Name and functions
The name Ataegina is most commonly derived from a Celtic source: the two roots *atte- and *geno- to mean "Reborn" or from *ad-akwī- (Irish adaig) meaning "night". But her presence in decidedly non-Indo-European Iberian regions suggest that she may have an older, indigenous origin, in which case her name's etymology is more likely Iberian or Tartessian. Epigraphs from the Badajoz region associate the goddess with the Roman Proserpina or Persephone which would make her a goddess presiding over Spring and seasonality, echoing the "reborn" derivation of the name.
Ataegina was worshipped in Lusitania and Betica; there were also sanctuaries dedicated to Ataegina in Elvas (Portugal), and Mérida and Cáceres in Spain, along with other places, especially near the Guadiana river. She was one of the goddesses worshipped in Myrtilis (today's Mértola, Portugal), Pax Julia (Beja, Portugal) and especially the city of Turobriga, whose precise location is unknown. A bronze plaque from Malpartida de Cáceres suggests associations with the goat as a sacred animal.
References and bibliography
- Sopeña, Gabriel (2005). "Celtiberian Ideologies and Religion". e-Keltoi: Journal of Interdisciplinary Celtic Studies. 6. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
- Lopes, Cristina Maria Grilo, Ataegina uma divindade Paleohispânica, Revista Santuários. - Lisboa, 2014
- Juan Manuel Abascal, Las inscripciones latinas de Santa Lucía del Trampal (Alcuéscar, Cáceres) y el culto de Ataecina en Hispania, Archivo Español de Arqueología 68: 31-105 (1995)
- Espírito Santo, Moisés. Origens Orientais da Religião Popular Portuguesa. Lisbon: Assírio & Alvim, 1988.
- Michael Jordan, Encyclopedia of Gods, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2002