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The Goddess Juno
Juno is the Goddess of marriage and the protector of women in childbirth. She is also a war Goddess and a Goddess of finances. She was originally the Goddess of the moon. She is closely identified with the Greek queen of the Gods, Hera. She is part of the triad of Gods that includes Jupiter and Minerva. By Jupiter, she bore Mars.
As Juno Sospita, She is a protector. She was the patron Goddess of the Latin town of Lanivium and was accepted into the Roman cults of Juno in 338BCE. Her character is complex and She is depicted on Roman coins, reliefs and statues as wearing a goatskin, pulled over her head so the goat's head and horns form a helmet. She is also depicted wielding a spear and carrying a shield and her shoes are shown with the toes turned upward. Each year at Laventum, blindfolded girls took gifts of barley cakes into Her sacred grove to a snake that lived there. If the cakes were accepted, the year would be a fertile one.
As Juno Moneta, She is a Goddess of warning. She was given this title in gratitude because her flock of sacred geese warned the sleeping guards of an impending Gaulish attack, thus saving the Capitol (390BCE). She became associated with finances later when, during the Pyrrhic War, the Romans began to coin and use money and the mint was set up adjacent to her temple.
The Kalends, or first of each month, is sacred to Her. Since She is the protector of women and childbirth, Her association with the moon is in reference to the cycles of women's monthly periods. When the Romans were still using a true lunar calendar, when the new moon was sighted each month, the Rex Sacrorum would make a sacrifice to Juno, while the wife of the rex made her own sacrifice to Juno in the Regia.
March 1st is sacred to Juno. In Rome, women would unbind their hair and untie any knot in their dress so that there was no symbolic binding to interfere with childbirth. Juno gave birth to Mars on March 1st, so it is also His birthday. It was customary for husbands to pray for the health of their wives on this day and give them presents. The streets of Rome were busy with people dressed up for the occasion and hurrying around delivering presents.
The Caprotinae was celebrated on July 7. This was a festival to Juno Caprotina and women both free and slave attended the sacrifice of milk from a fig tree. Branches cut from the fig trees were used to strike the women, perhaps to promote fertility. Figs from wild trees were placed in the branches of cultivated ones to promote the fertility of the orchard.
On September 13, a feast was held in honor of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The feast began with the sacrifice of a white cow and of a second batch of the Vestal Virgins' mola salsa. The feast itself was presided over by images of the three Gods. Jupiter's face was stained red. He lay on a couch while Minerva and Juno's statues sat in chairs. A feast was laid out before them and music played, then all the members of the Senate dined together.
Her sacred animal is the goat and Her sacred fruit is the fig, though she is often depicted holding a pomegranate.
She is also known by the following names:
Hera (Greek), Iuno (Etruscan), Juno Caelestis, Juno Lucina (the Goddess of childbirth), Juno Moneta (Goddess of warning and later of finance), Saturnia (the daughter of Saturn), Juno Sospita (savior), Juno Caprotina.
The first day of each month is sacred to Juno.
February 1 - the date in which new shrines to Juno Sospita were created in Rome.
March 1 - Mars's Birthday and Mother's Day. The temple of Juno Lucina on the Esquiline was dedicated. This day was sacred to Juno and celebrated like the modern Mother's Day.
June 1 - the temple of Juno Moneta was dedicated to Her in 344BCE
July 7 - Caprotinae
September 1 - Juno Regina's first temple was built on the Aventine in 392BCE in gratitude for abandoning Veii and comming to Rome. It contained a wooden statue of Her that was taken from Veii.
September 5 - Juno Regina's temple near the Circus Flaminius was dedicated in 146BCE.
October 7 - Her temple as Juno Curitis was dedicated in 241BCE.
December 23 - Her temple as Juno Regina in the Circus Flaminius was dedicated in 179BCE.