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Some Remarks on the Entry of Bona Dea into the African Provinces, with a Glance at the Italic Documentation

Federica Gatto et Gian Luca Gregori
p. 139-148

Résumés

Huit documents épigraphiques attestent le culte de BonaDea dans les provinces romaines d’Afrique. L’analyse de ce corpus met en lumière l’identité des adeptes et permet de contextualiser leur action rituelle. Certaines particularités observées dans les dédicaces africaines invitent à une comparaison avec la documentation italique.

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Introduction

  • 1 This work has been carried out as part of the project “Roman Gods’ Networks” (PDR_FNRS T023419F) d (...)
  • 2 For the contexts sacred to Bona Dea in Rome: Panciera 2016; Latium: Granino Cecere 1992 ; 2000 ; (...)
  • 3 For the correlation between Bona Dea and historical events involving her cult see Piccaluga 1964. (...)

1The evidence of the cult of Bona Dea comes mainly from Italy and the cult is attested above all in Rome, Latium uetus, Regio V and Regio X (between Aquileia and Tergeste)1. The abundance and complexity of the Italic sources has overshadowed the interest in the search for its vectors of diffusion outside the Peninsula. Numerous studies have been investigating the relationship between myth and cult2, and contextualizing the places sacred to the goddess in relation to the topography3. On the contrary, there seems to be sporadic interest in investigating the factors and the ways by which the cult of BonaDea became part of the North African pantheon.

  • 4 For a detailed study focusing on the specificities of Bona Dea worship in Africa, see Gatto 2020.

2The information contained in the epigraphic documents allows to define the profile of the dedicants who interacted with the goddess by defining her sphere of competence. The roots of the cult of Bona Dea are Italic: its migration in the African pantheon took place at a specific time. This study aims to define the chronology of the appearance of this cult and what motivated the African devotees to worship the goddess4.

  • 5 Macr., Sat. I, 12, 21.
  • 6 Cic., har. resp. V 8-9, in Pis. 39, 95; Plut., C­aes. 9; Cic. 28.

3Later, the peculiarities of the African context will be used as a term of comparison for an investigation into the documents attesting the Italic cult. The comparison involves the presence of male cult actors, the occurrences of the epithet Augusta attributed to the goddess, and a detailed excursus on dated dedications. Once the chronological gap between the Italic and African documents has been assessed, this study will demonstrate the lack of correspondence between the dated epigraphical offerings and the festivities in honour of the goddess, which the literary sources set at the 1st of May5, in the night between 4th and 5th of December6.

1. The African Epigraphic Corpus

  • 7 CIL, VIII 4509: Bone (!) De[e] (!) sac(rum) Iulius Martis ara[m] uotum quot promisit red(didit) l((...)
  • 8 AE 1960, 107: Bonae Deae Petronius Iustus leg(atus) Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore), reciperata salute.
  • 9 AE 1906, 92 = ILAlg, II, 2, 6863: Bone (!) Deae Augustae sacrum.
  • 10 CIL, VIII 20747: Deae [Bonae Va]letudini Sanc(tae) L(ucius) Cass[ius Restu]tus ex dec(urione), uet(...)
  • 11 AE 2010, 1842: P(ositum) K(alendis) Iuni(i)s Bona(e) Deea(e) (!) Aug(ustae) Donatus structor uotum (...)
  • 12 CIL, VIII 11795: Bone (!) Deae August(ae) sacr(um) Iulia Casta Felicitas uotum soluit l(ibens) a(n (...)

4In the Roman cities of North Africa, only eight inscriptions related to the cult of the Italic goddess Bona Dea have been found. Despite this scant epigraphic record, the African dossier can still be used to show the spread of Bona Dea’s cult through the southern Mediterranean provinces. Indeed, the wide geographical distribution of inscriptions attests that her devotees were active in each region of Roman Africa, except for Mauretania Tingitana. Among these attestations, four dedications were found in Numidia, two came from the city of Zarai7, one from Lambaesis8, and one from Sila (fig. 1)9. In Mauretania Caesariensis there are three epigraphic documents: one in Auzia10 and two in Nouar11, while there is only one inscription from Mactaris, in Proconsular Africa12. All the inscriptions reported above can be dated roughly to the 3rd century AD; nevertheless, chronological references found in CIL, VIII 20747 and AE 2010, 1842 reveal that these two inscriptions can be dated respectively to AD 235 and to AD June 1st, 259. Furthermore, on the basis of the same chronological indication, AE 1960, 107, which describes a legate’s dedication to the goddess, can be dated between AD 232 and 235.

Fig. 1: The dedication to Bona Dea Augusta discovered in Sila, Numidia, ILAlg, II, 2, 6863

Fig. 1: The dedication to Bona Dea Augusta discovered in Sila, Numidia, ILAlg, II, 2, 6863

(photo N. Benseddik)

  • 13 Concerning the notion of “puissance divine”: Bonnet, Belayche, Albert-Llorca 2017.

5The analysis of the epigraphic corpus illustrates the process by which Bona Dea’s cult was introduced into the northern African provinces and could help to point out the reasons that led the African worshippers to venerate the goddess. Our methodological approach will consider the actors of the goddess’ cult both as agents and promoters of its diffusion within the African pantheon. Furthermore, this study seeks to identify the agents involved in the process and to distinguish the phases of introduction and integration of Bona Dea’s cult through the evaluation of the impact of its devotees within either a public or private context. Subsequently, the survey will consider the different characteristic traits associated with the figure of Bona Dea within the local pantheon. Does the local version of the goddess show similarities with her Italian equivalent? Or can we identify any differences between the African and Italian goddesses, especially in relation to their divine features and spheres of influence? We will answer these questions by looking at the formulation and interpretation of the goddess’ onomastic sequences and the ways by which the epithets are combined with the theonym. Ultimately, this study will also consider if these dedications fit with the context of the dedication and the dedicants’ identity. Onomastic sequences will also be useful in identifying the distinctive features ­associat­ed with the goddess, and consequently in providing information on the “puissance divine”13 that the African dedicant wished to evoke. This study’s conclusions will highlight the conver­gences and divergences between the agents in the North African provinces and the Italic cult of the goddess.

2. Worshipping Bona Dea in the North African Provinces: Three Key Documents

6The altar offered in Lambaesis by the imperial legate Cnaeus Petronius Iunior Iustus will receive particular attention in this section. This document was originally discovered in the city’s Asklepieion during the excavations carried out in the 1960s. Unfortunately, the succinct description of the altar, reported only as found “in situ”, prevents us from relating the altar to any of the sacred spaces that surrounded the sanctuary.

