a festival celebrated at Rome every year
on the 11th of June, in honour of the goddess Mater Matuta, whose temple
stood in the Forum Boarium from the time of Servius Tullius (Liv. 5.19
was celebrated only by Roman matrons, and the sacrifices offered to the
goddess consisted of cakes baked in pots of earthenware (Varro, L.
5.106; Ovid. Fast.
&c.). Slaves were not allowed to take part in the solemnities, or to
enter the temple of the goddess. One slave, however, was admitted by the
matrons, but only to be exposed to a humiliating treatment, for one of the
matrons gave her a blow on the cheek and then sent her away from the temple.
The matrons on this occasion took with them the children of their sisters,
but not their own, held them in their arms, and prayed for their welfare
5; Quaest. Rom.
267). The statue of the goddess was then crowned with a garland, by one of
the matrons who had not yet lost a husband (Tertull. Monogam.
100.17). There can be little doubt that the peculiar ordinances in this
festival arose from an identification of Mater Matuta with Leucothea, also a
goddess of the Dawn. The story of Ino will explain the sisters' children,
the punishment of the slaves and the honour of the once-married, and it is
difficult to find any other satisfactory explanation. At the same time it is
not improbable that the rites connected with the Greek myth are mingled with
a simpler Roman festival of Mothers,
in which the goddess of
lawful marriage and of the birth of children (as of the birth of light) was
honoured. (Compare Preller, Röm. Myth.
p. 286, and
Dict. of Greek and Roman Biography,
arts. Ino and