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Hertha

A goddess worshipped by the ancient Germans, and, according to Tacitus ( Germ. 40), the same with the earth. She was supposed to take part in human affairs, and even sometimes to come among mortals. She had a sacred grove in an island of the ocean, and a chariot, covered with a veil, standing in the grove and consecrated to her service. Whenever it was known that the goddess had descended into this her sanctuary, her car was got ready, cows were yoked to it, and the deity was carried around in the covered vehicle. Festivity reigned in every place which the goddess honoured with her presence; wars ceased, arms were laid aside, and peace and harmony prevailed, until the priest declared that the goddess was sated with human society, and once more enclosed her within the temple. The island mentioned by Tacitus is supposed by many to have been that of Rügen, in the Baltic, while others have placed it in the Northern Ocean. See Rabus, De Dea Hertha (Augsburg, 1842).

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