  • 14 An example of evidence for this military euergetism is the consecration of a pool to Aesculapius a (...)
  • 15 CIL, VIII 2579 and 2585.
  • 16 We follow the classification proposed by N. Benseddik (2008, p. 121-122).
  • 17 In addition to the devotees of Aesculapius and Hygeia mentioned earlier, four later attestations c (...)

7Some preliminary remarks about the history of the Lambaesian cults and the divine networks that populated its sacred spaces can help explain the integration of Bona Dea’s cult within the pre-existing North African socio-cultural environment. The acropolis, indeed, showed its ­receptivity to the primitive healing power of Apollo and Hygeia. Here, the city’s military vocation went hand in hand with its occupants’ religious demands. The presence of healing divinities in the city’s pantheon could be explained by the community’s military interests in protecting people’s health, and in ensuring the benevolence of the gods. In fact, the governors here are not simple “actors”, but they become the “markers” of the entire makeup of Lambaesis’ religious system14. Thus, the religious activity is not limited to the religious practices reserved for Aesculapius and his daughter. Some inscriptions and archaeological traces reveal a remarkable religious fervour at the site, given that other gods who had the power of protection on the battlefield gradually established themselves around the healer gods par excellence. The two wings of the pronaos of the complex celebrate Silvanus Pegasianus and Jupiter Valens15. Small temples dedicated to various gods are placed throughout the peribola of the Asklepieion, suggesting how this became a pool for rites linked to salvation and healing, in line with the needs of the legion and governor16. The legates are authors of all the dedications found in this context17.

  • 18 AE 1960, 107: Bonae Deae Petronius Iustus,leg(atus) Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore), reciperata salute.

8Bona Dea is the deity chosen by the legate Cnaeus Petronius Probatus Iunior Iustus. Just as with all the other altars offered by the commanders of Numidia to the deities cohabitating in the Asklepieion, the inscription is engraved on a limestone support. The altar was found relocated in a wall to the north-east part of the temple of Aesculapius, and is currently preserved in the sanctuary. The rather simple textual formulation consists of four elements: the invocation, the subject of the dedication, the office held by the dedicator, and the reason for the invocation. Petronius Iustus addresses the goddess from his position as legatus Augusti pro praetore, and thanks her for curing him of an unspecified disease (fig. 2)18.

Fig. 2: The altar offered to Bona Dea by Petronius Iustus at Lambaesis, now preserved in the Asklepieium of the city, AE 1960, 107

Fig. 2: The altar offered to Bona Dea by Petronius Iustus at Lambaesis, now preserved in the Asklepieium of the city, AE 1960, 107

(https://edh.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/​edh/​foto/​F000182, © M. Spannagel)

  • 19 PIR VI, 302, p. 115.
  • 20 AE 1967, 579: [Cnaeo] Petronio [Pro]bato Iuniori [Iust]o leg(ato) Aug(usti) pr(o) [pr(aetore)], pr (...)
  • 21 CIL, VIII 8327 = ILAlg, II, 3, 7911 (222-250 AD): Cn(aeo) [Petronio] Probato I[uni]ori Iusto le[g((...)
  • 22 CIL, X 1254 = EDR101126 (231-235 AD): Cn(aeo) Petronio Probato Iu[ni]ori Iusto c(larissimo) u(iro) (...)
  • 23 Thanks to the inscriptions from Nola and from Lambaesis we are able to trace the stages of the leg (...)
  • 24 This is apparent from the scarce statuary representing the goddess. For an example in which the id (...)

9The dedication is a proof of a precise action carried out by Bona Dea, and ensures that the beneficiary of the divine favour is Cnaeus Petronius Probatus Iunior Iustus19. Among the four inscriptions bearing the name of this legate, the ex-voto to Bona Dea is the only one produced on the devotee’s personal initiative. Furthermore, in this epigraphic example, the name of the legate is exceptionally mentioned in an incomplete variant, unlike three further documents. Its complete form is attested in another Lambaesian titulus20, in an honorary inscription from Cuicul, which defines him as an exemplum rarissimum of praeses21 and, lastly, in a dedication placed in Nola (Campania) by Marcus Terentius Aelianus, a centurion serving with the legio VIII Augusta22. In fact, thanks to the latter and the inscription from Lambaesis we are able to trace the stages of the legate’s career up to his stay in the African province. The gratitude expressed towards the legate by Marcus Terentius Aelianus could indicate a relationship of reciprocal friendship (perhaps due to the fact that Nola is the hometown of both of them), enlivened by the centurion militancy in the ranks of the legio VIII Augusta, of which Petronius Iustus had been legatus. However, neither of the two documents mentioned gives any further details of any other institutional offices the legate subsequently held during the African legatio23. At the end of this office, Petronius Iustus might have given up his political and military career, perhaps on account of his persistent health problems or due to his death. Indeed, the Lambaesian titulus of Petronius Iustus is made explicitly recuperata salute. Therefore, it coincides with the recovery following an illness that had struck him during his African mission. The function that the legatus accords to Bona Dea is that of a healing goddess. Given her cohabitation with the healing gods who dominate the religious area of the city, it is likely that in Lambaesis the goddess was initially linked to Hygeia. However, the salutary function and the iconographic motifs shared by these two goddesses24 do not seem to prevent Bona Dea from maintaining an independent identity from Hygeia.

  • 25 She is Bona Dea Venus Cnidia (CIL, VI 76 = EDR158754), Bona Dea Isiaca (AE 1992, 537 = EDR025001), (...)

10In other contexts, the dynamic nature of Bona Dea is expressed in divine polyonymic combinations25. One of the most complex invocation formulas is found in the dedication made in Auzia by Lucius Cassius Restutus and his wife Clodia Luciosa. The couple financed the erection of a temple sacred to Dea Bona Valetudo Sancta and, in AD 235, offered it to the res publica. This act increased the visibility of the dedicators within the city, as well as the offering of the legate. Here, Cassius Restutus lists his former and present functions: a veteran and a perpetual flamen. Restutus and Luciosa financed the construction of a temple intended for public worship. Their euergetism could have coincided with the introduction of the goddess into the city’s public pantheon. The complex onomastic sequence designating her, Dea Bona Valetudo Sancta, will be analyzed later.

  • 26 I refer, for example, to the altar of Zmaragdus cum Faenia Onesime dedicated to Bona Dea Galbilla (...)
  • 27 In Auzia, the habit of dedicating “as a couple” is attested by CIL, VIII 9015 (T. Aelius Longinus (...)

