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Diana (Classical Latin: [dɪˈaːna]) was the goddess of the hunt, the moon, and nature in Roman mythology, associated with wild animals and woodland, and having the power to talk to and control animals. She was equated with the Greek goddess Artemis,[1] though she had an independent origin in Italy.

Diane de Versailles Leochares 2.jpg
The Diana of Versailles, a 2nd-century Roman version in the Greek tradition of iconography (Louvre Museum, Paris).
SymbolCrescent moon, bow & quiver, deer, hunting dogs
TemplesTemple of Diana (Rome)
Personal information
ParentsJupiter and Leto
Greek equivalentArtemis

Diana was known as the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, along with Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry. Oak groves and deer were especially sacred to her. Diana was born with her twin brother, Apollo, on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. She made up a triad with two other Roman deities; Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.[2]

Diana is revered in modern Neopagan religions including Roman Neopaganism, Stregheria, and Wicca. From the medieval to the modern period, as folklore attached to her developed and was eventually adapted into neopagan religions, the mythology surrounding Diana grew to include a consort (Lucifer or Apollo) and daughter (Aradia), figures sometimes recognized by modern traditions.[3] In the ancient, medieval, and modern periods, Diana has also been syncretized or merged with similar goddesses, most notably Artemis, Luna/Selene, Hecate, and Persephone.[4]



Diana (pronounced with long 'ī' and 'ā') is an adjectival form developed from an ancient *divios, corresponding to later 'divus', 'dius', as in Dius Fidius, Dea Dia and in the neuter form dium meaning the sky.[5] It is derived from Proto-Indo-European *d(e)y(e)w, meaning "bright sky" or "daylight"; the same word is also the root behind the name of the Aryan Vedic sky god Dyaus, as well as the Latin words deus (god), dies (day, daylight), and "diurnal" (daytime).

On the Tablets of Pylos a theonym διϝια (diwia) is supposed as referring to a deity precursor of Artemis. Modern scholars mostly accept the identification.[6][need quotation to verify]

The ancient Latin writers Varro and Cicero considered the etymology of Dīāna as allied to that of dies and connected to the shine of the Moon.

... people regard Diana and the moon as one and the same. ... the moon (luna) is so called from the verb to shine (lucere). Lucina is identified with it, which is why in our country they invoke Juno Lucina in childbirth, just as the Greeks call on Diana the Light-bearer. Diana also has the name Omnivaga ("wandering everywhere"), not because of her hunting but because she is numbered as one of the seven planets; her name Diana derives from the fact that she turns darkness into daylight (dies). She is invoked at childbirth because children are born occasionally after seven, or usually after nine, lunar revolutions ...

Quintus Lucilius Balbus as recorded by Marcus Tullius Cicero and translated by P.G. Walsh, De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods), Book II, Part ii, Section c [7]


A Roman fresco depicting Diana hunting, 4th century AD, from the Via Livenza hypogeum in Rome.
Mosaic of Diana and her nymph being surprised by Actaeon, from the ruins of Volubilis.

The persona of Diana is complex and contains a number of archaic features. According to Georges Dumézil[8] it falls into a particular subset of celestial gods, referred to in histories of religion as frame gods. Such gods, while keeping the original features of celestial divinities, i.e. transcendent heavenly power and abstention from direct rule in worldly matters, did not share the fate of other celestial gods in Indoeuropean religions—that of becoming dei otiosi or gods without practical purpose,[9] since they did retain a particular sort of influence over the world and mankind.

The celestial character of Diana is reflected in her connection with inaccessibility, virginity, light, and her preference for dwelling on high mountains and in sacred woods. Diana, therefore, reflects the heavenly world (diuum means sky or open air) in its sovereignty, supremacy, impassibility, and indifference towards such secular matters as the fates of mortals and states. At the same time, however, she is seen as active in ensuring the succession of kings and in the preservation of humankind through the protection of childbirth.[10]

These functions are apparent in the traditional institutions and cults related to the goddess.

  1. The institution of the rex Nemorensis, Diana's sacerdos (priest) in the Arician wood, who held the position until someone else challenged and killed him in a duel, after breaking a branch from a certain tree of the wood. This ever open succession reveals the character and mission of the goddess as a guarantor of kingly status through successive generations.[11] Her function as bestower of authority to rule is also attested in the story related by Livy in which a Sabine man who sacrifices a heifer to Diana wins for his country the seat of the Roman empire.[12]
  2. Diana was also worshiped by women who wanted to be pregnant or who, once pregnant, prayed for an easy delivery. This form of worship is attested in archaeological finds of votive statuettes in her sanctuary in the nemus Aricinum as well as in ancient sources, e.g. Ovid.[11]

According to Dumezil the forerunner of all frame gods is an Indian epic hero who was the image (avatar) of the Vedic god Dyaus. Having renounced the world, in his roles of father and king, he attained the status of an immortal being while retaining the duty of ensuring that his dynasty is preserved and that there is always a new king for each generation.

