Originally written on January 11, 2021. Updated 2023
The 11th January is the day in honor of Juturna, born as a nymph of the sources and later became a true goddess of the springs, ponds and streams.
On this day the Vestals drew water from her sacred spring which they would then use in lustration rituals. In honor of the nymph, wreaths of flowers were thrown into the springs and fountains, whose waters were considered sacred.
According to Plutarch and Gellius, her name derived from the verb “iuvare” (to benefit), because pure waters are beneficial for human beings.
Juturna was known by the Etruscans as Uthur, while a source dedicated to her, whose waters had healthy properties, was remembered near the Numicio river, between Lavinio and Ardea, in central Italy, where the nymph was the object of a very ancient cult.
From Lavinio, the cult of Juturna then reached Rome, where she was dedicated to her in the Forum the source from which the Lacus Iuturnae (lake of Juturna) was fed, between the temples of Castor and Vesta.
According to Dionysius, in 499 BC, at the end of the battle of Lake Regillus between the Romans and a coalition of Latins, the dioscuri Castor and Pollux appeared, made their horses water and announced the Roman victory, and then vanished immediately after.
According to the most popular legend, the Nymph was loved by Jupiter who, to reward her for the virginity he had taken from her, gave her the gift of immortality and her dominion over the freshwaters of the Lazio region, in central Italy.
Other sources made her one of the wives of Janus, who from her generated Fonto (Fons), the god of springs, whose temple was located at the foot of the Janiculum.
Virgil (Aeneid XII 146) refers to the first version, according to which Juturna was the daughter of Dauno and sister of Turno, king of the Rutuli of Ardea, a people of pre-Roman Italy settled on the coasts of Lazio.
The nymph takes the appearance of the late Italic leader Camerte, to gather the Rutulian army and then send it to the attack against the Trojans.
Subsequently, she tries to protect her brother in the duel he undertakes against Aeneas, but in the end she is forced to abandon him to his fate by order of Jupiter: unhappy she tears her hair and hits herself in the face and chest, despairing because she cannot die with he.
Juturna, precisely because of her divine condition, is well aware from the beginning of her, of the fate that hangs over her brother, Turn of her.
This apparently privileged condition is for her a condemnation that will push her to extreme attempts to postpone, since she cannot avoid, the death of her brother.
Either way, Juturna received above all the cult of the guilds of artisans who used water as a material or work tool and she was also invoked in periods of drought.
Images from web – Google Research