Goddess of the Sewer: Cloacina

Only the foundation of her shrine remains. Place of original ‘man-hole-cover’ beneath the shrine. Perhaps.

The ancient Romans honored such an vast array of deities, demi gods and goddesses that perhaps it’s not surprising that a very old shrine to the sewer and BM goddess, Cloacina or Venus-Cloacina, has been found. Her reverence extends right back to Rome’s early mean old Etruscan kings and overlords.

‘Cloacina, “The Cleanser” (from the Latin verb cluo, “to cleanse”, from which also cloaca, “sewer, drain”) was a goddess who presided over the Cloaca Maxima (“Greatest Drain”), the main trunk outlet of the system of sewers in Rome. The Cloaca Maxima was said to have been begun by Tarquinius Priscus, one of Rome’s Etruscan kings, and finished by another, Tarquinius Superbus: Cloacina might have originally been an Etruscan deity.’ Prayers for successful bowel movement were common. Romans were superstitious but forthright and stolid and spirits hovered everywhere needing constant ritual placation.

‘A prayer that might have been offered by a Roman to Cloacina:
“O Cloacina, Goddess of this place,
Look on thy suppliants with a smiling face. Soft, yet cohesive let their offerings flow, Not rashly swift nor insolently slow.” ‘

There are things we wouldn’t like in an ancient communal city latrine- like shared sponges-on-sticks instead of TP. But I believe even we postmoderns of the go go world of tomorrow would have to agree that prayer sounds like a great BM.

And, since ‘love has pitched her tent near the place of excrement’:
‘She was also credited with the purification of sexual intercourse within marriage.’ Makes sense.
This is why sex is so popular, central location.

Looks like the women in the boat.

So, next time you are in the porcelain throne room lift your palms high and pray like a Roman with your eyes on fire:
‘Goddess of this place,
Look on thy suppliants with a smiling face…’

Images via Wikipedia.

Unless noted, all text and images by todgermanica.com.

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