Evocatio and the Transfer of Juno Regina from Veii

The subject of this short study is a legend that describes the transfer of a statue of Juno Regina, the patron goddess of Veii, to Rome in 396 BCE, shortly after the fall of the Etruscan city to the Roman forces led by Camillus. The legend is commonly interpreted as a depiction of evocatio, a ritual meant to convince the tutelary deities of a beseiged city to support the Romans. However, none of the multiple known accounts of the statue’s transfer (the principal of which is provided by Livy) present it as a part of a ritual. The article aims to examine the validity of such a connection by closely comparing the events of the legend, their timing, and their nature to the ancient accounts of evocatio. Following this, a comparison is made to two other legends, preserved by Herodotus and Athenaeus (his source is Menodotus), both of which describe miracles displayed by the images of gods in response to the attempts to move them. On the basis of this comparison it is concluded that the legend of the transfer of Juno Regina is not meant to depict a particular ritual and has emerged merely to provide an explanation of the fact that the ancient Etruscan image has found its place in Rome. Refs 7.

 Isaenko_Evocatio and theTransfer of Juno Regina from Veii