Discussion:
Adeona, Abeona?
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Dan Tompkins
2008-06-13 09:02:33 UTC
Permalink
Folks,

My neighbor floored me today when she asked about the Roman goddess
who took care of children, Abeona. Not a name I'd known at all.
Googling around now I find her and Adeona, but not much, and not much
in the way of sources. Diotima's search engine yielded nothing. So
I'd be interested to learn which ancient authors refer to these (or
possibly "this") deity.

Very best,

Dan Tompkins
Ernest Moncada
2008-06-13 21:47:51 UTC
Permalink
Dear Dan:

I'm sure your googling must have turned up first and foremost De Civ. Dei
IV. 21, given that Augustine seems to derive great pleasure from listing the
meanest and least important of the Roman divinities and their assigned
tasks. I checked a number of classical dictionaries and could find no
mention of Adeona or Abeona (the only exception was Lempriere who lists
Abeoma as "a divinity whom the Romans invoked when going to undertake a
journey." a bit different from the nursery tasks others assign her. Also
Oskar Seyffert, Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, mentions both of them
(p.319) in connection with teaching children to "come and go." One citation
offered Cicero, De nat. deor., II. 23 but could not find anything
substantive there. Tertullian, II. 11, 15. mentions them, Adeona helping the
child "come to dear Mama" and Abeona helping him to trundle off again. There
was a ref. to Varro, Antiquitates Rerum Divinarum, as a local habitation but
no location. Arnobius, Adv. nat., III, 37 not informative and Lactantius,
Div. Inst. I, 20, 13 unexamined.

So Varro and Cicero were the only 'Roman' writers I found (in a very
hasty search) who were referred to. The Christian writers, after they are
lined up in order of time, must have done some trading off, one with the
other.
Regards, EJM
Post by Dan Tompkins
Folks,
My neighbor floored me today when she asked about the Roman goddess who
took care of children, Abeona. Not a name I'd known at all. Googling
around now I find her and Adeona, but not much, and not much in the way of
sources. Diotima's search engine yielded nothing. So I'd be interested to
learn which ancient authors refer to these (or possibly "this") deity.
Very best,
Dan Tompkins
Dan Tompkins
2008-06-13 21:57:11 UTC
Permalink
Thanks very much, Ernest! A very nice list.

A colleague had pointed me to the Tertullian and Augustine passages,
and I went no further -- for my neighbor, that was enough, though I
did wonder about additional passages. So I'm very grateful for the
list below.

Augustine DCD 4.21 is a wonderful take-down of polytheism, with its
swarms of unnecessary deities. I take Adeona and Ab-eona as a sort of
reductio ad absurdum of polytheism, since their tasks are so very
limited.

Thanks a lot!

Best,

Dan
Post by Ernest Moncada
I'm sure your googling must have turned up first and foremost De Civ. Dei
IV. 21, given that Augustine seems to derive great pleasure from listing the
meanest and least important of the Roman divinities and their assigned
tasks. I checked a number of classical dictionaries and could find no
mention of Adeona or Abeona (the only exception was Lempriere who lists
Abeoma as "a divinity whom the Romans invoked when going to
undertake a
journey." a bit different from the nursery tasks others assign her. Also
Oskar Seyffert, Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, mentions both of them
(p.319) in connection with teaching children to "come and go." One citation
offered Cicero, De nat. deor., II. 23 but could not find anything
substantive there. Tertullian, II. 11, 15. mentions them, Adeona helping the
child "come to dear Mama" and Abeona helping him to trundle off again. There
was a ref. to Varro, Antiquitates Rerum Divinarum, as a local
habitation but
no location. Arnobius, Adv. nat., III, 37 not informative and
Lactantius,
Div. Inst. I, 20, 13 unexamined.
So Varro and Cicero were the only 'Roman' writers I found (in a very
hasty search) who were referred to. The Christian writers, after they are
lined up in order of time, must have done some trading off, one with the
other.
Regards, EJM
Post by Dan Tompkins
Folks,
My neighbor floored me today when she asked about the Roman goddess who
took care of children, Abeona. Not a name I'd known at all.
Googling
around now I find her and Adeona, but not much, and not much in the way of
sources. Diotima's search engine yielded nothing. So I'd be
interested to
learn which ancient authors refer to these (or possibly "this") deity.
Very best,
Dan Tompkins
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