In a previous piece we speculated on the origins of the goddess invoked by the Briton Queen Boudica in her famous last stand against the Roman invaders, in 67 AD.
On page 177 of Richard Carlyon’s excellent book ‘A Guide to the Gods’ we find a description of the Greek goddess Nemesis.
Goddess of destiny; alias Adrasteia, ‘the inevitable’
Wikipedia has a listing for ‘Adrestia (Greek: Ἀδρήστεια) in Greek mythology ‘she who cannot be escaped’ was the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite and known to accompany her father Ares to war. She was venerated as a goddess of revolt, just retribution and sublime balance between good and evil. Because of her role in revenge and retribution, she was usually portrayed with Nemesis, and sometimes identical to Nemesis herself, who had the epithet of Adrestia or Adrasteia.’
Were the Greeks known to the Druids, or more importantly, were the Druids known to the Greeks? The answer is, yes. In fact, the Greeks believed that the study of philosophy originated with the barbarian magicians, such as the Druids.
‘The earliest record of the druids comes from two Greek texts of c. 300 BCE: one, a history of philosophy written by Sotion of Alexandria, and the other a study of magic widely attributed to Aristotle. Both texts are now lost, but were quoted in the 2nd century CE work Vitae by Diogenes Laertius.
Some say that the study of philosophy originated with the barbarians. In that among the Persians there existed the Magi, and among the Babylonians or Assyrians the Chaldaei, among the Indians the Gymnosophistae, and among the Celts and Gauls men who were called druids and semnothei, as Aristotle relates in his book on magic, and Sotion in the twenty-third book of his Succession of Philosophers.
So its quite possible that the Greeks took some of the gods of their pantheon from the Druids, whom they considered philosophically superior, with Adrasteia being just one such goddess.
So in light of this information, wouldn’t it make much more sense that Boudica – who, having been humiliated by the Romans when they raped her daughters and stole her land, was leading a revolt against the invaders – was instead invoking the goddess of revolt, retribution and justice ‘Adrasteia’, rather than ‘Andrasta’, who was merely a mother goddess loosely associated with war? The incident with the hare seems to suggest that an element of redressing balance was present in the ritual performed by Boudica in that field many years ago, a retribution that would eventually befall the Romans, when centuries later it would be the Welsh Briton Queen Helena who effectively brought about the dissolution of their empire, by encouraging her son Constantine to adopt Christianity as the official religion.
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