:
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In Roman mythology, '''Angerona''' or '''Angeronia''' was an old Roman goddess, whose name and functions are variously explained. She is sometimes identified with the goddess [[Feronia]].
  
:"Verrius Flaccus cites authors whom he deems worthy of credit, to show that on the occasion of a siege, it was the usage, the first thing of all, for the Roman priests to summon forth the tutelary divinity of that particular town, and to promise him the same rites, or even a more extended worship, at Rome; and at the present day even, this ritual still forms part of the discipline of our pontiffs. Hence it is, no doubt, that the name of the tutelary deity of Rome has been so strictly kept concealed, lest any of our enemies should act in a similar manner."<ref>[[Pliny]], ''Historia Naturalis'' 28.4</ref>
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According to ancient authorities, she was a goddess who relieved men from pain and sorrow, or delivered the Romans and their flocks from ''angina'' ([[quinsy]]).  Also she was a protecting goddess of Rome and the keeper of the sacred name of the city, which might not be pronounced lest it should be revealed to her enemies.  It was even thought that Angerona itself was this name; a late antique source suggests it was Amor, ''i.e.'' Roma inverted.  Sorania and Hirpa have also been put forward as candidates for the secret name. Modern scholars regard her as a goddess akin to [[Ops]], [[Acca Larentia]], and [[Dea Dia]]; or as the goddess of the new year and the returning sun (according to Mommsen, ''ab angerendo'' = ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀναφέρεσθαι. τὸν ἥλιον). Her festival, called [[Divalia]] or [[Angeronalia]], was celebrated on the December 21. The priests offered sacrifice in the temple of [[Volupia]], the goddess of pleasure, in which stood a statue of Angerona, with a finger on her mouth, which was bound and closed ([[Macrobius]] i. 10; [[Pliny the Elder|Pliny]], ''Nat. Hist.'' iii. 9; [[Marcus Terentius Varro|Varro]], ''L. L.'' vi. 23). She was worshipped as Ancharia at [[Faesulae]], where an altar belonging to her has been discovered. In art, she was depicted with a bandaged mouth and a finger pressed to her lips, demanding silence.
  
Some examples of this practice are known to us. The first was when [[Camillus]] evoked Vei from Her [[Etruscan]] city in 396 BCE to install Her at Rome as [[Juno Regina]] of the [[Aventine]].<ref>[[Livy]], History 5.21.1-7</ref> A second example is taken from the dedication of a temple for Vortumnus in 264 BCE and a third comes from when [[Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus]] performed an ''evocatio'' by which he drew Tanis from Carthage in 146 BCE to install Her as Juno Caelistis at Rome.<ref>[[Macrobius]], ''Saturnalia'' 3.9.6-11</ref> An inscription for Isaurus Vetus, dating to 75 BCE, indicates another ''evocatio'' was performed at the siege of that city.<ref>{{CIL|I|2954}} = AE (1977) 816: Serveilius C f imperator hostibus victeis Isaura vetere capta captiveis venum dateis. Sei deus seive deast quoius in tutela oppidum Vetus Isaura fuit votum solvit. "The imperator Servilius, son of Gaius Servilius, defeated the enemy, took Isaura Vetus and sold those captured there. Whether it was a God or a Goddess who protected Isaura Vetus, he fulfilled his vow."</ref> The practice was so ingrained into Roman siege methods that to reveal the name of Rome's protective, in order that the same be done to Rome, was a capital crime. There is only one incident that we know about where the name was revealed, although the name remains a secret today. And this secrecy of Her name is part of the ceremony that was held for Her.  
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Other accounts state that Angerona was the goddess of silence, and that her worship was introduced at Rome to prevent the secret and sacred name of Rome being made known, or that Angerona was herself the protecting divinity of Rome, who by laying her finger on her mouth enjoined men not to divulge the secret name of Rome. (Plin. l. c.; Macrob. Sat. iii. 9.) A festival, Angeronalia, was celebrated at Rome in honour of Angerona, every year on the 12th of December, on which day the pontiffs offered sacrifices to her in the temple of Volupia, and in the curia Acculeia. (Varro, de Ling. Lat. vi. 23; Plin. and Macrob. ll. cc.)
  