11“Dedicating as a couple” to Bona Dea in Africa is not exclusively idiosyncratic to Cassius Restutus and Clodia Luciosa; nonetheless, such behaviour is typical of the dedications of other devotees of the goddess, such as Caecilius Vincentius and Valeria Matrona in Zarai. Like other dedications found in Roman Italy, the husband’s name immediately precedes that of his wife26. The spouses of Zarai are connected by the conjunction cum. Given that other sacred dedications made by couples in Auzia use the same conjunction to express their conjugal bonds, the restitution proposed for the devout spouses of the inscription mentioning Dea Bona Valetudo Sancta appears convincing27.

  • 28 In CIL, VIII 9021 this indication has been erased, but the construction of the sentence suggests i (...)
  • 29 As is the case in CIL, VIII 9020 (XI Kalendas Martias: dedication to the Dii Sancti Pluto, Cyria a (...)
  • 30 The structor is often a slave whose competence lies within the field of construction (OLD 1968, s. (...)
  • 31 The typology of the support is confirmed by N. Benseddik (2010, p. 174, no. 1), but it could also (...)

12The province of Mauretania Caesariensis was established in AD 39, therefore the offering is dated to AD 235. Since nine of the twelve tituli sacri of the city indicate the annus prouinciae, the devotees here seem to conform to a recurring epigraphic habit in Auzia28. However, unlike other devotees, Cassius Restutus and his wife do not specify the day of the year chosen for the dedication29. Among the dedications to Bona Dea found in the African provinces, only one specifies the year and day of the offering. This document, now lost, was found in Nouar (Mauretania Caesariensis) and attests that the structor30 Donatus offered an altar to fulfill his vow to Bona Dea Augusta31. In the same town, an arula by Anna Quinta and a vow addressed to the same goddess – this time deprived of the epithet Augusta – allow us to suppose the existence of a sacred space used for a stable cult practice, regularly attended by the cultores of the divinity.

  • 32 The assumption is, however, legitimate because, as J. Scheid (2012, p. 290) states, “the Roman rel (...)
  • 33 These include two dedications to Genius Nouar Augustus (CIL, VIII 10907: diem XVII Kalendas Februa (...)

13The mason Donatus chooses the 1st of June to fulfill his vow. However, one of the two Roman feasts of Bona Dea was celebrated on May 1st. Did the dedicant make a mistake? Or did he purposely choose this day which corresponded to the Roman feast of the goddess Carna, protectress of physical well-being? One could suppose that in the local calendar Bona Dea was celebrated on June 1st without any connection with the Roman festivity32. Nevertheless, in Nouar, our mason is not the only devotee to highlight the date of the dedication, but six other sacred inscriptions indicate the day, the month, and the annus prouinciae33. Among the dedicants using this type of chronological reference, only Donatus is a slave, as can be deduced from his nomenclature limited to the cognomen. The others, with tria nomina, are free men; all the devotees who date their ritual actions within the city are male.

3. A Glance at the Italic Documentation: The Identity of the Actors

  • 34 About Martis surname see now Ricci 2021.

14Who are Bona Dea’s worshippers in Africa? While this cult is largely practised by women in Italy, men seem to be protagonists in the African provinces. In fact, the inscriptions mentioned above record five men and four women. The latter act alone only twice; in the two remaining cases they are mentioned alongside their husbands; three men act alone. In Africa, we find a reversal of the trend established for all epigraphic sources relating to Bona Dea, where women represent 63% and men 37% of the total devotees. The wide diffusion of the nomen gentilicium of Bona Dea’s devotees makes it difficult to trace their origin on an onomastic basis. Indeed, their names are diffused throughout Africa. But some cognomina allow us to put forwards more plausible hypotheses on the origin of the dedicants: Martis and Luciosa, as well as Donatus and Vincentius, are widespread especially in the African provinces34. It is likely that the legate Petronius Iustus had Campanian origins. Only one woman, Iulia Casta Felicitas, has both a cognomen and an agnomen in addition to her gentilicium. With the exception of this woman from Mactaris, other women use a bipartite onomastic formula. Based on their cognomina, we can consider Iulia Casta, Clodia Luciosa, Valeria Matrona, and Annia Quinta as ingenuae. The same observations can be applied to Iulius Martis, and Caecilius Vicentius. Only Donatus is probably a slave because of the unique name. Petronius Iustus is a senator, while Cassius Restutus is a veteran, a perpetual flamen of the colony, and therefore part of the local elite.

15Among the reasons that lead devotees to invoke the favour of Bona Dea, we observe a prevalence of initiatives taken after the dissolution of a vow, cited five times. Only two of them, acting as a couple, could have had sufficient economic resources to offer a temple along with its ornaments. In other cases, the devotees offer an altar dedicated to the goddess. Only the legate Petronius Iustus specifies his reason for thanking the goddess. This legate, and Cassius Restutus indicate their institutional positions; the only worshipper who mentions his profession is the slave Donatus.

4. Polyonymic Combinations and Occurrences of the Epithet Augusta

  • 35 The inversion of the elements of the theonym can also be seen in CIL, X 6595 = EDR149778 (Velitrae(...)
  • 36 Caelestibus Augustis Sanctissimis (CIL, VIII 9015); Diis Sanctis Libero et Liberae Conseruatoribus (...)
  • 37 AE 1981, 348 = EDR078247 (Volsinii): Bonae Deae Sanc(tae) Maecia Rennia Fuscianilla et Iulia Profu (...)

16The forms of the theonym used in invocations to the goddess present some linguistic anomalies in relation to the canonical form Bonae Deae, usually attested in Italy. Among the devotees of the goddess in Africa, only the legate Petronius Iustus uses the correct form: this might not be a coincidence, since he is the only one who has Italian origins. In the polyonymic sequence chosen for the titular deity of the temple built by Cassius Restutus and Clodia Luciosa, Dea Bona Valetudo Sancta, the elements that compose the theonym Bona Dea are inverted35. The adjectival element Bona comes after the nominal element Dea, and is in turn followed by Valetudo, a deity whose theonym derives from a noun. The divine onomastic composition ends with the adjective Sancta, placed after the name of the goddess Valetudo. The formulation, therefore, follows this pattern: “god + qualifying epithet + god + qualifying epithet”. If the two adjectives, bona and sancta, respectively qualify Dea and Valetudo, we might think that the dedication is addressed to both Bona Dea and Valetudo Sancta, presumably honoured within the same temple. It should be noted, however, that the adjective sanctus is widely used in the sacred inscriptions of Auzia, and qualifies a wide variety of gods and goddesses36. Moreover, in Italy at this time, Bona Dea is called Sancta or Sanctissima on several occasions37. These observations suggest that Bona Dea was, in fact, the titular goddess of the temple at Auzia.

