A. Mastrocinque, Bona Dea and the Cults of Roman Women

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Attilio Mastrocinque, Bona Dea and the Cults of Roman Women, Stuttgart, 2014.

Éditeur : Franz Steiner Verlag
Collection : Potsdamer Altertumswissenschaftliche Beiträge 49
209 pages
ISBN : 978-3-515-10752-5
52 €

Bona Dea, also known as Fauna, was a very important goddess of female initiations in Rome, and several features of hers were shared by similar goddesses in ancient Italy. This book sheds light on two hitherto unexplored features: the Dionysiac character and the Lydian style of her festivals. The wife of a consul took on the attitude and the attire of Omphale as the president of Dionysiac ceremonies. Faunus was supposed to precede Bacchus and give fecundity to the bride (i.e. Ariadne), whereas Hercules was thought of as an effeminate musician who created harmony. This was the correct ritual behaviour of prenuptial ceremonies, as it was depicted on many Dionysiac sarcophagi. The iconography of these monuments depicts important features of Faunus and Fauna. Believers are depicted on sarcophagi in the attitude of Bacchus or, in case of women, of either Ariadne or Omphale. A final comparison with initiations among native tribes of Oceania clarifies many rituals of the ancients.

Table des matières



Girls and pagan gods

Virginity without Hymen
Gods and the ius primæ noctis according to St. Augustine
Pagan gods and their ius primæ noctis
Symbolic acts
Whips and boxes: divine symbols of fertility

Wedding invitation

The myth of the disappointed Hercules
Faunus, a disappointed god
Ceremonies at the home of the highest Roman magistrate
The myth of Bona Dea
Characteristics of Bona Dea
Bona Dea and Dionysiac marriage
Rulers who performed hierogamy rituals
Images of Dionysus and women on Roman sarcophagi
Hercules at Dionysus' wedding
A Dionysism without Dionysus?
Men at the festival of Bona Dea
Plump Lyde's box
A ritual for boys
The festival for men

Initiations and political power

Bacchic festivals and Roman women
How many ceremonies for Bona Dea?
Livia and Bona Dea
The senaculum mulierum


The Italic origins of the Roman Omphale
Hercules Musarum
The meaning of Clodius disguisement
The ritual of Juno Caprotina
Roman girls raped by Hercules
Dreaming of the god
The marriage of Lavinia
Omphale: a goddess of Magna Græcia
Omphale, a Lucanian and Japygian goddess
Omphale within the Hellenistic cults.
Omphale or Demeter?.
Demetrian features of Bona Dea's festivals
The goddess of womanhood

The reign of Bacchus

Liber and Libera
Libera and Ariadne
Oriental cults?
The Orphism of Bona Dea
Orphic patterns

Divine daughters and wives

The rituals and mythology of Anna Perenna
Social status and fertility rituals
The meaning of the rituals
The girls enter a female association
The art of seduction
A male god approaches, is rebuffed, and a rape ensues
The fecundating divine ancestor appears
The divine marriage
Śuri, an Etruscan and Faliscan god
Cavatha, an Etruscan queen of the netherworld
Cavatha, the daughter
Cavatha, the wife
Śuri and Faunus in a Bacchic world
Pomonus and Vesuna
Circe and Picus
Pomona and Vertumnus
Marica and Mares
Minerva Tritonia and Triton in Lavinium

Opposition and complementarity

Forest and garden
The calendar



Source : Site de l'éditeur


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