|Major Roman Gods|
Diana was the equivalent in Roman mythology of the Greek Artemis (see Roman/Greek equivalency in mythology for more details). She was the daughter of Jupiter and Latona, and the twin sister of Apollo. Both were born on the island Delos.
Diana was the perpetual virgin goddess of the hunt, associated with wild animals and forests. She was also a moon goddess, and an emblem of chastity. Oak groves were especially sacred to her. She was praised for her strength, athletic grace, beauty and her hunting skills. With two other Roman deities she made up a trinity: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.
Diana was worshipped in a temple on the Aventine Hill and at the city of Ephesus where stood the Temple of Artemis. (At the city of Ephesus Jesus' mother, the virgin Mary, was officially decreed to be the Mother of God). Diana was regarded with great reverence by lower-class citizens and slaves. Slaves could receive asylum in her temples. She was worshipped at a festival on August 13.
Diana remains an important figure in some modern mythologies. In Freemasonry, she is considered a symbol of imagination, sensibility, and the creative insanity of poets and artists. Those who believe that prehistoric peoples lived in matriarchal societies consider Diana to have originated in a mother goddess worshipped at that time, and she is still worshiped today by women practicing the religion known as Dianic Wicca.
- Adapted from: Wikipedia. (2005). Diana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_%28goddess%29). Retrieved on July 9, 2005.