Who is Bellona and Was She More Powerful than Mars? Piecing Together the Identity of the Mysterious Ancient Roman Goddess of War | Ancient Origins Members Site


Who is Bellona and Was She More Powerful than Mars? Piecing Together the Identity of the Mysterious Ancient Roman Goddess of War

Who is Bellona and Was She More Powerful than Mars? Piecing Together the Identity of the Mysterious Ancient Roman Goddess of War

In his History, Livy reported that during a critical part of the battle against the Samnites in 296 BCE, the general Appius Claudius was seen in the front lines raising his hands as he uttered a prayer, “Bellona, if you grant us victory today, I promise to build you a temple.” This prayer was proven to be effective as the Romans proceeded to capture and plunder the Samnite camp, bringing a massive amount of booty to their own soldiers.

Bust of Bellona, Brussels, Belgium (MichelWal/CC BY-SA 3.0)

More than a thousand years later, Shakespeare introduced Macbeth as a violent and brave warrior when the Thane of Ross calls him "Bellona's bridegroom," placing her as the equivalent of Mars himself!


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