Weekly Deity: Angitia


Angitia, also known as Angita, was a Roman goddess of snakes, healing, and witchcraft.

Attributes

No pictures are available, but Angitia would probably have been shown in a gown with snakes in her hands, on her arms, or somehow pictured with her in some way.  It’s unlikely that she would have not had snakes somewhere with her since they seem to be her main, defining feature.

Mythology

Her origin is debatable.  Servius said that she was originally Greek, though she is attributed to the Romans.  She is said to have great powers over snakes, including killing them with a touch and could heal any snakebite.  Her healing powers were wonderful, and she was supposed to have taught people remedies for snakebites and antidotes for snake poison, as well as being a miraculous and herbal healer.  Angitia supposedly had powers of witchcraft, but the definition of what that means is debatable.  It could refer to her miraculous healing, or to her ability to recite and cast incantations that work as spells do, or any number of things.

She was worshiped by the Marsi and the Marrubians, from central Italy, as well as the Romans.   Some equate her with Medea, the wife and helper of Jason of the Argonauts, while others compare her more closely to the Roman goddess Bona Dea (“the good goddess”).

Light and Dark Sides

Angitia seems, from these small accounts, to have been a great healer.  This puts her on the Light side of the scale.  Her association with snakes would today put her on the Dark side with most people, but snakes to the Romans were animals of healing and of great benefit, and to apply a modern interpretation to an ancient tradition would in this case be wrong.  Therefore, she is probably a mostly Light deity of rather large significance to certain groups of Italians, considering how the Marsi and Marrubians revered her and raised a temple in her name.

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