The Scandinavian god Heimdallr performs an analogous function: he is born first and will die last. He too gives origin to kingship and the first king, bestowing on him regal prerogatives. Diana, although a female deity, has exactly the same functions, preserving mankind through childbirth and royal succession.

F. H. Pairault in her essay on Diana qualifies Dumézil's theory as "impossible to verify".

Dumezil's interpretation appears deliberately to ignore that of James G. Frazer, who links Diana with the male god Janus as a divine couple. This looks odd as Dumézil's definition of the concept of frame god would fit well the figure of Janus.[13] Frazer identifies the two with the supreme heavenly couple Jupiter-Juno and additionally ties in these figures to the overarching Indoeuropean religious complex. This regality is also linked to the cult of trees, particularly oaks. In this interpretative schema, the institution of the Rex Nemorensis and related ritual should be seen as related to the theme of the dying god and the kings of May.[14]

Physical descriptionEdit

Gallo-Roman bronze statuette of Diana (latter 1st century)

As a goddess of hunting, Diana often wears a short tunic and hunting boots. She is often portrayed holding a bow, and carrying a quiver on her shoulder, accompanied by a deer or hunting dogs.[10] Like Venus, she was portrayed as beautiful and youthful. The crescent moon, sometimes worn as a diadem, is a major attribute of the goddess.


Diana was an ancient goddess common to all Latin tribes. Therefore, many sanctuaries were dedicated to her in the lands inhabited by Latins. The first one is supposed to have been near Alba Longa before the town was destroyed by the Romans. She had a temple in Rome on the Aventine Hill, according to tradition dedicated by king Servius Tullius. Its location is remarkable as the Aventine is situated outside the pomerium, i.e. original territory of the city, in order to comply with the tradition that Diana was a goddess common to all Latins and not exclusively of the Romans.

Other known sanctuaries and temples to Diana include Colle di Corne near Tusculum,[15] where she is referred to with the archaic Latin name of deva Cornisca and where existed a collegium of worshippers;[16] at Évora, Portugal;[17] Mount Algidus, also near Tusculum;[18] at Lavinium;[19] and at Tibur (Tivoli), where she is referred to as Diana Opifera Nemorensis.[20] Diana was also worshiped at a sacred wood mentioned by Livy[21] - ad compitum Anagninum (near Anagni), and on Mount Tifata, near Capua in Campania.[22] In Ephesus, the temple Temple of Artemis is often to considered to have been one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Diana was initially just the hunting goddess,[23] associated with wild animals and woodlands. She also later became a moon goddess, supplanting Titan goddess Luna.[23] She also became the goddess of childbirth and ruled over the countryside. Catullus wrote a poem to Diana in which she has more than one alias: Latonia, Lucina, Iuno, Trivia, Luna.[24]

In Rome, the cult of Diana should have been almost as old as the city itself as Varro mentions her in the list of deities to whom king Titus Tatius vowed a shrine. It is noteworthy that the list includes Luna and Diana Lucina as separate entities. Another testimony to the high antiquity of her cult is to be found in the lex regia of King Tullus Hostilius that condemns those guilty of incest to the sacratio to the goddess.

An ancient Fourth-Pompeian-Style Roman wall painting depicting a scene of sacrifice in honor of the goddess Diana; she is seen here accompanied by a deer. The fresco was discovered in the triclinium of House of the Vettii in Pompeii, Italy.

Diana was worshipped at a festival on August 13,[25] when King Servius Tullius, himself born a slave, dedicated her temple on the Aventine Hill in the mid-6th century BC. Being placed on the Aventine, and thus outside the pomerium, meant that Diana's cult essentially remained a foreign one, like that of Bacchus; she was never officially transferred to Rome as Juno was after the sack of Veii.

Sanctuary at Lake NemiEdit

Diana's worship may have originated at Lake Nemi in Aricia. Her cult there was first attested in Latin literature by Cato the Elder, in a surviving quote by the late grammarian Priscian.[26] where her priest, the Rex Nemorensis, lived. There, her simple open-air shrine was held in common by the local Latin tribes,[27] which Rome hoped to unify into and control. Diana of the wood soon became Hellenized (the Potnia Theron aspect of Hellenic Artemis is represented in Capua and Signia, Greek cities of Magna Graecia, in the 5th century BCE), "a process which culminated with the appearance of Diana beside Apollo in the first lectisternium at Rome".[28] Diana was regarded with great reverence and was a patroness of lower-class citizens, called plebeians, as well as slaves, who could receive asylum in her temples. Georg Wissowa proposed that this might be because the first slaves of the Romans were Latins of the neighboring tribes.[29] However, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus had the same custom of the asylum (ασυλιον).

