In Celtic mythology, Arduinna (also Arduina, Arduinnae or Arduinne) was the eponymous goddess of the Ardennes Forest and region, represented as a huntress riding a boar (primarily in the present-day regions of Belgium and Luxembourg). Her cult originated in what is today known as Ardennes, a region of Belgium, Luxembourg and France. She was later assimilated into the Gallo-Roman mythology of goddess Diana.
In The Gods of the Celts, author Green states that some depictions of Arduinna show her riding a boar (Green 1986, p. 180). However, Deyts notes that the bronze Gallo-Roman statue of a woman in a short belted tunic, riding a boar sidesaddle and holding a knife (Boucher fig.292, or here), bears no inscription, and was simply assumed to be Arduinna by the 19th century antiquarian who discovered it—perhaps because the modern symbol of the Ardennes region is also a boar (Deyts 1992, pp. 46–47).
Arduinna is known from two inscriptions:
- Düren, Germany deae Ardbinnae (CIL XIII, 07848)
- Rome, Italy Arduinne (CIL VI, 00046)
The name Arduinna derives from the Gaulish arduo- meaning height (Delamarre p. 51). It is also found in several placenames, such as the Ardennes Woods (Arduenna silva), the Forest of Arden in England, in personal names Arduunus and Arda — the latter from coinage of the Treveri, (RIG-4, 36-43) — and the Galatian Αρδή. The name Arduenna silva for "wooded heights" was applied to several forested mountains, not just the modern Ardennes: it is found in the départements of Alleuze, Haute-Loire and Puy-du-Dôme (Delamarre pp. 51–52).
It has also been suggested that the gemination nn is typical to a Belgae language, being different from Celtic and thus impelling a Nordwestblock etymology that is also assumed to be closer to Germanic.
In 565, St. Walfroy (Wulfilaïc) preached to the local population of Villers-devant-Orval to persuade them to abandon worship of Arduinna.
- Boucher, S. (1976) Recherches sur les Bronzes Figurés de Gaule Pré-romaine et Romaine (Research on the Bronze Figures of Gaul, Pre-Roman and Roman). Paris, Ecole Français de Rome.
- Colbert de Beaulieu, Jean-Baptiste and Fischer, Brigitte (1998) Receuil des Inscriptions gauloises (RIG) 4: les légendes monétaires. Paris, Editions du CNRS
- Delamarre, Xavier and Lambert, P.Y. (2003). Dictionaire de la Langue Gauloise (Dictionary of the Gaulish Language). 2nd edition. Paris, Editions Errance. ISBN 2-87772-237-6
- Deyts, Simone (1992) Images des Dieux de la Gaule (Images of the Gods of Gaul). Paris Editions Errance. ISBN 2-87772-067-5
- Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL), volume 6, Italia
- Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL), volume 13, Tres Galliae
- Green, Miranda (1986) The Gods of the Celts. Stroud, Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-1581-1
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