Educa is a Roman Goddess of Children Who protects and watches
over them, and Who is especially concerned with the food a child eats. She is
said to help the child transition from drinking breast milk to eating its first
solid foods; mothers would pray to Her to help the transition go smoothly. Her
name likely derives from the Latin noun edulium, meaning "foodstuffs"
or "eatables", though it may perhaps also be related to the verb educa,
meaning "to bring up" or "educate"; this may refer to the
act of teaching the child to eat, or the more general ideas of transition and
the process of growing up.
Educa was said to both provide and bless a child's food, and
watch over the child while he or she ate, presumably to ensure the child ate
well and was nourished properly. Like Rumina, Who
was said to make the milk in a mother's breast flow, and Potina,
Who blessed the child's drink, Educa was one of several Goddesses Who took an
especial interest in the health and well-being of children, an extremely important
role in an age of high infant mortality when more than one in four babies in
ancient Rome did not live through their first year (infant mortality in ancient
Rome has been estimated at 28%, or 280 out of a thousand live birthscompare
that with .8% or eight in a thousand in modern America).
Educa is sometimes linked to Juno, as
a lesser Goddess in Her retinue or as an aspect of Juno Herself as a Mother
Also spelled: Edulia, Edulica, Edusa