Sir James George Frazer wrote of this sacred grove in the The Golden Bough, basing his interpretation on brief remarks in Strabo (5.3.12), Pausanias (2,27.24) and Servius' commentary on the Aeneid (6.136). Legend tells of a tree that stood in the center of the grove and was heavily guarded. No one was allowed to break off its limbs, with the exception of a runaway slave, who was allowed, if he could, to break off one of the boughs. He was then in turn granted the privilege to engage the Rex Nemorensis, the current king and priest of Diana, in a fight to the death. If the slave prevailed, he became the next king for as long as he could defeat his challengers. However, Joseph Fontenrose criticised Frazer's assumption that a rite of this sort actually occurred at the sanctuary. [30]

The origin of the ritual of the rex Nemorensis can be traced to the legend of Orestes and Iphigenia. The formation of the Latin League led by Laevius (or Baebius) Egerius[31] happened under the influence of an alliance with the tyrant of Cuma Aristodemos[32] and is probably connected to the political events at end of the 6th century narrated by Livy and Dionysius, such as the siege of Aricia by Porsenna's son Arruns. It is remarkable that the composition of this league does not reflect that of the Latin people who took part in the Latiar or Feriae Latinae given by Pliny and it has not as its leader the rex Nemorensis but a dictator Latinus.[33] It should thence be considered a political formation and not a traditional society founded on links of blood.

Conflation with ArtemisEdit

According to Françoise Hélène Pairault's study,[34] historical and archaeological evidence point to the fact that the characteristics given to both Diana of the Aventine Hill and Diana Nemorensis were the product of the direct or indirect influence of the cult of Artemis, which was spread by the Phoceans among the Greek towns of Campania Cuma and Capua, who in turn had passed it over to the Etruscans and the Latins by the 6th and 5th centuries BCE.

It looks as if the confrontation happened between two groups of Etruscans who fought for supremacy, those from Tarquinia, Vulci and Caere (allied with the Greeks of Capua) and those of Clusium. This is reflected in the legend of the coming of Orestes to Nemi and of the inhumation of his bones in the Roman Forum near the temple of Saturn.[35] The cult introduced by Orestes at Nemi is apparently that of the Artemis Tauropolos. The literary amplification[36] reveals a confused religious background: different Artemis were conflated under the epithet.[37] As far as Nemi's Diana is concerned there are two different versions, by Strabo[38] and Servius Honoratus. Strabo's version looks to be the most authoritative as he had access to first-hand primary sources on the sanctuaries of Artemis, i.e. the priest of Artemis Artemidoros of Ephesus. The meaning of Tauropolos denotes an Asiatic goddess with lunar attributes, lady of the herds.[39] The only possible interpretatio graeca of high antiquity concerning Diana Nemorensis could have been the one based on this ancient aspect of a deity of light, master of wildlife. Tauropolos is an ancient epithet attached to Hecate, Artemis and even Athena.[40] According to the legend Orestes founded Nemi together with Iphigenia.[41] At Cuma the Sybil is the priestess of both Phoibos and Trivia.[42] Hesiod[43] and Stesichorus[44] tell the story according to which after her death Iphigenia was divinised under the name of Hecate, fact which would support the assumption that Artemis Tauropolos had a real ancient alliance with the heroine, who was her priestess in Taurid and her human paragon. This religious complex is in turn supported by the triple statue of Artemis-Hecate.[45]

Though some Roman patrons ordered marble replicas of the specifically Anatolian "Diana" of Ephesus, where the Temple of Artemis stood, Diana was usually depicted for educated Romans in her Greek guise. If she is accompanied by a deer, as in the Diana of Versailles, this is because Diana was the patroness of hunting. The deer may also offer a covert reference to the myth of Acteon (or Actaeon), who saw her bathing naked. Diana transformed Acteon into a stag and set his own hunting dogs to kill him.

As a triple goddessEdit

Diana was often considered an aspect of a triple goddess, though the identities of the other goddesses in this triad varied between sources. At her sacred grove at Aricia, on the shores of Lake Nemi a triple Diana was venerated from the late 6th century BCE as Diana Nemorensis.

Two examples of the denarius (RRC 486/1) depicting the head of Diana Nemorensis and her triple cult statue[46]

Andreas Alföldi interpreted an image on a late Republican coin as the Latin Diana "conceived as a threefold unity of the divine huntress, the Moon goddess and the goddess of the nether world, Hekate".[47] This coin, minted by P. Accoleius Lariscolus in 43 BCE, has been acknowledged as representing an archaic statue of Diana Nemorensis.[45] It represents Artemis with the bow at one extremity, Luna-Selene with flowers at the other and a central deity not immediately identifiable, all united by a horizontal bar. The iconographical analysis allows the dating of this image to the 6th century at which time there are Etruscan models. The coin shows that the triple goddess cult image still stood in the lucus of Nemi in 43 BCE. The Lake of Nemi was called Triviae lacus by Virgil (Aeneid 7.516), while Horace called Diana montium custos nemoremque virgo ("keeper of the mountains and virgin of Nemi") and diva triformis ("three-form goddess").[48] Diana is commonly addressed as Trivia by Virgil[49] and Catullus.[50]