:"Last and greater than all, Rome herself, whose other name the hallowed mysteries of the sacred rites forbid us to mention without being guilty of the greatest impiety. After it had been long kept buried in secrecy with the strictest fidelity and in respectful and salutary silence, Valerius Soranus dared to divulge it, but soon did he pay the penalty of his rashness. It will not perhaps be altogether foreign to the purpose, if I here make mention of one peculiar institution of our forefathers which bears especial reference to the inculcation of silence on religious matters. The Goddess Angerona, to whom sacrifice is offered on the twelfth day before the calends of January [21st December], is represented in her statue as having her mouth bound with a sealed fillet."<ref>Pliny, ''Historia Naturalis'' 3.9.65-67</ref>
 
  
The [[Angeronalia]] or [[Divalia]] of {{Dec 21}} was a public festival, performed by the ''pontifices'' in the Curia Acculeia. Macrobius in the fifth century said instead that the ritual was performed in a Temple of Volupa, citing Verrius Flaccus as his source, but such a place is not known at Rome, nor is it mentioned by other authors who cited the same source.<ref>Varro, ''Lingua Latinae'' 6.23; Macrobius, ''Saturnalia'' 1.10</ref>
 
  
Another point made by Macrobius was that this December ritual was made "in propitiation for expelling anguish and anxiety." Angerona was thought by some to be a Goddess who both brought on and relieved anguish and fear.  This would place Her among the deities of the Underworld who were involved in a ''[[devotio]]'' of an enemy's force, and thus may be seen how She was called upon to protect Rome.
 
  
Ovid tells a myth about how Angerona came to be called Tacita and Muta, and how Her image is seen with Her mouth concealed.  Learning of Jupiter's plans to rape Her sister, Agerona rushed to warn Juturna, and also told Juno of Her husband's intended infidelity.  Ovid then said that Jupiter had Angerona's tongue torn from Her, and Her mouth then covered, and then ordered that Mercurius lead Her to Hades.  Along the way, Mercurius supposedly raped Her, and thus Angerona became the mother of the [[Lares compitales]].  The key here is that Ovid called Her Lara, and Lala, connecting Her to Mater Larum, "the Mother of the Lares."<ref>Ovid, ''Fasti'' 2.583-617</ref> The Angeronalia, or Divalia Angeronae on 21 December, comes in conjunction with the [[Larentalia]] of 23 December where a rite was performed for [[Larentia]] (Lara, Lala) in recognition of her as the foster mother of Romulus.  By extension she was the mother of all Romans, much as Mater Larum could be regarded, and thus also the protective Goddess of Rome may also have been viewed, or related to, a Mother Goddess of Rome.
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==For further reading==
 
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*Hendrik Wagenvoort, "Diva Angerona," reprinted in ''Pietas: Selected Studies in Roman Religion'' (Brill, 1980), pp.&nbsp;21–24 [http://books.google.com/books?id=xWaOxU28Nn4C&pg=PA21&dq=%22Angerona+was+a+goddess%22+inauthor:Wagenvoort&lr=&as_brr=0 online.]
Modern speculations on what Angerona's "true name" may have been have suggested Favra and Fona, Acca, Flora, Valesia, and Valentia, Sorana, and Hirpa. Some of these play on the thought of the she-wolf or ''lupa'' that nursed Romulus and Remus. But none of the theories are satisfactory, and none give us any better idea of who Angerona may have been.
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==References==
 
==References==

Revision as of 07:32, 17 March 2011

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In Roman mythology, Angerona or Angeronia was an old Roman goddess, whose name and functions are variously explained. She is sometimes identified with the goddess Feronia.

According to ancient authorities, she was a goddess who relieved men from pain and sorrow, or delivered the Romans and their flocks from angina (quinsy). Also she was a protecting goddess of Rome and the keeper of the sacred name of the city, which might not be pronounced lest it should be revealed to her enemies. It was even thought that Angerona itself was this name; a late antique source suggests it was Amor, i.e. Roma inverted. Sorania and Hirpa have also been put forward as candidates for the secret name. Modern scholars regard her as a goddess akin to Ops, Acca Larentia, and Dea Dia; or as the goddess of the new year and the returning sun (according to Mommsen, ab angerendo = ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀναφέρεσθαι. τὸν ἥλιον). Her festival, called Divalia or Angeronalia, was celebrated on the December 21. The priests offered sacrifice in the temple of Volupia, the goddess of pleasure, in which stood a statue of Angerona, with a finger on her mouth, which was bound and closed (Macrobius i. 10; Pliny, Nat. Hist. iii. 9; Varro, L. L. vi. 23). She was worshipped as Ancharia at Faesulae, where an altar belonging to her has been discovered. In art, she was depicted with a bandaged mouth and a finger pressed to her lips, demanding silence.

Other accounts state that Angerona was the goddess of silence, and that her worship was introduced at Rome to prevent the secret and sacred name of Rome being made known, or that Angerona was herself the protecting divinity of Rome, who by laying her finger on her mouth enjoined men not to divulge the secret name of Rome. (Plin. l. c.; Macrob. Sat. iii. 9.) A festival, Angeronalia, was celebrated at Rome in honour of Angerona, every year on the 12th of December, on which day the pontiffs offered sacrifices to her in the temple of Volupia, and in the curia Acculeia. (Varro, de Ling. Lat. vi. 23; Plin. and Macrob. ll. cc.)



For further reading

  • Hendrik Wagenvoort, "Diva Angerona," reprinted in Pietas: Selected Studies in Roman Religion (Brill, 1980), pp. 21–24 online.

References

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