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Juno (Latin pronunciation: /juːnoː/) was an ancient Roman goddess, the protector and special counselor of the state. She is a daughter of Saturn and sister (but also the wife) of the chief god Jupiter and the mother of Mars, Minerva and Vulcan. Her Greek equivalent is Hera.

As the patron goddess of Rome and the Roman empire she was called Regina ("queen") and, together with Jupiter and Minerva, was worshipped as a triad on the Capitol (Juno Capitolina) in Rome.

As the great Juno Moneta (which the ancients interpreted as "the one who warns"; this traditional etymology is badly formed, but has not been replaced) she guarded over the finances of the empire and had a temple on the Arx (one of two Capitoline hills), which was the Mint. She was also worshipped in many other cities, where temples were built in her honor.

Every year, on the first of March, women held a festival in honor of Juno called the Matronalia. On this day, lambs and other cattle were sacrificed in her honor. Another festival called the Nonae Caprotinae ("The Nones of the Wild Fig") was held on July 7. Juno is the patroness of marriage, and many people believe that the most favorable time to marry is June, the month named after the goddess. Lucina was an epithet for Juno as "she who brings children into light."

Juno's own warlike aspect among the Romans is apparent in her attire. She often appeared armed and wearing a goatskin cloak, which was the garment favoured by Roman soldiers on campaign. This warlike aspect was assimilated from the Greek goddess Athena, whose goatskin was called the 'aegis'.


EtymologyEdit

[1][2]Sitting Juno, Roman silverware of imperial era, Petit Palais (ADUT00168).There is a possible etymology for Juno in the Proto-Indo-European root *yeu-, "vital force", which has such derivatives as the English youth.[1] Although such a derivation could possibly be consistent with an origin as a mother goddess, it is more likely that the root *yeu- is used in the same sense as other Latin words derived from it, such as iuvenis ("young man", with derivatives such as juvenile and rejuvenate), which would imply that Juno's nature prior to the syncretism of Greek and Roman mythology was more akin to Diana's, as a maiden goddess of birth or midwifery. However, the Roman absorption of Greek myth replaced earlier characteristics of Juno with those of Hera, extending her domain from birth to marriage and promoting her to the role of Jupiter's wife and the queen of the gods. She could also throw lightning bolts like Jupiter.[2]

More immediately, Juno's Etruscan equivalent was Uni. There is currently more support for the theory that Juno is derived from Uni, and thus cannot have an Indo-European link to *yeu-. It is likely that one of these goddesses inspired the other, but whether Juno comes from Uni, or vice versa, remains disputed. "Uni" possibly meant "alone, unique, unit, union", but more examples of the Etruscan language proper will need to be found to see what Etruscans meant by uni.

The theory that Juno is derived from Uni is also supported by an ancient writer, Livy who states (Book V, Ab Urbe Condita ) that Juno was an Etruscan goddess from Veii, who was ceremonially adopted into the Roman pantheon when Veii was sacked in 396BC.

WorshipEdit

Every year, women held a festival in honor of Juno called the Matronalia. Another festival in her honor, the Nonae Caprotinae ("The Nones of the Wild Fig") was held on July 7. Many considered the month of June, which is named after Juno, the patroness of marriage, to be the most favorable time to marry. The Kalends of every month was also sacred to Juno, and she had festivals on July 1 and September 13

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