Two heads found in the sanctuary[51] and the Roman theatre at Nemi,[52] which have a hollow on their back, lend support to this interpretation of an archaic Diana Trivia, in whom three different elements are associated. The presence of a Hellenised Diana at Nemi should be related to the presence of the cult in Campania, as Diana Tifatina was called Trivia in an imperial age inscription which mentions a flamen Virbialis dedicated by eques C. Octavius Verus.[53] Cuma too had a cult of a chthonic Hecate and certainly had strict contacts with Latium.[54] The theological complex present in Diana looks very elaborated and certainly Hellenic, while an analogous Latin concept of Diana Trivia seems uncertain, as Latin sources reflect a Hellenised character of the goddess.[55]

Maurus Servius Honoratus said that the same goddess was called Luna in heaven, Diana on earth, and Proserpina in hell.[4]Michael Drayton praises the Triple Diana in poem The Man in the Moone (1606): "So these great three most powerful of the rest, Phoebe, Diana, Hecate, do tell. Her sovereignty in Heaven, in Earth and Hell".[56][57][58]

Conflation with other goddessesEdit

Some late antique sources went even further than the triple-goddess motif, syncretizing many local "great goddesses" into a single "Queen of Heaven". The Platonist philosopher Apuleius, writing in the late 2nd century, depicted the goddess declaring:

"I come, Lucius, moved by your entreaties: I, mother of the universe, mistress of all the elements, first-born of the ages, highest of the gods, queen of the shades, first of those who dwell in heaven, representing in one shape all gods and goddesses. My will controls the shining heights of heaven, the health-giving sea-winds, and the mournful silences of hell; the entire world worships my single godhead in a thousand shapes, with divers rites, and under many a different name. The Phrygians, first-born of mankind, call me the Pessinuntian Mother of the gods; the native Athenians the Cecropian Minerva; the island-dwelling Cypriots Paphian Venus; the archer Cretans Dictynnan Diana; the triple-tongued Sicilians Stygian Proserpine; the ancient Eleusinians Actaean Ceres; some call me Juno, some Bellona, others Hecate, others Rhamnusia; but both races of Ethiopians, those on whom the rising and those on whom the setting sun shines, and the Egyptians who excel in ancient learning, honour me with the worship which is truly mine and call me by my true name: Queen Isis."

Apuleius, translated by E. J. Kenny, The Golden Ass[59]


In religionEdit

Diana is the only pagan goddess mentioned by name in the New Testament (Acts 19). As a result, she became associated with many folk beliefs involving goddess-like supernatural figures that Catholic clergy wished to demonize. In the Middle Ages, legends of night-time processions of spirits led by a female figure are recorded in the church records of northern Italy, western Germany, and southern France. The spirits were said to enter houses and consume food which then miraculously re-appeared. They would sing and dance, and dispense advise regarding healing herbs and the whereabouts of lost objects. If the house was in good order, they would bring fertility and plenty. If not, they would bring curses to the family. Some women reported participating in these processions while their bodies still lay in bed. Local clergy complained that women believed they were following Diana or Herodias, riding out on appointed nights to join the processions or carry out instructions from the goddess.[3] The earliest reports of these legends appear in the writings of of Regino of Prüm in the year 899, followed by many additional reports and variants of the legend in documents by Ratherius and others. By 1310, the names of the goddess figures attached to the legend were sometimes combined as Herodiana.[3] It is likely that the clergy of this time used the identification of the procession's leader as Diana or Herodias in order to fit an older folk belief into a Biblical framework, as both are featured and demonized in the New Testament. Herodias was often conflated with her daughter Salame in legend, which also holds that, upon being presented with the severed head of John the Baptist, was blown into the air by wind from the saint's mouth, through which she continued to wander for eternity. Diana was often conflated with Hecate, a goddess associated with the spirits of the dead and with witchcraft. These associations, and the fact that both figures are attested to in the Bible, made them a natural fit for the leader of the ghostly procession. Clergy used this identification to assert that the spirits were evil, and that the women who followed them were inspired by demons. As was typical of this time period, though pagan beliefs and practices were near totally eliminated from Europe, the clergy and other authorities still treated paganism as a real threat, in part thanks to biblical influence; much of the Bible had been written when various forms of paganism were still active if not dominant, so medieval clergy applied the same kinds of warnings and admonitions for any non-standard folk beliefs and practices they encountered.[3] Based on analysis of church documents and parishioner confessions, it is likely that the spirit identified by the Church as Diana or Herodias was called by names of pre-Christian figures like Holda (a Germanic goddess of the winter solstice), or with names referencing her bringing of prosperity, like the Latin Abundia (meaning "plenty"), Satia (meaning "full" or "plentiful") and the Italian Richella (meaning "rich").[3] Some of the local titles for her, such as bonae res (meaning "good things"), are similar to late classical titles for Hecate, like bona dea. This might indicate a cultural mixture of medieval folk ideas with holdovers from earlier pagan belief systems. Whatever her true origin, by the 13th century, the leader of the legendary spirit procession had come to be firmly identified with Diana and Herodias through the influence of the Church.[3]

