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Juno Sospita


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Juno Sospita, or according to the more ancient mode of writing it Sispita, Juno the preserver; also called Lanuvina, because she had a temple and statue at Lanuvium. On a coin of the Procilia family she has on her tunic a goat skin, which also serves as the covering of her head. The points of her shoes are turned up, after a fashion which was renewed in the 12th century AD. She is armed with a buckler and lance to defend the people under her protection. The serpent which is at her feet is a symbol of the health and safety which they owe to her, and also serves to typify the serpent to which a young girl of Lanuvium went every year to offer it nourishment in its cavern. This denarius was struck by L. Procilius whilst he was monetary triumvir. He chose this type because his family was originally of Lanuvium, where he perhaps possessed the estate called Prociliana, and by corruption Porcilien, which has become celebrated for the great number of monuments discovered there. See Procilia.

Juno Sospita crowning an Augur, is seen on a denarius of the Cornificia family, bearing the inscription of Q CORNVFICI AVGVR IMP. For by an institution of Numa, perpetuating a most ancient ceremony of the Aborigines, a goat was sacrificed at the altar of Juno, in the presence of an Augur, as appears on a denarius of Licinius Varus; whence Juno Sospita herself is made to place a crown on the head of Quintus Cornuficius, standing in his angural robes and with his lituus of office. The emperor Trajan rstored this numismatic monument, relating to the religion and to the history of times long antecedent to his own.

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