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Robyn Le Blanc , Amie Jane Leavitt

Legendary Goddesses (Series): Diana, Roman Goddess of the Hunt

YEAR: 2020

COUNTRY: United States of America

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Title of the work

Legendary Goddesses (Series): Diana, Roman Goddess of the Hunt

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2020

First Edition Details

Amie Jane Leavitt, Diana, Roman Goddess of the Hunt, North Mankato: Snap Books (Capstone Press), 2020, 32 pp.

ISBN

9781543575521 pb

Genre

Myths

Target Audience

Children (Young readers, 6-8 year olds)

Cover

Cover courtesy of Capstone publishing.


Author of the Entry:

Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@biu.ac.il

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Lisa Maurice, Bar- Ilan University, Lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il 

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Female portrait

Robyn Le Blanc

Content Consultant.

Robyn Le Blanc is an assistant professor of Classical Studies at the University of North Carolina., Greensboro. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2016. She researches archaeology of the Roman provinces, mythology, religion, Hellenistic and Roman coinage, and ancient identities.


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@biu.ac.il


Female portrait

Amie Jane Leavitt (Author)

Amie Jane Leavitt is an author and a writer. She writes material for various fields, such as travel, education, health and more. She has written nearly 100 books for children and young adults. Amie Jane Leavitt was a student at Brigham Young University majoring in education. She was also a teacher at a private school for at-risk youth.


Official website (accessed: August 19, 2020).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@biu.ac.il


Summary

This book is part of a Legendary Goddesses by Capstone publishing, a set of short informational books on ancient goddesses, which includes books on Aphrodite, Athena, Hera, Persephone, Freya, Hathor and Isis. The book provides numerous facts on the goddess, such as myth and cults, supplemented by photos and illustrations (from various picture archives such as Alamy, Getty and many more listed in the book’s inner cover.). The photos in the book are accompanied by explanatory notes which describe the illustrated scenes. The book also contains short facts about the goddess which are scattered across the chapters.

The book offers a brief and adapted information on Diana’s related mythology. The myths are included within the various chapters. The different chapters refer to: Actaeon, Diana’s birth by Latona and family tree, a list of Greek gods and their Roman equivalents (Diana, Jupiter, Latona, Apollo, Juno, Minerva, Vesta, Neptune, Venus, Pluto, Ceres, Mars, Mercury, Cupid). Diana’s companions (Egeria and Virbius), Orion, a brief account of Jupiter’s birth, Diana’s Family Tree (grandparents, parents, aunts/uncles and half-siblings), characteristics of the goddess (maiden, symbols and art), her clothing, her powers, her festivals and shrines (with an emphasis on Ephesus) and lastly Diana in pop culture (Wonder Woman).

The book also contains glossaries, both within the individual chapters and at the end of the book, short further reading and index.

Analysis

It is a part of a series of informational texts that use a mixture of storytelling, and archival images to present the goddess Diana.

The author uses the character of the Roman Diana to share information mostly on the Greek Artemis (since less is known about her Roman equivalent). The purpose was perhaps to show the readers how the Romans appropriated the Greek pantheon with its myths. It could also be that since the series display goddesses from various ancient cultures, it was important for the authors/editors of the series to include a Roman goddess as well, and not much is known on the native Roman goddesses (for example Bellona).There is no real difference between the goddesses, except in the inclusion of her Roman festival. Since the book was written with the help of a classical scholar, the difference between the goddesses was probably known to the author, or made known to her, yet she chose not to differentiate between the Greek origin and Roman equivalent. The part on Diana’s festivals is purely Roman and refers to the ancient Roman festivals of Nemoralia. It is noted how this festival was later appropriated by the Catholic church and was renamed “The Feast of the Assumption of Mary”. This fact reveals how the origins of some Christian religious services share an origin with ancient Roman religion and cult.