Folk legends like the one above, linking Diana to forbidden gatherings of women with spirits, may have influenced later works of folklore like Charles Godfrey Leland's Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, which prominently featured Diana at the center of an Italian witch-cult.[3] In Leland's interpretation of supposed Italian folk witchcraft, Diana is considered Queen of the Witches. In this belief system, Diana is said to have created the world of her own being having in herself the seeds of all creation yet to come. It was said that out of herself she divided the darkness and the light, keeping for herself the darkness of creation and creating her brother Lucifer. Diana was believed to have loved and ruled with her brother Lucifer, who is depicted as the god of the Sun (Apollo), and with him bore a daughter, Aradia (Herodias), who leads and teaches the witches on earth.[60][3] A modern offshoot of this work is the religion of Stregheria, which centers around a duotheistic pair of deities that are regarded as divine lovers, and they may go by many different names, including: Uni and Tagni, Tana and Tanus, Diana and Dianus, Jana and Janus, etc.[61]

There is also a modern branch of Wicca named for her, which is characterized by an exclusive focus on the feminine aspect of the Divine.[62] Diana's name is also used as the third divine name in a Wiccan energy chant- "Isis Astarte Diana Hecate Demeter Kali Inanna".[63]

In languageEdit

Both the Romanian words for "fairy" Zână[64] and Sânziană, the Leonese and Portuguese word for "water nymph" xana, and the Spanish word for "shooting target" and "morning call" (diana) seem to come from the name of Diana.

In the artsEdit

Diana Reposing by Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry. The nude goddess, identified by the crescent moon in her hair and the bow and quiver at her side, reclines on a blue drapery.

Since the Renaissance the myth of Diana has often been represented in the visual and dramatic arts, including the opera L'arbore di Diana. In the 16th century, Diana's image figured prominently at the châteaus of Fontainebleau, Chenonceau, & at Anet, in deference to Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henri of France. At Versailles she was incorporated into the Olympian iconography with which Louis XIV, the Apollo-like "Sun King" liked to surround himself. Diana is also a character in the 1876 Léo Delibes ballet Sylvia. The plot deals with Sylvia, one of Diana's nymphs and sworn to chastity, and Diana's assault on Sylvia's affections for the shepherd Amyntas.

In literatureEdit

  • In "The Knight's Tale" in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, Emily prays to Diana to be spared from marriage to either Palamon or Arcite.
  • In "Ode" by John Keats, he writes 'Browsed by none but Dian's fawns' (line 12)
  • In the sonnet "To Science" by Edgar Allan Poe, science is said to have "dragged Diana from her car".
  • Diana Soren, the main character in Carlos Fuentes' novel Diana o la cazadora soltera (Diana, or The Lone Huntress), is described as having the same personality as the goddess.
  • In "Castaway" by Augusta Webster, women who claim they are virtuous despite never having been tempted are referred to as "Dianas." (Line 128)
  • In Jonathan Swift's poem: "The Progress of Beauty", as goddess of the moon, Diana is used in comparison to the 17th/early 18th century everyday woman Swift satirically writes about. Starts: 'When first Diana leaves her bed...'
  • In Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae ("History of the Kings of Britain"), Diana leads the Trojan Brutus to Britain, where he and his people settle.
In Shakespeare
  • In Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre Diana appears to Pericles in a vision, telling him to go to her temple and tell his story to her followers.
  • Diana is referenced in As You Like It to describe how Rosalind feels about marriage.
  • Diana is referred to in Twelfth Night when Orsino compares Viola (in the guise of Cesario) to Diana. "Diana's lip is not more smooth and rubious"
  • Speaking of his wife, Desdemona, Othello the Moor says, "Her name, that was as fresh as Dian's visage, is now begrimed and black as my own face."
  • There is a reference to Diana in Much Ado About Nothing where Hero is said to seem like 'Dian in her orb', in terms of her chastity.
  • In Henry IV, Part 1, Falstaff styles himself and his highway-robbing friends as "Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon" who are governed by their "noble and chase mistress the moon under whose countenance [they] steal".
  • In All's Well That Ends Well Diana appears as a figure in the play and Helena makes multiple allusions to her, such as, "Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly..." and "...wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian/was both herself and love..." The Steward also says, "...; Dian no queen of virgins,/ that would suffer her poor knight surprised, without/ rescue in the first assault or ransom afterward." It can be assumed that 'Dian' is simply a shortening of 'Diana' since later in the play when Parolles' letter to Diana is read aloud it reads 'Dian'.[65]
  • The goddess is also referenced indirectly in A Midsummer Night's Dream. The character Hippolyta states "And then the moon, like to a silver bow new bent in Heaven". She refers to Diana, goddess of the moon, who is often depicted with a silver hunting bow. In the same play the character Hermia is told by the Duke Theseus that she must either wed the character Demetrius "Or on Diana's alter to protest for aye austerity and single life". He refers to her becoming a nun, with the goddesse Diana having connotations of chastity.
  • In The Merchant of Venice Portia states "I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner of my father's will". (I.ii)
  • In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo describes Rosaline, saying that "She hath Dian's wit".
Diana as the Huntress, by Giampietrino.

