Weekly Deity: Trivia


Trivia is a minor Roman goddess of magic, crossroads, graveyards, and also the underworld.  She is the (rough) Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Hekate.  The name “Trivia” is Latin for “three roads”, “tri-” the prefix meaning three and “via” the noun meaning road or way.

Attributes

Like her Greek counterpart, Trivia was often shown as a mature woman in the usual Roman gown women wore, but she had three faces, or was shown with two copies of herself by her sides.  Rarely was she shown in the singular.  At times she was shown carrying torches.

Mythology and Worship

Trivia’s parents or siblings, if she had any, are not listed anywhere in literature.  It’s possible that Trivia took on the same parents as Hekate, Perses and Asteria, and these were translated into Roman counterparts, but it’s unknown if this is the case.

As a goddess of the underworld, Trivia was supposed to help with guiding the spirits of the dead to the afterlife.  As such she was a goddess of the dead, the underworld, and of transitions–she aided the dead in making the transition to being dead.  Her torches provided illumination on the path to the underworld.  The Romans believed dogs were sacred to Trivia,

The Roman myths are almost exactly the same as the Greek myths for Hekate.  Trivia aids Ceres (Demeter) in regaining her daughter Proserpine (Persephone) from Hades after her abduction by bringing Proserpine back to the surface of the Earth from the underworld.  She was also supposed to have stolen away young maidens, despite her help in finding and returning the young Proserpine, in order to use these maidens in her magical workings.  These women became nymphs, one of whom was supposedly Phoebe.  Also, as a goddess of the night, Trivia was associated with Diana, goddess of the moon.

Trivia is listed as a more minor goddess in ancient Roman religion.  However, given the wide range of duties that fall into her realms of influence, I would argue that Trivia was probably a more influential goddess than archaeology or history can account for currently.

Light Side

Trivia, like Hekate, has a Light side to her that is perhaps her true nature rather than the twisted version of a Dark, evil goddess that modern culture seems to have of painted her.  On the Light side, Trivia is a goddess of illumination, transition, the night, and of ghosts.  She is a guardian of the ghosts, which could also potentially translate into being a guardian of the psyche.  Illumination brings knowledge, and sometimes wisdom.  Transitions can be harsh, but most of the time a transition is something necessary to a person’s life, especially the major transition from childhood to adulthood to old age and finally the transition to death.  This makes Trivia necessary to life, as the goddess of transitions.  And her association with night connects her more strongly to the moon (illumination, transition, wisdom), the underworld, and ghosts.

Dark Side

On the Dark side, she supposedly steals away maidens and uses them for her own gain.  There are no myths to say if this is a true attribute of Trivia’s or not, so it is possible that this aspect of her was added later on in an attempt to make her frightening.  As I said before, transitions can be harsh.  They aren’t always easy to deal with or get through, and Trivia, like Hekate, can be harsh in these transitions.  She makes them happen, but doesn’t necessarily decide what the transition is going to be–that is determined by the person and the person’s life decisions and growth.  The association with ghosts and the underworld can make Trivia rather frightening as well, but this doesn’t seem like a connection to be overly concerned about, as the underworld is natural for the religion and it’s not as if Trivia is gathering an army of ghosts–she simply guides the souls of the dead to their resting place.

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One response to “Weekly Deity: Trivia

  1. Another interesting deity post! Keep them coming! 🙂

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