15. The Gendered Deep History of the Bona Dea Cult
Leonardo Ambasciano [+]
The chapter offers an overview of the cult of Bona Dea in light of the gendered social framework of ancient Roman society. Intrasexual competition and patriarchal, institutionalized sociodicy are taken into account, respectively, as ultimate and proximate explanations of the Bona Dea mythography. The diffusion of the cult and its spread in the literary environment are also tentatively explained by the presence of specific narrative elements (e.g. metamorphosis), some of which are apt to elicit strong reactions (i.e. rape, incest). Finally, the December cult devoted to the goddess is interpreted as a teletropic ritual device both symbiotic/euphoric (i.e. stress-relieving) and exploitative (i.e. a top-down concession enhancing psychological dependence on masculine hierarchy).