In painting and sculptureEdit

Diana has been one of the most popular themes in art. Painters like Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, François Boucher, Nicholas Poussin made use of her myth as a major theme. Most depictions of Diana in art featured the stories of Diana and Actaeon, or Callisto, or depicted her resting after hunting. Some famous work of arts with a Diana theme are :

In beaux artsEdit

Pomona (left, symbolizing agriculture), and Diana (symbolizing commerce) as building decoration.

Beaux Arts architecture and garden design (late 19th and early 20th centuries) used classic references in a modernized form. Two of the most popular of the period were of Pomona (goddess of orchards) as a metaphor for Agriculture, and Diana, representing Commerce, which is a perpetual hunt for advantage and profits.

In filmEdit

  • In Jean Cocteau's 1946 film La Belle et la Bête, it is Diana's power which has transformed and imprisoned the beast.
  • Diana/Artemis appears at the end of the 'Pastoral Symphony' segment of Fantasia.
  • In his 1968 film La Mariée était en noir François Truffaut plays on this mythological symbol. Julie Kohler, played by Jeanne Moreau, poses as Diana/Artemis for the artist Fergus. This choice seems fitting for Julie, a character beset by revenge, of which Fergus becomes the fourth victim. She poses with a bow and arrow, while wearing white.
  • In the 1995 comedy Four Rooms, a coven of witches resurrects a petrified Diana on New Year's Eve.
  • French based collective LFKs and his film/theatre director, writer and visual artist Jean Michel Bruyere produced a series of 600 shorts and "medium" film, an interactive audiovisual 360° installation (Si poteris narrare licet ("if you are able to speak of it, then you may do so" ...... ) in 2002, and a 3D 360° audiovisual installation La Dispersion du Fils ( from 2008 to 2016 as well as an outdoor performance, "Une Brutalité pastorale" (2000), all about the myth of Diana and Actaeon.

