Andraste

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{god, call, give}
{specie, animal, plant}
{war, force, army}
{woman, child, man}
{theory, work, human}

Andraste, according to Dio Cassius, was an Icenic war goddess invoked by Boudica while fighting against the Roman occupation of Britain in AD 61:[1]

She is mentioned only once. She may be the same as Andate, mentioned later by the same source, and described as 'their name for Victory; i.e. the goddess Victoria.[2] Thayer asserts that she may be related to Andarta also. The goddess Victoria is related to Nike, Bellona, Magna Mater, Cybele, and Vacuna—goddesses who often are depicted on chariots.

Contents

Possible etymology of Andraste

Dissecting the name as and- + -raste, it may be possible to cite Sanskrit andhas 'Soma, Soma-juice' (noting in this connection that Soma-juice was often depicted as prepared by a mythic hare); and Latin rōs 'dew' or rōstrum 'beak' (perhaps allusive of a hatching chick's use of its beak to open its egg, in this case an Easter-egg).

Andraste and hares

Many Neopagan sources describe the hare as sacred to Andraste. This seems to derive from a misreading of the passage in Dio Cassius in which Boudica releases a hare from her gown:

The hare's release is described as a technique of divination, with an augury drawn from the direction in which it runs. This appears to be similar to the Roman methods of divination which ascribe meaning to the directions in which birds fly, with the left side being auspicious and the right side inauspicious.[3]

Taking an augury at this point before a battle is thus a means of testing the 'good fortune' of which Boudica speaks, with no implication that the hare is sacred to Andraste. More importantly, the unflattering comparison of the Romans with 'hares and foxes' is not consistent with the reverence one would expect if the hare were a symbol of the Goddess. Boudica is evidently giving thanks to Andraste for the omen of victory and not addressing the hare as Andraste.

Popular culture

In BioWare's 2009 video game Dragon Age: Origins, a character by the name of Andraste is referenced in the fantasy back story. This character played a role roughly analogous to her real world counterpart.

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External links

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