  • 38 In Mactaris the epithet Augusta is also associated with Mater Magna (Matri Deum Magnae Ideae Augus (...)
  • 39 In Zarai, the gods called Augusti are Saturn (Deo Domino Saturno Augusto: CIL, VIII 4512), Sol (So (...)
  • 40 In Sila the only deity with the epithet Augusta is Bona Dea.
  • 41 In Nouar the most attested Augusta deity is Saturn (Saturno Augusto, 11 dedications: CIL, VIII 109 (...)
  • 42 The dedications to Bona Dea Augusta are: CIL, V 756 = EDR116843, 760 = EDR116846, 761 = EDR116847 (...)

17The variations undergone by the theonym and the polyonymic combinations attested epigraphically in the African provinces can be combined with the case in which Bona Dea receives the epithet Augusta. This characterises the goddess in four of the texts from Mactaris38, Zarai39, Sila40 and Nouar41. This epithet is used sporadically both in the Italic corpus, and in the other provinces; in fact, from a total of 130 documents, Bona Dea is called Augusta only five times42.

5. Timing in the Dedications to Bona Dea: a Correlation with the Festivities in Her Honour?

18The chronological indications that appear in the dedications offered to Bona Dea from Africa do not seem to show clear links to the dates of the Roman festivities of the goddess. As noted above, African dedications do not conform to the Roman religious calendar that sources associate with Bona Dea. In this regard, it is interesting to make a comparison with what emerges from the Italian documents.

  • 43 CIL, XIV 3437 = EDR163410: Iulia Athenais, mag(istra) Bonae Deae Seuinae, fecit pauimentum et se[d (...)
  • 44 In Nazzano (Seperna?) a dedication (CIL, XI 3866 = EDR144190) lists the gifts of Iulia Procula, a (...)
  • 45 CIL, XIV 4057 = EDR144614: Numini domus Aug(ustae) Blastus Eutactianus et Secundus Iuli Quadrati c (...)
  • 46 At the time of the construction of the original temple Iulius Quadratus was consul for the second (...)
  • 47 CIL, XIV 3530: Bonae Deae Sanctissimae Caelesti L(ucius) Paquedius Festus redemptor operum Caesar((...)

19The area of Latium uetus has produced a wide range of interesting epigraphic examples. In the territory of Praeneste, a dedication to Bona Dea Seuina was set up on an unspecified day before the Kalendae of June43. This initiative was taken by Iulia Athenais, a magistra who financed some renovations at the place of worship sacred to Bona Dea. The indication of the consules in the inscription allows us to date the offering to AD 11144. A similar pattern can be observed at Fidenae, where Blastus Eutactianus, Secundus, and Itala address the numen of the domus Augusta45. The two freedmen celebrate the sevirate, while Itala celebrates the magisterium, which was probably linked to a collegium of priestesses of Bona Dea (the woman uses the formula ob magisterium, unattested elsewhere). They celebrate these new positions through the construction of a place of worship, dedicated on September 18th46. The three actors involved in the dedication are freedmen of the consul Iulius Quadratus. A consular dating is also chosen by a redemptor operum Caesaris et publicorum in charge of completing the canal of the Aqua Claudia, that passed over mons Aeflanus47. Paquedius Festus thanks Bona Dea Sanctissima Caelestis for having helped him complete this ambitious project: he makes his dedication on July 7th, AD 88, during Domitian’s fourteenth consulate.

  • 48 CIL, X 1549 = EDR129769: C(aius) Auillius December redemptor marmorarius Bonae Diae cum Vellia Cin (...)

20The Campanian territory provides evidence for another dating method used by a group of cultores of Bona Dea: on two occasions dedications are dated by means of association with a priestly office. For example, in Puteoli, an ­inscription provides evidence for the activity of the redemptor ­marmorarius Caius Auillius December, who along with his contubernalis, Vellia Cinnamis, chose October 27th to fulfil their vow48. The use of posita and dedicata would suggest that the object in question was a statue. The offering was set up during the priesthood of the imperial freedman Claudius Philadespotus; the reference to the consul-designate allows us to date this to the year AD 62.

  • 49 CIL, VI 68 = EDR161210: Felix publicus Asinianus pontific(um) (scil. seruus) Bonae Deae Agresti Fe (...)
  • 50 In literary sources the presence of an herbarium, useful for the priestesses when preparing medici (...)
  • 51 This mode of dating with reference to the priest in charge was rather common, especially in sacred (...)

21A further peculiarity lies in the way that Felix Asinianus uses to set his religious act in time49. Felix Asinianus, a slave linked to the college of pontiffs, performed his ritual action in the Vrbs, sacrificing a white heifer and dedicating an ex-voto to thank Bona Dea Agrestis Felicula for curing him after a complicated eye disease (ob luminibus restitutis). This devotee specifies that the intervention of a priestess was fundamental for his healing. Cannia Fortunata, the ministra nominated in the inscription, was probably linked to the repository of medical science and was perhaps engaged in the preparation of medicinae (he claims to have been medicinis sanatus, l. 7)50. The closing formula ministerio Canniae Fortunatae fixes these events in time: he was healed during the period of the ministerium carried out by the priestess of Bona Dea51.

Conclusive Remarks

  • 52 For a review of various aspects of the cult of Bona Dea, Marcattili 2010. On the latter’s links wi (...)
  • 53 Ov., fast. V, 147-158: quo feror? Augustus mensis mihi carminis huius / ius habet: interea Diua ca (...)
  • 54 Ov., fast. V, 129-130: Praestitibus Maiae Laribus uidere Kalendae / aram constitui paruaque signa (...)
  • 55 Macr., Sat. I, 12, 21: Auctor est Cornelius Labeo huic Maiae, id est Terrae, aedem Kalendis Maiis (...)
  • 56 Macr., Sat. I, 12, 29: ecce occasio nominis, quo Maiam eandem esse et Terram et Bonam Deam diximus (...)

22After this overview of dedications with specific chronological references, one would expect some connections, at least in some cases, between the dates chosen by devotees and the official feast for Bona Dea. As far as it was the case, it should be acknowledged that in the preserved Fasti we do not find any explicit mention of official festivities for Bona Dea. Determining an exact date for the celebration of the goddess, which corresponds to the dies natalis of the temple on the Aventine Saxum, was only possible due to the substantial assimilation between Maia and Bona Dea. This ­equivalence has been established both by Ovid and Macrobius. The two authors write in different cultural frameworks, but at least in the passages which refer to Bona Dea, they show a similar etiological purpose52. Before recounting the historical events that concern the sanctuary and the site chosen for its foundation53, Ovid states that a sacred altar had to be erected at the Kalendae of May in honour of Maia and the Lares Praestites54. To explain the etymology of the month of May, Macrobius describes the mythical-ritual complex around Fauna - Bona Dea. The opening and the conclusion of the narration summarise the basis on which the bond between the two goddesses has been consolidated. The tale begins by stating that the month in which the sacrifice to Maia had to be made was May55, and the digression closes with an equivalence between Maia, Bona Dea, and Terra56.

