An estimated one-third of dedications to the goddess are from men. . Bona Dea ("The Good Goddess") is both an honorific title and a respectful pseudonym; the goddess' true or cult name is unknown. Men were barred from her mysteries and the possession of her true name. The proverbial phrase "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion" is based on Caesar's own justification of this divorce, following the scandal. [54] Bona Dea's rites did not merely permit the use of sacrificial-grade wine (temetum); they simultaneously required its disguise. Shortly after 62 BCE, Cicero presents it as one of the few lawful nocturnal festivals allowed to women, privileged to those of aristocratic class, and coeval with Rome's earliest history. She is depicted as a sedate Roman matron with a cornucopia and a snake. Milk and honey are primitive foods, "markers par excellence of utopian golden times". Bona Dea’s true name is Fauna. This is evidence of lawful variation – at least in the Roman provinces – from what almost all Roman literary sources present as an absolute rule. Brouwer, p. 401: cf. See also Brouwer, 240 - 242. Worse, the place of the alleged offense was the state property loaned to every pontifex maximus for his tenure of office. Versnel, H. S., "The Festival for Bona Dea and the Thesmophoria", Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association, Greece & Rome, Second Series, Vol. Such anxieties were nothing new, and underpinned Rome's traditional strictures against female autonomy. While female drunkenness was disapproved of, so was male drunkenness, and moderate domestic and religious wine consumption in moderation by women was probably a commonplace. [59], Staples (1998) explains the euphemisms as ingenious justification. In the middle Republican era, the temple may have fallen into disrepair, or its cult into official disfavour. a Roman goddess of fertility, worshipped by women; her priests vestals and her worship by rites from which men were excluded. See Emily A. Hemelrijk, in Hekster, Schmidt-Hofner and Witschel (Eds.). [25], In 12 BCE Augustus became pontifex maximus, which gave him authority over Rome's religious affairs, and direct control of the Vestals, whose presence and authority he conspicuously promoted. A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, London: Oxford University Press, 1929, p.85. The wine was called lac (milk) and its container a mellarium (honey jar). Versnel,p. In a context that excluded any reference to male persons or creatures, male lust or seduction, it underlined the pure and lawful sexual potency of virgins and matrons. There is evidence that at least some remained in use to the 4th century CE as cultic healing centres. The ensuing civil war ended with victory for Caesar's heir, Octavian, who redefined himself as restorer of Rome's Republic, traditional religion and social values, on behalf of the Roman senate and people. Cicero makes no reference to any myth pertaining to Bona Dea. “The bountiful goddess,” whose festival was celebrated by the Romans with much magnificence. He claims Bona Dea as aristocratically Roman from the outset. See more. The rites remained a subject of male curiosity and speculation, both religious and prurient. It is said too that she was the daughter of Faunus, and that she resisted the amorous advances of her father who had fallen in love with her, so that he even beat her with myrtle twigs because she did not yield to his desires though she had been made drunk by him on wine. Zum Verstindnis der Libation im Griechischen Ritual', In G. Piccaluga (ed. [32], Despite Livia's best efforts, scurrilous and titillating stories of the goddess' rites continued to circulate. Personal dedications to her are attested among all classes, especially plebeians, freedmen and women, and slaves. Thanks for your vote! "bona dea." In the Republican era, however, they were probably distinctly plebeian affairs, open to all classes of women and perhaps, in some limited fashion, to men. For Servius, this makes her the paragon of chaste womanhood. In Roman religion he was a pastor… Prise de Jérusalem par Hérode le Grand.jpg, available via link to Bill Thayer's website. Prohibitions against the handling of wine and the preparation of meat by Roman women occur in Roman literature as retrospective examples of time-hallowed tradition, in which the Vestals, whose duties include the supervision of Bona Dea's rites, are the significant exception. There is no evidence of its abolition. Several variants are known; Fauna is daughter, wife or sister of Faunus (also named Faunus Fatuus, meaning Faunus "the foolish", or seer). [26] Augustus personally funded a series of religious restorations; his wife Livia restored Bona Dea's Aventine temple and revived its May 1 festival, deflecting attention from the December festival and the notorious Clodius in favour of a more respectably eminent relative, the Vestal Licinia, whose attempt to refound the Temple in 123 BCE had been thwarted by the Senate. 148 - 158. [63] The vine-leaf bowers and the profusion of plants – any and all but the forbidden myrtle – convert the sophisticated, urban banqueting hall to a "primitive" dwelling and evoke the simple innocence of an ancestral golden age, in which women rule themselves without reference to men, drinking "milk and honey" under the divine authority of Bona Dea. In an otherwise seemingly thorough account, Cicero makes no mention of Bona Dea's May festival, and seems to claim the goddess' cult as an aristocratic privilege; the impeccably patrician Clodius, Cicero's social superior by birth, is presented as an innately impious, low-class oaf, and his popularist policies as threats to Rome's moral and religious security. The goddess' meal was prepared: the entrails (exta) of a sow, sacrificed to her on behalf of the Roman people (pro populo Romano), and a libation of sacrificial wine. [21] It was a high profile, much commented case., Herbert-Brown, Geraldine, Ovid and the Fasti, An Historical Study, Oxford Classical Monographs, 1994. Brouwer, p.258. As the rites had been vitiated, the Vestals were obliged to repeat them, and after further inquiry by the senate and pontifices, Clodius was charged with desecration, which carried a death sentence. Bona Dea was a divinity in ancient Roman religion. Bona Dea ("The Good Goddess") is both an honorific title and a respectful pseudonym; the goddess' true or cult name is unknown. [55] The use of wine at the festival has been described as a substitution for milk and honey, relatively late in the cult's development; and as a theologically absurdity. She was associated with chastity and fertility in women , healing, and the protection of the Roman state and people . [30] An Imperial cult centre in Aquileia honours an Augusta Bona Dea Cereria, probably in connection with the corn dole. In mythology, an ancient fertility goddess. [35], Bona Dea's Roman temple was situated on a lower slope of the northeastern Aventine Hill, beneath the height known as Saxum,[36] southeast of the Circus Maximus. Servius derives the names Faunus and Fauna, collectively the Fatui, from fari (to prophesy): they "are also called Fatui because they utter divine prophecy in a state of stupor". Lawful blood-and-wine sacrifice is indicated many female-led cults, particularly in Graeca Magna and Etruria. Versnel, H.S., Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion: Transition and reversal in myth and ritual, BRILL, 1994, p.233. Franz Cumont, "La Bona Dea et ses serpents", Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire, 1932, Vol. Studi in onore di A. Brelich, Rome, 1980, pp.209 - 21. Bona Dea means "the good goddess”. Versnel, p.45, citing Graf F., "Milch, Honig und Wein. [10] At various times during the Mid Republican era, control of her cult seems to have been contested, and her May festival and temple could have fallen into official disuse, or official disrepute. Then the magistrate's wife and her assistants[15] made bowers of vine-leaves, and decorated the house's banqueting hall with "all manner of growing and blooming plants" except for myrtle, whose presence and naming were expressly forbidden. Clodius' prosecution was at least partly driven by politics. They were virgins, but not subject to their fathers' authority; and matrons, but independent of any husband.

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