In operaEdit

In musicEdit


  • In the funeral oration of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, her brother drew an analogy between the ancient goddess of hunting and his sister - "the most hunted person of the modern age".
  • William Moulton Marston drew from the Diana archetype in creating Wonder Woman of Themyscira, Paradise Island, and even gave her the proper name "Diana".
  • For the album art of progressive metal band Protest the Hero's second studio album Fortress, Diana is depicted protected by rams and other animals. The theme of Diana is carried throughout the album.
  • DIANA Mayer & Grammelspacher GmbH & Co.KG, an airgun company, is named after Diana, the goddess of hunting.[66]
  • The Royal Netherlands Air Force 323rd Squadron is named Diana and uses a depiction of Diana with her bow in its badge.[67]
  • The character of Diana from the video game League of Legends is largely based on the goddess.
  • In DC Comics, most versions of Wonder Woman's origins state she is given the name Diana out of tribute to the goddess.
  • She also is one of the main gods in the popular video game Ryse, who help Marius Titus, the main character, fulfill his duty to Rome.
  • The character of Diana is the principal character in the children's novel The Moon Stallion by Brian Hayles (1978) and the BBC Television series of the same name Diana is played by the actress Sarah Sutton.
  • In the manga and anime series Sailor Moon, Diana is the feline companion to Chibiusa, Usagi's daughter. Diana is the daughter of Artemis and Luna. All of these characters are advisers to rulers of the kingdom of the moon and therefore have moon-associated names.
  • In Ciudad Juárez in Mexico a woman calling herself "Diana Huntress of Bus Drivers" was responsible for the shooting of two bus drivers in 2013 in what may have been vigilante attacks.[68][69]
  • Diana is commemorated in the scientific name of a species of coral snake, Micrurus diana.[70]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopedia, The Book People, Haydock, 1995, p. 215.
  2. ^ The Clay-footed Superheroes: Mythology Tales for the New Millennium ISBN 978-0-865-16719-3 p. 56
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Magliocco, Sabina. (2009). Aradia in Sardinia: The Archaeology of a Folk Character. Pp. 40-60 in Ten Years of Triumph of the Moon. Hidden Publishing.
  4. ^ a b Servius, Commentary on Virgil's Aeneid 6.118.
  5. ^ G.Dumézil La religion Romaine archaique Paris, 1974, part 3, chap. 1.
  6. ^ H. F. Pairault below cites three. Contrary G. Rousseau.
  7. ^ Cicero, Marcus Tullius; Walsh, P.G. (2008). The Nature of the Gods (Reissue. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 70–72. ISBN 978-0-19-954006-8.
  8. ^ G. Dumezil La religion Romaine archaique Paris 1974, part 3, chap.1.
  9. ^ Mircea Eliade Tre' d'histoire des religionsait Paris, 1954.
  10. ^ a b "Artemis". Retrieved 2012-11-11.
  11. ^ a b Ovid Fasti III, 262-271.
  12. ^ Titus Livius Ab Urbe Condita 1:31-1:60.
  13. ^ J. Frazer The golden bough 1922, chaps. 1, 12, 16.
  14. ^ J.G. Frazer Dying gods, 1912; Geza Roheim Animism, magic and the divine king Routledge, London, 1972, part 3, (in particular chapter "The king of May").
  15. ^ Pliny the Elder Naturalis Historia XVI, 242.
  16. ^ CIL, 975; CIL XIV,2633.
  17. ^ Hifler, Joyce. "The Goddess Diana. " Witches Of The Craft. [1] (accessed November 27, 2012).
  18. ^ Horace, Carmina I 21, 5-6; Carmen Saeculare.
  19. ^ CIL XIV,2112.
  20. ^ CIL, 3537.
  21. ^ Livy Ab Urbe Condita XXVII 4.
  22. ^ Roy Merle Peterson The cults of Campania Rome, Papers and Monographs of the American Academy in Rome, 1919, pp. 322-328.
  23. ^ a b "Diana, Roman religion". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  24. ^ "Latin Oration".
  25. ^ The date coincides with the founding dates celebrated at Aricium. Arthur E. Gordon, "On the Origin of Diana", Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 63 (1932, pp. 177-192) p 178.
  26. ^ Supposed Greek origins for the Aricia cult are strictly a literary topos. (Gordon 1932:178 note, and p. 181).
  27. ^ commune Latinorum Dianae templum in Varro, Lingua Latina V.43; the cult there was of antiqua religione in Pliny's Natural History, xliv. 91, 242 and Ovid's Fasti III 327-331.
  28. ^ Gordon 1932:179.
  29. ^ as quoted by Dumézil La religion romaine archaique Paris, 1974, part 3, chap. 1.
  30. ^ Fontenrose, J. (1966). The Ritual Theory of Myth. University of California Press, ch. 3.
  31. ^ The historicity of this character is questioned by Dumézil as the name Egerius looks suspect to him.
  32. ^ Livy II 14, 5-9; Dionysius Halicarnasseus V 36, 1-4.
  33. ^ Pliny Naturalis Historia III 5 68-70.
  34. ^ "Diana Nemorensis, déesse latine, déesse hellénisée" in Mélanges d' archéologie et d'histoire 81 1969 p. 425-471.
  35. ^ Servius ad Aeneidem II 116; VI 136; Hyginus Fabulae 261.
  36. ^ Ovid Metamorphoses XIV 331-2 Scythicae regnum nemorale Dianae; Lucanus Pharsalia III 86 "qua sublime nemus Scythicae qua regna Dianae". Silius Italicus Punica IV 367; VIII 362; Valerius Flaccus Argonauticae II 305.
  37. ^ Jean Bayet, "Les origines de l'Arcadisme romain" p.135; M. P. Nilson Griechische Religionsgeschichte Munich 1955 p. 485 ff.
  38. ^ Strabo V 249: αφιδρύματα της ταυροπόλου.
  39. ^ Suidas s.v. :η Άρτεμις εν Ταύροις της Σκυθίας τιμωμένη; η από μέρους, των ποιμνίων επστάσις. η ότι η αυτη τη σελήνη εστι καί εποχειται ταύροις. Darehnberg -Saglio-Pottier Dictionnaire des antiquités s.v. Diana fig.. 2357.
  40. ^ Hesichius s.v. Tauropolai; Scholiasta ad Aristophanem Lysistrata 447; Suidas above; Photius Lexicon s.v. Tuaropolos; N. Yalouris Athena als Herrin der Pferde in Museum Helveticum 7 1950 p. 99; E. Abel Orphica, Hymni I in Hecaten 7. Hymni magici V in Selenen 4.
  41. ^ Servius ad Aeneidem VI 136.
  42. ^ Aeneis VI 35; F. H. Pairault p. 448 citing Jean Bayet, Origines de l' Hercule romain p. 280 n. 4.
  43. ^ Hesiod Catalogueedited by Augusto Traversa, Naples 1951 p. 76 text 82; R. Merkelbach, M. L. West Fragmenta Hesiodea Oxonii 1967, fragment 23.
  44. ^ Orestia cited by Philodemos Περι εύσεβείας 24 Gomperz II 52: fragment 38 B; Pausanias I 43, 1; II 22, 7.
  45. ^ a b A. Alföldi"Diana Nemorensis" in American journal of Archaeology 64 1960 p. 137-144.
  46. ^ (CNG)
  47. ^ Alföldi, "Diana Nemorensis", American Journal of Archaeology (1960:137-44) p 141.
  48. ^ Horace, Carmina 3.22.1.
  49. ^ Aeneid 6.35, 10.537.
  50. ^ Carmina 34.14 tu potens Trivia...
  51. ^ Excavation of 1791 by cardinal Despuig not mentioned in the report: cf. P. Riis who cites E. Lucidi Memorie storiche dell'antichissimo municipio ora terra dell'Ariccia e delle sue colonie Genzano e Nemi Rome 1796 p. 97 ff. finds at Valle Giardino.
  52. ^ NSA 1931 p. 259-261 platesVI a-b.
  53. ^ CIL X 3795.
  54. ^ Dionysius Hal. VII 6, 4: the people of Aricia help Aristdemos in bringing home the Etruscan booty.
  55. ^ Servius Ad Aeneidem IV 511; Ennius apud Varro De Lingua Latina VII 16; Catullus 34, 15.
  56. ^ Alexander Chalmers, Samuel Johnson (1810), The Works of the English Poets, from Chaucer to Cowper VOL.IV p.421.
  57. ^ Gil Harootunian, Gil Haroian-Guerin (1996). The Fatal Hero: Diana, Deity of the Moon, As an Archetype of the Modern Hero in English Literature, p.261.
  58. ^ Edited by Cesare Barbieri and Francesca Rampazzi (2001), Earth-Moon Relationships p.7. ISBN 0-7923-7089-9.
  59. ^ Apuleius (1998). The Golden Ass. Penguin classics.
  60. ^ Charles G. Leland, Aradia: The Gospel of Witches, Theophania Publishing, US, 2010
  61. ^ The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism, Shelley Rabinovitch & James Lewis, page 262, (2004)
  62. ^ Falcon River (2004) The Dianic Wiccan Tradition. From The Witches Voice. Retrieved 2007-05-23.
  63. ^ "TRADITIONAL WICCA - CLASS 8". Blue Moon Wicca. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  64. ^ Zână in DEX '98
  65. ^ Cross, Wilbur L. (1993). The Yale Shakespeare: the complete works. United States of America: Barnes & Noble. pp. 365–399. ISBN 1-56619-104-1.
  66. ^ "DIANA Mayer & Grammelspacher GmbH & Co.KG - THE DIANA TRADEMARK." COMPANY | THE DIANA TRADEMARK. [2] (accessed November 27, 2012).
  67. ^ "F-16 Units - RNLAF 323rd squadron".
  68. ^ Tuckman, Jo (6 September 2013). "Diana Huntress of Bus Drivers instils fear and respect in Ciudad Juárez". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  69. ^ "Diana, Hunter of Bus Drivers". This American Life. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  70. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Diana", p. 72).


