Don’t cry for me, Libitina

Charles Cowling

I’m not ashamed to admit it (I’ve never mistaken myself for someone with a brain), I’d never heard of Libitina til this morning.

You?

Libitina. The Roman goddess of death, corpses and funerals. Gave her name to Roman undertakers: libitinii. She was, if I may quote from m’learned friend Wikipedia, a “black robed, dark winged figure who might, like an enormous bird of prey, hover above her intended victim until the moment came to seize it.” Much like death today, in other words.

One of the gates of the Colosseum was dedicated to Libitina, and through it were dragged the carcasses of despatched gladiators.

Over at Stupid Mart I find that you can bid for a figurine of Libitina on eBay. The listing describes her as: A great piece for your coffee table or to put on your mantle. Buy it for your local undertaker / funeral director, or that special someone who drives a HEARSE. Here she is:

In some traditions, Libitina is the same as Venus:

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[…] shall be provided for this undertaking are not to live on this side of the tower where the grove of Libitina stands today. They are to take their bath after the first hour of the night. They are to enter the […]

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[…] Remember Libitina? She is the Roman goddess of death corpses and funerals (quick refresher here). […]

louise
10 years ago

Looks like a interpretation of that woman who’s funeral you did – but here she’s 60 years younger (wink wink)