Thursday, 12 July 2012

A Hindu Goddess in Rome

There is another surprising connection between the Hindu tradition and ancient Rome.

When the Romans fighting the Carthaginian Empire for control of the Mediteranean (and in the beginning, pretty much losing), they appealed for help from an oracle. It advised them to seek the aid of Magna Mater, a forecious goddess who had been whorshipped in Turkey since at least the eighth century B.C.E. So in 204 B.C.E., a Roman delgation was sent to Phrygia in Asia Minor to beg, borrow, or steal a sacred image of the goddess. After a considerable amount of wheeling and dealing, the image was finally brought back to Rome.

Now, Magna Mater knew the Romans didin't really have much confidence in her abailities, so just before the boat carrying her image was about to enter the city, she grounded it in the Tiber River. It was completely stuck-it absolutely wouldn't budge. It wasn't a good omen that the Goddess of Victory refused to enter Rome!

A priests of the goddess, whose name was Claudia, was summoned to the scene. Tying her belt around the ship's prow, Claudia respectfully requested Magna Mater to enter Rome. The boat lurched forward instantly.

Shortly afterward, the Romans finally got the better of Hannibal and gleefully sacked the city of Carthage. Until Rome's conversion to Christianity, Magna Mater remained the presiding deity of Rome, divine protectress of the cradle of Western civilization.

No comments:

Post a Comment