  • A. Alföldi "Diana Nemorensis" in American Journal of Archaeology 64 1960 p. 137-144.
  • A. Alföldi Early Rome and the Latins Ann Arbor 1964 p. 47-100.
  • E. Paribeni "A note on Diana Nemorensis" in American Journal of Archaeology 65 1961 p. 55.
  • P. J. Riis "The Cult Image of Diana Nemorensis" in Acta Archaeologica Kopenhagen 37 1966 p. 69 ff.
  • J. Heurgon in Magna Graecia 1969 Jan. Feb. 1969 p. 12 ff.; March Apr. p. 1ff.
  • J.G. Frazer Balder the Beautiful II London 1913 p. 95 ff.; 302 ff.
  • L. Morpurgo "Nemus Aricinum" in MonAntLincei 13 1903 c. 300 ff.
  • A. Merlin "L'Aventin dans l'antiquité" Paris BÉFAR 97 1906.
  • G. Wissowa Religion und Kultus der Römer Munich 1912 p. 198 ff.
  • F. Altheim Griechischen Götter im alten Rom Giessen 1930 p. 93-172.
  • A.E. Gordon "On the Origin of Diana" in Transactions of the AMerican Philological Association 63 1932 p. 177ff.
  • A.E. Gordon Local Cults in Aricia University of California Publications in Classical Archaeology 2 1934 p. 1ff.
  • J. Heurgon "Recherhes sur... Capoue préromaine" in BÉFAR 154 Paris 1942 p. 307 ff.
  • J. Gagé "Apollon Romain" in BÉFAR 182 Paris 1955.
  • J. Bayet Histoire politique et psychologique de la religion romaine Paris 1957 p. 20 ff., 39ff.
  • K. Latte Römische Religionsgeschichte Munich 1960 p. 169-173.
  • R. Schilling "Une victime des vicissitudes politiques, la Diane latine" in Hommages á Jean Bayet, Collection Latomus 45 Bruxelles 1960 p. 650 ff.
  • A. Momigliano "Sul dies natalis del santuario federale di Diana sull' Aventino" in RAL 17 1962 p. 387 ff.
  • G. Dumézil La religion romaine archaïque Paris 1966 p. 398 ff.

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