OGOD

Celtic

Egyptian

Etruscan

Phoenician

Roman

 

 

 



Carna is a protective Roman Goddess, who brings strength of the physical body. Her name is related to the Latin caro, "flesh", and She protects and keeps healthy the vital organs, especially the lungs, liver and heart. At Her festival it was traditional to serve a soup made from bacon and beans; She is also the Goddess who helps the body derive nourishment from food, and to convert it to physical health and strength.

Her festival on the 1st of June was called the Fabrariae Calendae (the "Calends of the Beans", fabae being "beans"—which I guess makes "fava bean" redundant), from the offerings made. As mentioned above, the traditional food of the day was a dish of beans and bacon with spelt (a grain which is related to wheat), believed to be an especially strengthening dish, which is quite true, as they all contain a lot of protein. Eating this dish on this day was said to protect one's internal organs and bring health for the following year. The poet Ovid, though he confuses Her with the Goddess Cardea, says that the association of these simple foods with this Goddess proves Her great antiquity. These offerings were made in a sacred grove in which Carna was said to live, down by the Tiber river, and which was dedicated to the otherwise unknown God Alernus (or Helernus).

Carna had a sanctuary on the Caelian Hill, the most south-eastern of the seven hills, traditionally vowed by L. Junius Brutus, the very first consul (whose surname means "Idiot", by the by) on the 1st of June at the very beginning of the Roman Republic, which is usually said to have been around 510 BCE. This sanctuary or temple may have stood for a good 700 years, as it is mentioned in the writings of Tertullian, a 3rd century Christian who was trained as a lawyer. However, he calls Her a Hinge-Goddess (that is, Cardea), so perhaps he had the wrong Goddess (and wrong shrine) too.

Carna is still confused with Cardea, the Goddess of Door-hinges, which is Ovid's fault; they are not related at all, merely having similar names. The story I've given under Cardea, where She protects a child from vampires with whitethorn, was told of Carna by Ovid; though he hopelessly mixes Them up, the Goddess in the tale does offer the vital organs of a pig as substitute for those of the child attacked by the vampire, so perhaps Carna was meant after all, as the vital organs are Her subject.

Also called: Carnea, Dea Carna

One of these days I'm going to go through my copy of Apicius and see if I can't find an ancient Roman recipe for bacon and bean soup. If I do, I'll post it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All art here ©2004 Thalia Took, aka The Artist Formerly Known As Mary Crane.
You are free to borrow the images here for your own personal or religious use. If you use any on your
personal non-commercial website, please credit the work to Thalia Took.
If you can link back to this site, I'd appreciate it. Always ask permission first for any other requests for use of this art.
Obscure Goddess Online Directory text ©2006 Thalia Took, and please do not reproduce it.
Questions or comments? E-mail me.