  • 57 In this regard, see the remarks in Bruun 2018, p. 369-371.

23However, none of the sacred inscriptions bearing the date of a public, collective or private event involving one or more devotees of Bona Dea, date to the Kalendae of May. In Roman Italy, the dates attested are the result of decision-making by an institutional figure57. Two magistrae, Iulia Athenais and Iulia Procula, act on personal initiative; Itala, recently appointed magistra, dedicates with her seuiri colleagues, encouraging the whole citizen community of Fidenae to gather around an epulum.

24We note that male devotees active in Africa, such as Petronius Iustus, Cassius Restutus and Donatus, as well as the Italian redemptores Paquedius Festus and Auillius December, merge their religious and professional profiles. On the contrary, women involved in the cult of Bona Dea often assume religious tasks or, if this is not the case, they do not allude to any other details about their private life, except for those who act alongside their husbands, like Clodia Luciosa.

  • 58 Arnhold 2015.

25The limited corpus of inscriptions attesting to the cult of Bona Dea in Africa makes it possible to note some differences compared to the Italian framework. In Africa, the participation of male devotees is striking58. In this regard, it should be noted that both in Italy and in Africa men finance the construction of the sacred places dedicated to the goddess, thus contributing to the entrenchment of a sustainable ritual practice. At the same time, Bona Dea is also honoured in the African provinces by women, acting alone or partnered with their husbands. The identified male agency shows a variety of juridical statuses and occupations – ranging from a legate, to a slave-mason, a veteran, and a member of the local elite.

26The issue of the introduction of the goddess’ worship into the African prouinciae remains open. The cult’s beginnings could have been motivated by the goddess’ function related to the protection of the salus of Romans within Africa. Indeed, her recognised role as a healer may suggest the hypothesis that her cult was introduced to Lambaesis by the legate Petronius Iustus or by one of his predecessors, whose traces of religious activity have not been found. The assumption suggested above is based on the fact that only Petronius could have practised this cult in Italy, in a context where it had already been well established for two centuries. This would explain the reason behind the fact that the legate’s dedication is the only one that correctly spells the goddess’ name. If the channel of introduction of the African cult is linked to Petronius Iustus, this would also explain the fact that the epigraphic traces of the cult in Africa are relatively late in comparison to the Italian corpus, where it is attested between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. Even though the cult is attested in most of the African provinces, its wide diffusion contrasts with the relatively low density of evidence in each of the cities concerned. Therefore, the cult of Bona Dea does not seem to have thoroughly established itself in the African provinces.

27The reasons for this could lie in the important presence of salutary cults which were deeply rooted in the religious imagination of the African cultores, specifically those of Aesculapius and Hygeia; their cults could have attracted and canalised the interest of actors in the ritual sphere, leading to a homologizing of divine powers and the consequential decrease of interest towards a goddess with similar features, and an analogous sphere of influence, as was the case for Bona Dea.

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Notes

1 This work has been carried out as part of the project “Roman Gods’ Networks” (PDR_FNRS T023419F) directed by Fr. Van Haeperen (UCLouvain) and Y. Berthelet (ULiège). The Authors are grateful to Françoise Van Haeperen for giving them the opportunity to carry out this study while taking advantage of her generous and helpful remarks. This work originates from the paper “Bona Dea et ses agents cultuels en Afrique” presented on 20/02/2020 at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid at the colloquium Lived Ancient Religion in North Africa, organized by V. Gasparini, not published in the conference Proceedings. Paragraph 1 is by G.L. Gregori; the others are by F. Gatto. The Authors are grateful to N. Benseddik for sending them the photo of AE 1960, 107, and giving permission for it to be published in this article.

2 For the contexts sacred to Bona Dea in Rome: Panciera 2016; Latium: Granino Cecere 1992 ; 2000 ; Mari 2012 (Mons Aeflanus, between Tibur and Praeneste); Cébeillac-Gervasoni 2004 (Ostia); Evangelisti 2012 (Priuernum); Fontana 2016 (Tergeste).

3 For the correlation between Bona Dea and historical events involving her cult see Piccaluga 1964. For the female aspects of the cult and its implications within the mythological dimension, Böels-Janssen 2008; Marcattili 2010; Spencer 2001; Fabre-Serris 2016. For the general aspects of Bona Dea’s cult Brouwer 1989 and Mastrocinque 2014 are useful, though the lack of a comparative approach between the cultic practices diffused in the various provinces of the Empire and a focus on the role of the cultic actors in the transposition of the devotion to Bona Dea outside the Italian borders.

4 For a detailed study focusing on the specificities of Bona Dea worship in Africa, see Gatto 2020.

5 Macr., Sat. I, 12, 21.

6 Cic., har. resp. V 8-9, in Pis. 39, 95; Plut., C­aes. 9; Cic. 28.

7 CIL, VIII 4509: Bone (!) De[e] (!) sac(rum) Iulius Martis ara[m] uotum quot promisit red(didit) l(ibens) a(nimo), s(oluit) p(ecunia) [s(ua)]; CIL, VIII 10765: Bone (!) Deae Aug(ustae) Caecilius Vincentius cum Valeria Matrona aram de suo fecerunt et d(edicauerunt).

8 AE 1960, 107: Bonae Deae Petronius Iustus leg(atus) Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore), reciperata salute.

9 AE 1906, 92 = ILAlg, II, 2, 6863: Bone (!) Deae Augustae sacrum.

10 CIL, VIII 20747: Deae [Bonae Va]letudini Sanc(tae) L(ucius) Cass[ius Restu]tus ex dec(urione), uet(eranus), fl(amen) p(er)p(etuus) col(oniae) [cum Clo]dia Luciosa (scil. uxore) eius templ[um cum orna]mentis sua pecunia fece[runt dedica]ueruntque et reip(ublicae) do[no deder]unt (scil. anno) pr(ouinciae) CLXXXXVI.

11 AE 2010, 1842: P(ositum) K(alendis) Iuni(i)s Bona(e) Deea(e) (!) Aug(ustae) Donatus structor uotum s(oluit) l(ibens) a(nimo) a(nno) p(rouinciae) CCXX; AE 2010, 1843: Arula Bona(e) Deais (!) Annia Quinta uotum [s(oluit) l(ibens) a(nimo)].