The pop culture addition reveals to the young readers how the image of Wonder Woman is connected with an ancient mythological character and hence connects ancient mythology with present pop culture, perhaps the revival of the Wonder Woman franchise featuring Gal Gadot (whose photo appears in this chapter) contributed to this addition.

As noted, the book is adapted for young readership. However, the story of Actaeon may be too gruesome for young children. In the narrated myth, after turning into a deer, Actaeon tries desperately to call his friends but they of course do not understand him and unleash the hounds. In the end, it is mentioned that “they overtook him” [p. 7]. Yet the story does not end there. It is further narrated that in the evening his friends fathered for a hearty meal and say: “Actaeon missed a great hunt today…he’s always wanted to get a giant deer. I can’t wait to tell him about it!” [p. 7]. This conversation highlights the tragic end of Actaeon and may even allude to some kind of cannibalism, if his friends ate the deer. In the ancient versions of the story (by Pausanias, Callimachus, Pseudo-Apollodorus, Ovid) the dogs are the ones which devour his flesh. 

The version of the story in the present book appears to be an adaption of Ovid’s Metamorphoses although the source in that specifically mentioned. In Ovid, Actaeon’s friends encourage the dogs and wonder where he is, but this takes place before the killing and not after. As Ovid pointedly writes (Metamoprhoses book 3, lines 242ff.), “but his companions, witless of his plight, urged on the swift pack with their hunting cries. They sought Actaeon and they vainly called, “Actaeon! Hi! Actaeon!” just as though he was away from them. Each time they called he turned his head. And when they chided him, whose indolence denied the joys of sport, how much he wished an indolent desire had haply held him from his ravenous pack.” (The translation is by Brookes More, 1922, and cited from the Theoi.com website, accessed: August 19, 2020). 

Regarding Orion, the author preferred the version in which he was killed due to Apollo’s jealousy of his friendship with Diana, probably because mentioning his attempt to rape her companion was too threatening for young readers. The myth of Orion displays connection to modern astronomy, and, as with the church and Wonder Woman, presents the ancient mythology as an ever relevant and evolving field and show how mythology is present at various aspects of our modern life.


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Title of the work

Legendary Goddesses (Series): Diana, Roman Goddess of the Hunt

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2020

First Edition Details

Amie Jane Leavitt, Diana, Roman Goddess of the Hunt, North Mankato: Snap Books (Capstone Press), 2020, 32 pp.

ISBN

9781543575521 pb

Genre

Myths

Target Audience

Children (Young readers, 6-8 year olds)

Cover

Cover courtesy of Capstone publishing.


Author of the Entry:

Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@biu.ac.il

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Lisa Maurice, Bar- Ilan University, Lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il 

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Female portrait

Robyn Le Blanc

Content Consultant.

Robyn Le Blanc is an assistant professor of Classical Studies at the University of North Carolina., Greensboro. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2016. She researches archaeology of the Roman provinces, mythology, religion, Hellenistic and Roman coinage, and ancient identities.


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@biu.ac.il


Female portrait

Amie Jane Leavitt (Author)

Amie Jane Leavitt is an author and a writer. She writes material for various fields, such as travel, education, health and more. She has written nearly 100 books for children and young adults. Amie Jane Leavitt was a student at Brigham Young University majoring in education. She was also a teacher at a private school for at-risk youth.


Official website (accessed: August 19, 2020).


Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, ayelet.peer@biu.ac.il


Summary

This book is part of a Legendary Goddesses by Capstone publishing, a set of short informational books on ancient goddesses, which includes books on Aphrodite, Athena, Hera, Persephone, Freya, Hathor and Isis. The book provides numerous facts on the goddess, such as myth and cults, supplemented by photos and illustrations (from various picture archives such as Alamy, Getty and many more listed in the book’s inner cover.). The photos in the book are accompanied by explanatory notes which describe the illustrated scenes. The book also contains short facts about the goddess which are scattered across the chapters.

