Coventina

Coventina

Origin: Celtic Britain

Classification: Mermaid

Coventina is a water spirit presiding over the Carrawburgh River, Northumberland, once the Roman settlement of Brocolitia. She heals illness, restores fertility, and was venerated by colonizing Romans as well as Celts. The Romans identified her with Minerva. Her temple surrounded a pool fed by a sacred spring. Although now her only known shrine, she was not a local goddess but was also venerated in northwestern Spain and in Narbonne in Southern Gaul. She was not an insignificant deity—no little mermaid. The language used by the Romans indicates that they considered her to have the rank of a state deity.

Her spring and well were enclosed in approximately 130 CE. The shrine was very popular in the late second and third centuries. In 391 CE, the Theodosian Edict abolished Paganism and ordered the closing of Pagan temples and shrines. Evidence indicates that devotees attempted to hide Coventina’s shrine by placing building stones over the well.

Attribute: Water lily or water lily leaf

Sacred site: Coventina’s shrine was at Carrawburgh on Hadrian’s Wall.

Offerings: Among the offerings recovered from her shrine are terra-cotta ex-votos in the form of parts of the body; as many as 16,000 coins and a bronze incense burner inscribed with Coventina’s name; jewelry; pins (usually indicating petitions for safe childbirth)

See also: Mermaid; Minerva; and the Glossary entry for Milagro

Judika Illes
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.