The native goddess of Feronia

The city of Feronia is at the foot of Mount Soracte, with the same name as a certain native goddess (1), a goddess greatly honoured by the surrounding peoples; her sacred precinct is in the place; and it has remarkable ceremonies, for those who are possessed by this goddess walk with bare feet through a great heap of embers and ashes without suffering; and a multitude of people come together at the same time, for the sake not only of attending the religious assembly, which is held here every year, but also of seeing the aforesaid sight.

 

(1) Feronia was a goddess associated with wildlife, fertility, health and abundance. She was especially honored among plebians and freedmen. Her festival, the Feroniae, was November 13, Ides of November, during the Ludi Plebeii (“Plebian Games”).

Strabo, Geography , V, 2

Original language: Ancient Greek

Time of action: 1 century BCE

Reliability: Heard from trustful direct witnesses

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