Mater Matuta

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Mater Matuta ( Altes Museum , Berlin)

Mater Matuta ( Latin for "morning mother") is in Roman mythology the goddess of spring light, birth and growth. She is a very old goddess attested by dedicatory inscriptions and Roman literature not only in the Roman Empire , but also in large parts of Italy before the Roman conquest.

Meaning and cult

Mater Matuta was a kind-hearted goddess, in whose honor the Matralia (festival of the mothers) was celebrated annually on June 11th . Mater Matuta was identified with the Greek Leukothea by the Romans from the late Republic onwards . As such she was the mother of Portunus , with whom she protected seafaring and the ports .

Her assigned sanctuaries can be found in Rome near the Forum Boarium in the Area sacra di Sant'Omobono as a twin temple with a sanctuary of Fortuna and in Satricum , near today's Le Ferriere, district of Latina .

Its name has the same root (maturus = in time, early, ripe) as the Latin matutina ("morning hour", cf. Matutin ), from which the Mette has developed in German Christian terminology .


Titus Livius mentions Mater Matuta several times in his work Ab urbe condita . He calls the 396 BC Restoration of their temple in Rome by Marcus Furius Camillus , who had already been promised by the Roman King Servius Tullius in the 6th century BC. Chr. Consecrated building should have replaced. He also writes about her temple in the Volscian Satricum. However, we learn little about the cult of the goddess. Even Marcus Terentius Varro reported only slightly from the cakes baked matrons on the feast of the goddess, the Matra Lien.

The equation of the Mater Matuta with the Greek Leukothea, which began at the end of the Roman Republic, was justified by parallels in the ritual and was the reason for Ovid and Plutarch to make the myth of Ino Leukothea the basis of the ritual acts associated with the cult of Mater Matuta. But the equation was already known to Cicero . Ovid's picture of the connection between the Mater Matuta and Leukothea was also reflected in later literature, for example in Hyginus Mythographus , Servius , Augustine and Laktanz .


Web links

Commons : Mater Matuta  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Francesca Prescendi: Mater Matuta. In: The New Pauly (DNP). Volume 7, Metzler, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-476-01477-0 , column 1000 f .; Ovid Fasti 6,473-562.
  2. ^ Filippo Coarelli: Rome. An archaeological city guide . 1st edition. Herder Verlag, Freiburg 1975, ISBN 3-451-17247-X , p. 283-285 .
  3. Livy, Ab urbe condita 5,19,6
  4. Livy, Ab urbe condita 6,33,5
  5. Varro, De linqua Latina 5,106
  6. Plutarch , Quaestiones Romanae 16.
  7. Ovid, Fasti 6,473-562; Plutarch, Camillus 5; Quaestiones Romanae 16. 17.
  8. Cicero, Tusculanae disputationes 1.28; De natura deorum 3.48.
  9. Hyginus, Fabulae 2.224.
  10. ^ Servius, Commentary on Virgil's Aeneid 5,241 and Georgica 1,437.
  11. Augustine, De civitate Dei 18:14.
  12. Laktanz, Divinae institutiones 1,21,23.