4.4.2 Female deities

Figure 28

Figure 28: Distribution of Venus, Fortuna and Minerva figurines

None of the female deities appear to have had the widespread appeal of the more popular male deities and even the three most common types – Venus, Minerva and Fortuna – all have a decidedly southern distribution (Figure 28). Venus and Fortuna are both scattered across this region, while Minerva has a slightly eastern concentration in Kent, Essex and East Anglia. These deities are all more likely to appear on urban sites than anywhere else, although the presence of only two Venus figurines in London in contrast to the six Minerva figurines is perhaps surprising. Three Venus figurines were found on urban sites with a military population, but their context is unknown. Those from religious sites are all part of large and diverse groups such as Venus 141 from Woodeaton, Minerva 367 from Lamyatt Beacon, and Fortunas 1166 and 1167 from Springhead. In addition the Southbroom hoard contained Minerva 340 and highly classical Venus 375. Thus it would appear that, while less common, these female deities were an important part of the pantheon and were often included in these group deposits. A number of other figures which perhaps should also be considered in this group are Senuna Minerva 753 and Arms 807 and 808 from Ashwell and the Minerva Fortuna 754 from Hinxworth, all of which were ritually deposited on rural settlement sites.


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