Juno was an ancient goddess of Rome, and the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Hera. She was a powerful figure in Roman mythology, and the month of June was named after her. Juno was considered the protector and special counselor of the Roman State, but was also equated with a myriad of other names, positions, and roles. She has a primal connection with the ideas of “vital energy” and “eternal youthfulness”, but also with strength and sovereignty. In other instances, she represents power, in politics and war. Her cult following was also confusingly complex, being a mixing pot of “regality, military protection, and fertility”. She was worshipped as one of the Triad on the Capitol in Rome, along with Jupiter and Minerva, but her character was considered far more complex and diverse than any other Roman deity.
While her primary role as the queen goddess is widely debated, most scholars agree that she consists of an “interdependence of three traits: sovereignty, war, and fertility”. First and foremost, Juno was the queen of the gods and shared an interesting relationship with Jupiter as both his sister and wife. As a guardian, she watched over the finances of the empire and looked out for the women of Rome. In some interpretations, Juno was the physical expression of femininity and fertility, and was often connected to childbirth and marriage. Being a goddess of so many different roles, Juno’s worshippers spanned the vastness of the Roman Empire, with temples being offered to her in many major cities. One of the most famous of them rested on Arx of the Capitoline hills.
Juno had a number of festivals commemorating her different roles. The Matronalia, an annual festival held on the first of March, celebrated her role Juno Lucina as the “protectress of the Matronae and of the preservation of marriages” by worshippers who sacrificed cows and lambs in her honor at her temple in Cispius. The Matronalia was also a conglomeration of three festivals, as it was also considered the beginning of the new year and the birth of Romulus; two events tied that could be considered closely tied with Juno’s representation of fertility.
Juno. Encyclopedia Mythica. Retrieved December 9, 2011, from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.
Checked for grammar and originality by Griffin Donohue on 12/20/11