12 CIL, VIII 11795: Bone (!) Deae August(ae) sacr(um) Iulia Casta Felicitas uotum soluit l(ibens) a(nimo).

13 Concerning the notion of “puissance divine”: Bonnet, Belayche, Albert-Llorca 2017.

14 An example of evidence for this military euergetism is the consecration of a pool to Aesculapius and Hygeia that Caius Prastina Messalinus, legate of legion III Augusta, promotes alongside his family (cum suis) in AD 143-146, as attested in AE 1915, 26. After about twenty years, the legionaries chose this same site as a nucleus to found a temple, and decide to consecrate it to these same divinities (CIL, VIII 2579 a,b,c).

15 CIL, VIII 2579 and 2585.

16 We follow the classification proposed by N. Benseddik (2008, p. 121-122).

17 In addition to the devotees of Aesculapius and Hygeia mentioned earlier, four later attestations can be added. Among them, we find Caunius Priscus, who dedicates with his wife and sons (CIL, VIII 2588), Cominius Cassianus, uir clarissimus and appointed consul (CIL, VIII 2589); Aurelius Decimus addresses his dedication to the Dis bonis numinibus praesentibus of Aesculapius and Salus (AE 1973, 630); Domitius Zenofilus exalts the power of Aesculapius and Hygeia, by which adverse diseases are repelled (AE 2011, 1524).

18 AE 1960, 107: Bonae Deae Petronius Iustus, leg(atus) Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore), reciperata salute.

19 PIR VI, 302, p. 115.

20 AE 1967, 579: [Cnaeo] Petronio [Pro]bato Iuniori [Iust]o leg(ato) Aug(usti) pr(o) [pr(aetore)], praesidi [prouin]ciae Num[idiae, le]-g(ato) leg(ionum) du[arum XII]II Gemin(ae) [et VIII Aug(ustae) Seuer(ianarum) Alexandrian(arum), proco(n)s(uli) prou(inciae) Cretae, leg(ato) prou(inciae) Achaiae, pr(aetori) fideicommissa]-rio, t[rib(uno) pl(ebis)], quaesto[ri prou(inciae)] Africae, cu[rat(ori) r]ei p(ublicae) Ardea[tin(orum), II]IIuiro ui[arum cura]ndarum [---]S [------]. A document found in Verecunda (Numidia) and published in CIL, VIII 4233, is related to the same Petronius Iustus: Publiliis Iusto Caecilianae Numis[ianae (?)] cc. (i.e. clarissimis) pp. (i.e. pueris) patronis nepotibus Petroni Ius[ti].

21 CIL, VIII 8327 = ILAlg, II, 3, 7911 (222-250 AD): Cn(aeo) [Petronio] Probato I[uni]ori Iusto le[g(ato)] Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore), c(larissimo) u(iro), praesidi exempli [rarissimi].

22 CIL, X 1254 = EDR101126 (231-235 AD): Cn(aeo) Petronio Probato Iu[ni]ori Iusto c(larissimo) u(iro), leg(ato) [l]egion(is) duarum XII[I] Gemin(ae) et VIII Aug(ustae) Se[uerianar(um) Alexandr]i[an(arum)], procons(uli) prouinc(iae) Cretae, leg(ato) prouinc(iae) Achaiae, prae[t(ori)] fideic[om]missar(io), tribuno p[le]bi, [quae]stori [proui]nciae [A]fric[ae], [cura]tori r[ei] pu[b]licae Ardeat[i]norum, quattuoruir(o) uiarum curandarum M(arcus) Terentius Aelianus ((centurio)) l[eg(ionis) V]III Aug(ustae) pr[aesi]di iustissimo.

23 Thanks to the inscriptions from Nola and from Lambaesis we are able to trace the stages of the legate’s career up to his stay in the African province. The reason for the dedication was probably the appointment of Petronius as leg. Aug. pro praetore of the province. The inscription of Nola predates that of Lambaesis, so the links between the Nolan centurion and Petronius Iustus do not date back to the latter’s African stay. If the Nola document does date from the end of Severus Alexander’s reign, the African stay may be dated slightly later, cfr. Thomasson 1996, p. 164 n. 62; Jacques 1983, p. 117-119, n. 47.

24 This is apparent from the scarce statuary representing the goddess. For an example in which the identity of the goddess is confirmed by the dedicatory inscription (CIL, XIV 2251 = EDR137776): Bertinetti, Candilio 2013.

25 She is Bona Dea Venus Cnidia (CIL, VI 76 = EDR158754), Bona Dea Isiaca (AE 1992, 537 = EDR025001), Bona Dea Domina Heia Augusta Triumphalis (AE 1964, 270), Bona Dea Hygia (CIL, VI 72 = EDR161213), Bona Dea Mater Idaea Magna (AE 2002, 961), Bona Dea Caelestis (CIL, X 4849 = EDR119568), Bona Dea Arcensis Triumphalis (EE, VIII 183).

26 I refer, for example, to the altar of Zmaragdus cum Faenia Onesime dedicated to Bona Dea Galbilla (CIL, VI 30855 = EDR121254) and that of Restutus, Trajan’s freedman, and Valeria Donata (CIL, VI 39819 = EDR106500). Both texts open with the name of the husband, and close with that of the wife. Other couples of devotees of Bona Dea are Vrsia Sabellina and Publius Scapula (Letta 2016, pp. 27-28, n. 16); L. Venuleius Montanus, L. Venuleius Montanus Apronianus, and his respective wives Laetilla and Celerina (CIL, XI 1735 = EDR079075); Homerus and Alfia Lysis (Molle 2011, 52-54 no. 1); C. Tullius Hesper and Tullia Restituta (CIL, VI 69 = EDR160565). An exception is the donation that Voluptas Rutuleia offers pro Hermete (CIL, VI 30853 = EDR161299). To these couples we can also add Caius Auillius December and his contubernalis Vellia Cinnamis (CIL, X 1549 = EDR129769).

27 In Auzia, the habit of dedicating “as a couple” is attested by CIL, VIII 9015 (T. Aelius Longinus cum Aelia Saturnina), 9016 (Postumius Maurus cum Liburnia Felicia), 9017 (Marius Ianuarius cum Omidia), 9020 (Q. Clodius Clodianus cum Iulia Donata), 9021 (M. Cornelius Crispinus cum Cominia Romana), 9026 (P. Caelius Victor cum Aurelia Germanilla). The only male/female “couple” which is an exception is that composed of a priest and an Aelia (CIL, VIII 9027): these are linked by et. Their degree of kinship – if this is the case – is not explained.

