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Women and Weasels: a Medico-religious Approach to Maternity in a Republican City of Lazio
Published October 10, 2021

Medicine and magico-religious practices went hand in hand in Greco-Roman societies, because they attached enormous importance to divine manifestations. Insofar as the gods were present everywhere and in all circumstances, it was necessary to scrupulously respect the rituals which were practised in their honour. Without these rituals, peace with... the gods could be disrupted. In the town of Palestrina (Lazio), a votive deposit was unearthed near the foundations of a sanctuary. It contained several effigies of Juno as well as eight very original little statuettes with the breasts of a woman but the body of a weasel. In addition, there were also weasel’s bones and metal keys. Even though it seems logical to think that the religious complex and these offerings were evoted to the goddess, it is more difficult, however, to understand the link between Juno and the different offerings. Why were they placed there and by whom?

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