The book offers a brief and adapted information on Diana’s related mythology. The myths are included within the various chapters. The different chapters refer to: Actaeon, Diana’s birth by Latona and family tree, a list of Greek gods and their Roman equivalents (Diana, Jupiter, Latona, Apollo, Juno, Minerva, Vesta, Neptune, Venus, Pluto, Ceres, Mars, Mercury, Cupid). Diana’s companions (Egeria and Virbius), Orion, a brief account of Jupiter’s birth, Diana’s Family Tree (grandparents, parents, aunts/uncles and half-siblings), characteristics of the goddess (maiden, symbols and art), her clothing, her powers, her festivals and shrines (with an emphasis on Ephesus) and lastly Diana in pop culture (Wonder Woman).

The book also contains glossaries, both within the individual chapters and at the end of the book, short further reading and index.

Analysis

It is a part of a series of informational texts that use a mixture of storytelling, and archival images to present the goddess Diana.

The author uses the character of the Roman Diana to share information mostly on the Greek Artemis (since less is known about her Roman equivalent). The purpose was perhaps to show the readers how the Romans appropriated the Greek pantheon with its myths. It could also be that since the series display goddesses from various ancient cultures, it was important for the authors/editors of the series to include a Roman goddess as well, and not much is known on the native Roman goddesses (for example Bellona).There is no real difference between the goddesses, except in the inclusion of her Roman festival. Since the book was written with the help of a classical scholar, the difference between the goddesses was probably known to the author, or made known to her, yet she chose not to differentiate between the Greek origin and Roman equivalent. The part on Diana’s festivals is purely Roman and refers to the ancient Roman festivals of Nemoralia. It is noted how this festival was later appropriated by the Catholic church and was renamed “The Feast of the Assumption of Mary”. This fact reveals how the origins of some Christian religious services share an origin with ancient Roman religion and cult.

The pop culture addition reveals to the young readers how the image of Wonder Woman is connected with an ancient mythological character and hence connects ancient mythology with present pop culture, perhaps the revival of the Wonder Woman franchise featuring Gal Gadot (whose photo appears in this chapter) contributed to this addition.

As noted, the book is adapted for young readership. However, the story of Actaeon may be too gruesome for young children. In the narrated myth, after turning into a deer, Actaeon tries desperately to call his friends but they of course do not understand him and unleash the hounds. In the end, it is mentioned that “they overtook him” [p. 7]. Yet the story does not end there. It is further narrated that in the evening his friends fathered for a hearty meal and say: “Actaeon missed a great hunt today…he’s always wanted to get a giant deer. I can’t wait to tell him about it!” [p. 7]. This conversation highlights the tragic end of Actaeon and may even allude to some kind of cannibalism, if his friends ate the deer. In the ancient versions of the story (by Pausanias, Callimachus, Pseudo-Apollodorus, Ovid) the dogs are the ones which devour his flesh. 

The version of the story in the present book appears to be an adaption of Ovid’s Metamorphoses although the source in that specifically mentioned. In Ovid, Actaeon’s friends encourage the dogs and wonder where he is, but this takes place before the killing and not after. As Ovid pointedly writes (Metamoprhoses book 3, lines 242ff.), “but his companions, witless of his plight, urged on the swift pack with their hunting cries. They sought Actaeon and they vainly called, “Actaeon! Hi! Actaeon!” just as though he was away from them. Each time they called he turned his head. And when they chided him, whose indolence denied the joys of sport, how much he wished an indolent desire had haply held him from his ravenous pack.” (The translation is by Brookes More, 1922, and cited from the Theoi.com website, accessed: August 19, 2020). 

Regarding Orion, the author preferred the version in which he was killed due to Apollo’s jealousy of his friendship with Diana, probably because mentioning his attempt to rape her companion was too threatening for young readers. The myth of Orion displays connection to modern astronomy, and, as with the church and Wonder Woman, presents the ancient mythology as an ever relevant and evolving field and show how mythology is present at various aspects of our modern life.


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