28 In CIL, VIII 9021 this indication has been erased, but the construction of the sentence suggests its presence after Kalendis Martiis.

29 As is the case in CIL, VIII 9020 (XI Kalendas Martias: dedication to the Dii Sancti Pluto, Cyria and Ceres mater), 9021 (Kalendis Marti(i)s: dedication to Pluto and Ceres Cyria), 9016 (one day before the Kalendae of June: dedication to the Dii Sancti Conseruatores Liber and Libera).

30 The structor is often a slave whose competence lies within the field of construction (OLD 1968, s.v. «structor», p. 1829). He could be a builder, an architect or a mason. At least linguistically, the low accuracy of the textual composition suggests that Donatus was probably a mason.

31 The typology of the support is confirmed by N. Benseddik (2010, p. 174, no. 1), but it could also be the pedestal of a statue.

32 The assumption is, however, legitimate because, as J. Scheid (2012, p. 290) states, “the Roman religion and calendar were not universal, and those involved did not celebrate in all holy places the progress and commemoration of one and the same myth (…)”.

33 These include two dedications to Genius Nouar Augustus (CIL, VIII 10907: diem XVII Kalendas Februarias a. p. CCV and 20430: XVII Kalendas Februarias a. p. CCV), three to Saturnus Augustus (CIL, VIII 20441: XI Kalendas Martias a. p. CCXXV; CIL, VIII 20436: VIIII Kalendas Iunias a. p. CL[---] and CIL, VIII 20438: IIII Kalendas Ianuarias a. p. CLXXXIII). In one case, the name of the recipient deity is not mentioned (AE 1966, 548: XV Kalendas Februarias a. p. CCXV).

34 About Martis surname see now Ricci 2021.

35 The inversion of the elements of the theonym can also be seen in CIL, X 6595 = EDR149778 (Velitrae): Antoniae Q(uinti) f(iliae) Deae Bonae Piae; CIL, I2 3025 = EDR075450 (Ostia): Octauia M(arci) f(ilia) Gamalae (scil. uxor) portic(um) poliend(am) et sedeilia faciun(da) et culina(m) tegend(am) D(eae) B(onae) curavit; E.E., VIII 106 (Sant’Agata dei Goti): Deae Bona(e) cum suis d(onum) d(edit) L(ucius) Clouatius Clarus.

36 Caelestibus Augustis Sanctissimis (CIL, VIII 9015); Diis Sanctis Libero et Liberae Conseruatoribus (CIL, VIII 9016); Numini Sancto Victoriae Victrici (CIL, VIII 9017); Deo Sanctissimo Phoebo (CIL, VIII 9019); Plutoni Curiae et Cereri Matri Diis Sanctis (CIL, VIII 9020); Plutoni et Curiae Cereri Diti Sanctis (CIL, VIII 9021); Victoriae Augustae Sanctae Deae (CIL, VIII 9025); Virtuti Deae Sanctae Augustae (CIL, VIII 9026-9027); Caelestibus Augustibus Sanctissimisque (CIL, VIII 20745); Deo Sancto Saturno Augusto (AE 1935, 43).

37 AE 1981, 348 = EDR078247 (Volsinii): Bonae Deae Sanc(tae) Maecia Rennia Fuscianilla et Iulia Profutura restituer[unt]; CIL, X 5383 = EDR131083 (Aquinum): Bonae Deae Sanctae sacr(um) uoto susc(epto) merito libens, Terentia Thallusa fecit. To these dedications we can add the inscription conserved in the British Museum to Bona Dea Sanctissima Annianensis (CIL, VI 69 = EDR160565): C(aius) Tullius Hesper et Tullia Restituta Bonae Deae Annianensi Sanctissim(ae) donum posuerunt, and the ex-voto Bonae Deae Sanctissimae Caelesti from Paquedius Festus (CIL, XIV 3530, Aefula). For the integral text, see below.

38 In Mactaris the epithet Augusta is also associated with Mater Magna (Matri Deum Magnae Ideae Augustae: CIL, VIII 23400-23401) and Venus (Veneri Augustae: CIL, VIII 23405).

39 In Zarai, the gods called Augusti are Saturn (Deo Domino Saturno Augusto: CIL, VIII 4512), Sol (Soli Deo Augusto: CIL, VIII 4513) and Victoria (Victoriae Augustae: CIL, VIII 4514).

40 In Sila the only deity with the epithet Augusta is Bona Dea.

41 In Nouar the most attested Augusta deity is Saturn (Saturno Augusto, 11 dedications: CIL, VIII 10912-13, 20433, 20435-38, 20441-43, 20448), followed by the Genius Nouar Augustus, so called in two texts: CIL, VIII 10907 and 20430.

42 The dedications to Bona Dea Augusta are: CIL, V 756 = EDR116843, 760 = EDR116846, 761 = EDR116847 (Aquileia, Regio X); CIL, XI 2996 = EDR156587 (Viterbo-Pagliano, Regio VII) and IlJug 260 (Dalmatia).

43 CIL, XIV 3437 = EDR163410: Iulia Athenais, mag(istra) Bonae Deae Seuinae, fecit pauimentum et se[de]s et officinam, tecta extendit et tegulas quae minus erant de suo reposuit et aram aeneam q(uo)q(ue) u(ersus) s[edi?]bus p(edum) CXC et ferro incluso d(---), K(alendis) Iun(iis), C(aio) Cal[purnio Pis]one, [M(arco) Vettio Bola?]­no co(n)s(ulibus).

44 In Nazzano (Seperna?) a dedication (CIL, XI 3866 = EDR144190) lists the gifts of Iulia Procula, a magistra Bonae Deae (perhaps with another individual). The reference to the consules is fragmentary; it was probably dedicated in AD 202.

45 CIL, XIV 4057 = EDR144614: Numini domus Aug(ustae) Blastus Eutactianus et Secundus Iuli Quadrati co(n)sulis II lib(erti) ob honorem VIuiratus et Itala lib(erta) eiusdem ob magisterium B(onae) D(eae) dedicauerunt XIIII K(alendas) Octob(res), M(arco) Clodio Lunense et P(ublio) Licinio Crasso co(n)s(ulibus), quo die et epulum dederunt. Incendio consumtum senatus Fidenatium restituit.

46 At the time of the construction of the original temple Iulius Quadratus was consul for the second time. On the day of the temple (September 18th, AD 111) M. Clodius Lunensis and P. Licinius Crassus were consuls and the freedmen offered an epulum to the citizens of Fidenae.

