Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 06 February 2023

Junofree

Junofree

  • James Rives

Subjects

  • Roman Myth and Religion

An old and important Italian goddess and one of the chief deities of Rome. Her name derives from the same root as iuventas (youth), but her original nature remains obscure. Wissowa's argument (see bibliog. below) that she developed from the iuno attributed to individual women is probably mistaken, since that concept apparently arose during the republic on the analogy of the genius. On the other hand, her roles as a goddess of women and as a civic deity were both ancient and widespread, and it is difficult to give priority to either. Juno was widely worshipped under a number of epithets throughout central Italy. Some of her important civic cults in Rome were in fact imported from this region. Thus in the 5th cent. bce Juno Regina was brought from the Etruscan town of Veii and received a temple on the Aventine. Also apparently Etruscan in origin was the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva; the Capitoline Juno was by the late republic also identified as Regina (‘Queen’), and regularly carried that epithet in the imperial period. Another imported cult was that of Juno Sospita, the chief deity of Lanuvium (mod. Lanuvio), which from 338 bce onwards was administered jointly with Rome. The distinctive iconography of this goddess, who wears a goatskin and carries a spear and shield, indicates a martial character; Dumézil believed that her full epithet, Sospita Mater Regina, confirmed his thesis that Juno was originally trivalent, with influence over military prowess, fertility, and political organization. The cult of Juno Lucina, the goddess of childbirth, appears both in Rome and in other parts of Latium. The foundation-day of her temple on the Esquiline, March 1, was traditionally celebrated as the Matronalia, when husbands gave presents to their wives. Peculiar to Rome is Juno Moneta, whose cult dates to the 4th cent. bce. The ancient association of her epithet with monere (to warn) is usually accepted, but its origins are unknown. The first mint in Rome was later located in or near her temple on the arx, hence the derivation of ‘money’ from Moneta. Other epithets, such as Pronuba, belong more to poetry than cult. The Roman conception of Juno's character was deeply affected by her identification with similar goddesses of other cultures. The most important was the Greek Hera: her mythology and characteristics were largely adopted for Juno, who was thus firmly established by the time of Plautus as the wife of Jupiter and the goddess of marriage. The great goddess of Carthage, Tanit, was also identified at a relatively early date with Juno, but had much less influence on her character. Apart from her part in the Capitoline Triad, Juno played a relatively minor role in the provinces. The exceptions are northern Italy, where the mother goddesses were sometimes called iunones, and Africa, where Juno Caelestis was heir to the cult of Tanit.

Bibliography

  • G. Wissowa, Religion und Kultus d. Römer, 2nd edn. (1912), 181–191.
  • Dumézil, Archaic Roman Religion, 291–303.
  • R. E. A. Palmer, Roman Religion and Roman Empire (1974), 3–56.
  • For Juno’s temples, M. Steinby (ed.), Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae, (1996), 3. 120–130.