A New Goddess for Roman Britain

Mirabilis.ca seems to be first of the mark with a link to a Guardian story about the British Museum’s discovery of a hitherto unknown Romano-Celtic divinity named Senua. It appears the ancient Britons identified/assimilated her with Minerva, although much research remains to be done.

Read the full story in the Guardian  (with photo) …

More details (and a different photo of some of the finds) can be had in the Summer 2003 issue of Friends of the British Museum magazine (pdf)…

I’m sure we’ll hear more about this … more links will be included in the next issue of Explorator. Until then, however, it’s interesting to note that the magazine piece noted above comments about the identification with Minerva thus:

The combination of the name Senua with the image of Minerva would suggest the twinning of a local British deity with the popular Roman goddess of wisdom and the crafts. Minerva also had warlike protective powers and an association with healing and with springs, as at Bath, where, twinned with Sulis, she controlled Roman Britain’s only thermal spring.

The Guardian piece also mentions a potential link with a spring. It’s interesting because for a number of years, Thomas Ikins has been working on a website called The Roman Map of Britain, which is based on his research into the Ravenna Cosmography and various other sources which indicate the Roman place names of various sites. At this site he tries to figure out what the modern equivalents of ancient place names are and one of those place names, or rather, rivers, happens to be Senua! As might be expected, given that the divinity was hitherto unknown, he is unable to positively identify where it is, but does give a rough location.  I can’t find a decent map to check if he’s in the cricket field or not.