47 CIL, XIV 3530: Bonae Deae Sanctissimae Caelesti L(ucius) Paquedius Festus redemptor operum Caesar(is) et puplicorum(!) aedem diritam(!) refecit, quod adiutorio eius riuom aquae Claudiae August(ae) sub Monte Aeflano consummauit, Imp(eratore) Domit(iano) Caesar(e) Aug(usto) Germ(anico) XIIII co(n)sule, V Non(as) Iul(ias).

48 CIL, X 1549 = EDR129769: C(aius) Auillius December redemptor marmorarius Bonae Diae cum Vellia Cinnamide cont(ubernale) u(otum) s(oluit) l(ibens) m(erito). Claudio Aug(usti) l(iberto) Philades[p]oto sacerdote posita, dedicata VI Kal(endas) Nouembris, Q(uinto) Iunio Marullo co(n)s(ule).

49 CIL, VI 68 = EDR161210: Felix publicus Asinianus pontific(um) (scil. seruus) Bonae Deae Agresti Felicu(lae) uotum soluit iunicem alba(m) libens animo ob luminibus restitutis. Derelictus a medicis post menses decem bineficio (!) Dominaes (!) medicinis sanatus per eam restituta omnia ministerio Canniae Fortunatae.

50 In literary sources the presence of an herbarium, useful for the priestesses when preparing medicines (perhaps for the sick who went to the sanctuary) is attested in Macrobius (Sat. I, 12, 26: quidam Medeam putant, quod in aede eius omne genus herbarum sit, ex quibus antistites dant plerumque medicinas. “Some think she’s Medea, because her shrine contains all kind of herbs from which her priests often make medicines”, Kaster 2011, p. 148-149). For the archaeological remains of a complex building in Rome, on the Aventinus Minor, with an aedicula and an herbarium annexed to an area where the priestesses cultivated plants for medical use, see Narducci, Rustico 2017, p. 89-91 and Gregori, Rustico 2019, p. 365-367.

51 This mode of dating with reference to the priest in charge was rather common, especially in sacred dedications to oriental deities. This is probably related to the fact that each sanctuary had a list of priests, which easily allowed the cultores to associate their activity within a specific timeframe.

52 For a review of various aspects of the cult of Bona Dea, Marcattili 2010. On the latter’s links with the Forum Boarium festivals, Scheid 2012.

53 Ov., fast. V, 147-158: quo feror? Augustus mensis mihi carminis huius / ius habet: interea Diua canenda Bona est. / Est moles natiua, loco res nomina fecit: / appellant Saxum; pars bona montis ea est. / Huic Remus institerat frustra, quo tempore fratri / prima Palatinae signa dedistis aues. / Templa Patres illic oculos exosa uiriles / leniter acclini constituere iugo. / Dedicat haec ueteris Clausorum nominis heres, / uirgineo nullum corpore passa uirum: / Liuia restituit, ne non imitata maritum / esset et ex omni parte secuta uirum. “Whither do I stray? The month of August has a rightful claim to that subject of my verse: meantime the Good Goddess must be the theme of my song. There is a natural knoll, which gives its name to the place; they call it the Rock; it forms a good part of the hill. On it Remus took his stand in vain, what time, birds of the Palatine, you did vouchsafe the first omens to his brother. There, on the gentle slope of the ridge, the Senate founded a temple which abhors the eyes of males. It was dedicated by an heiress of the ancient name of the Clausi, who in her virgin body had never known a man: Livia restored it, that she might imitate her husband and follow him in everything” (Frazer, 1989, p. 270-271).

54 Ov., fast. V, 129-130: Praestitibus Maiae Laribus uidere Kalendae / aram constitui paruaque signa deum “The Kalend of May witnessed the foundation of an altar to the Guardian Lares, together with small images of the gods” (Frazer, 1989, p. 268-269).

55 Macr., Sat. I, 12, 21: Auctor est Cornelius Labeo huic Maiae, id est Terrae, aedem Kalendis Maiis dedicatam sub nomine Bonae Deae, et eandem esse Bonam Deam et terram ex ipso rite occultiore sacrorum doceri posse confirmant. “Cornelius Labeo supports the view that on the Kalends of May a temple was dedicated to this Maia (that is, the earth) under the name of Good Goddess, and he maintains that her identity with the Good Goddess and the earth can be learned from an exceptionally secret ritual of her cult” (Kaster 2011, p. 144-147).

56 Macr., Sat. I, 12, 29: ecce occasio nominis, quo Maiam eandem esse et Terram et Bonam Deam diximus coegit nos de Bona Dea quaecumque comperimus protulisse. “And look at that: just happening upon the name – saying that Maia is identified with the earth and the Good Goddess – compelled me to produce everything I know about the Good Goddess!” (Kaster 2011, p. 150-151). The Fasti where the month of May is still preserved confirm that the day of the Kalendae was sacred to the goddess Maia (for example Maius in Fasti Antiates Maiores, Fasti Maffeiani, Fasti Esquilini, cfr. Degrassi 1963, p. 452-453). Propertius (IV, 9, 16-70) does not allude to the date of their celebration in the episode where Hercules comes into conflict with the alma sacerdos and the puellae involved in the rituals.

57 In this regard, see the remarks in Bruun 2018, p. 369-371.

58 Arnhold 2015.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1: The dedication to Bona Dea Augusta discovered in Sila, Numidia, ILAlg, II, 2, 6863
Crédits (photo N. Benseddik)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/antafr/docannexe/image/4024/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 551k
Titre Fig. 2: The altar offered to Bona Dea by Petronius Iustus at Lambaesis, now preserved in the Asklepieium of the city, AE 1960, 107
Crédits (https://edh.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/​edh/​foto/​F000182, © M. Spannagel)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/antafr/docannexe/image/4024/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 969k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Federica Gatto et Gian Luca Gregori, « Some Remarks on the Entry of Bona Dea into the African Provinces, with a Glance at the Italic Documentation »Antiquités africaines, 57 | 2021, 139-148.

Référence électronique

Federica Gatto et Gian Luca Gregori, « Some Remarks on the Entry of Bona Dea into the African Provinces, with a Glance at the Italic Documentation »Antiquités africaines [En ligne], 57 | 2021, mis en ligne le 31 décembre 2021, consulté le 04 juillet 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/antafr/4024 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/antafr.4024

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Auteurs

Federica Gatto

Université Catholique de Louvain, Institut des Civilisations, Arts et Lettres, Centre d’Étude des Mondes Antiques

Gian Luca Gregori

Sapienza Università di Roma, Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità

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Droits d’auteur

Antiquités africaines

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