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p85 Bona Dea Subsaxana

Article on p85 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.


Bona Dea Subsaxana, aedes (templa, Ov. Fast. V.153): a temple of Bona Dea at the north end of the eastern part of the Aventine, directly south of the east end of the circus Maximus. It lay just below that section of the hill called Saxum (v. Remoria) now occupied by the church of S. Balbina, and hence was named Subsaxana (Ov. cit.; Not. Reg. XII; Merlin 108‑110; BC 1914, 344‑345). The early Roman goddess Bona Dea Fauna (Macrob. Sat. I.12.22; Fest. 68) had apparently been merged in the Greek goddess Damia, whose cult had perhaps been introduced into Rome after the capture of Tarentum, or a little later. To this period the founding of the temple is probably to be assigned. It was restored by Livia, the wife of Augustus (Ov. Fast. V.157‑158), and by Hadrian (Hist. Aug. Hadr. 19), and was standing in the fourth century (Not. Reg. XII), but has left no traces. The statement of Ovid (Fast. V.155‑156) that this temple was dedicated by a Vestal, Claudia, is based on an erroneous identification of this aedes with an aedicula which a Vestal, Licinia, dedicated in 123 B.C., and which evidently was not allowed to stand (Cic. pro domo 136). Bona Dea (Damia) was a goddess of healing and her temple a centre of healing, as is shown by the fact that in this temple snakes moved about unharmed and innocuous, and there was a store within it of herbs of every sort 'ex quibus antistites dant plerumque medicinas' (Macrob. Sat. 1.12.25‑26). No men were allowed to enter its precincts (Fest. 278; Macrob. Ov. locc. citt.). See HJ 181‑183; WR 216‑219; RE III.690‑691; Rosch. I.790‑791; Gilb. II.206‑211; DE I.1015.


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