c) The boar-goddess statue: Arduinna?

It has always been taken for granted that the statue in bronze representing a divine huntress riding astride a huge boar, is the figuration of the goddess Arduinna (fig. 50).1132 The goddess, whose head is missing, bears the traditional costume and weapons of Diana. She is dressed with boots, called cothume, and wears a short tunic tied up with a belt at waist level, known as a Dorian chiton*. She has a quiver on her back and holds a small spear or knife in her hand. While Diana has generally a bear as an emblem and is often accompanied by a dog or a doe (fig. 51), here the goddess is associated with a boar.1133 The boar is probably the only element of indigenous character in this image, insomuch as it was a sacred animal for the Celts.1134

The essence of this statuette has been misinterpreted because of a series of inaccuracies which accumulated and were never questioned, thus putting scholars on the wrong track.1135 The origin of this statuette is actually uncertain. Contrary to what is generally asserted, it was apparently not unearthed in the Ardennes but in the Jura.1136 It must have been confused with the Ardennes because this area was inhabited by boars and because the goddess bore a similar name. It was actually the second owner who speculated over its nature and origin and arbitrarily labelled it ‘Arduinna’; a theory which was never challenged.1137 This statuette is not accompanied by a dedication identifying the goddess. It could be the representation of any goddess or spirit of the forest, and this boar-goddess statue in bronze is therefore not a portrayal of the goddess Arduinna. The presence of the boar nonetheless indicates that it is the figuration of a Celtic goddess with the features of the Roman goddess Diana. The statuette being anepigraphic, her name remains unknown.

Fig. 50: Statuette in Bronze of a huntress goddess riding a boar. The place of discovery is uncertain (Jura or Ardennes?). Boucher, 1976, pl. 61, n° 292.
Fig. 50: Statuette in Bronze of a huntress goddess riding a boar. The place of discovery is uncertain (Jura or Ardennes?). Boucher, 1976, pl. 61, n° 292.
Fig. 51: Copy of a 350/340 BC statue of Diana known as ‘from Versailles’ in marble, from the time of Hadrian, representing her with sandals, the chiton*, the quiver and her emblematic animal: the doe. Musée du Louvre, n° 589, Paris.
Fig. 51: Copy of a 350/340 BC statue of Diana known as ‘from Versailles’ in marble, from the time of Hadrian, representing her with sandals, the chiton*, the quiver and her emblematic animal: the doe. Musée du Louvre, n° 589, Paris. LIMC, II.2, p. 592, n°27.

Interestingly, Gregory of Tours, in his 6th-century History of the Franks, mentions the destruction of a huge statue of Diana on Mont-Saint-Walfroy (Ardennes). He reports his meeting with Deacon Walfroy (Vulfilaic), a stylit or pillar-saint1138 who preached to Christianize the local population of Yvois, a town located near the Belgian frontier in the Ardennes.1139 Saint Walfroy had his monastery built at the top of Mont-Saint-Walfroy, a 350-metre high hill overhanging the valley of the Chiers and the Pays d’Yvois, situated eight miles from Yvois. He explained to Gregory of Tours that the local population worshipped a statue of Diana erected on this mount and how he persuaded them to abandon that pagan cult in favour of the Christian God. With his help, they had decided to destroy the pagan idol. It is highly likely that Diana had replaced a previous Celtic goddess. As Arduinna was venerated in the area, it is probable that it was her whom Diana had superseded. It can be thus assumed that Mount-Saint-Walfroy was originally a place of worship for the goddess Arduinna, but this theory remains conjectural.1140 The text is the following:

‘15. Conversion of deacon Vulfilaic.
We started on the journey and came to the town of Yvois and there were met by deacon Vulfilaic and taken to his monastery, where we received a very kind welcome. This monastery is situated on a mountain top about eight miles from the town I have mentioned. On this mountain Vulfilaic built a great church and made it famous for its relics of the blessed Martin and other saints. While staying there I began to ask him to tell me something of the blessing of his conversion and how he had entered the clergy, for he was a Lombard by race. But he would not speak of these matters since he was quite determined to avoid vain­ glory. But I urged him with terrible oaths, first promising that I would disclose to no one what he told and I began to ask him to conceal from me none of the matters of which I would ask. After resisting a long time he was overcome at length by my entreaties and protestations and told the following tale: "When I was a small boy," said he, " I heard the name of the blessed Martin, though I did not know yet whether he was martyr or confessor or what good he had done in the world, or what region had the merit of receiving his blessed limbs in the tomb; and I was already keeping vigils in his honor, and if any money came into my hands I would give alms. As I grew older I was eager to learn and I was able to write before I knew the order of the written letters [before I could read]. Then I joined the abbot Aridius and was taught by him and visited the church of Saint Martin. Returning with him he took a little of the dust of the holy tomb for a blessing. This he placed in a little case and hung it on my neck. Coming to his monastery in the territory of Limoges he took the little case to place it in his oratory and the dust had increased so much that it not only filled the whole case but burst out at the joints wherever it could find an exit. In the light of this miracle my mind was the more on fire to place all my hope in his power. Then I came to the territory of Trèves and on the mountain where you are now built with my own hands the dwelling you see. I found here an image of Diana which the unbelieving people worshiped as a god. I also built a column on which I stood in my bare feet with great pain. And when the winter had come as usual I was so nipped by the icy cold that the power of the cold often caused my toe­nails to fall off and frozen moisture hung from my beard like candles. For this country is said to have a very cold winter." And when I asked him urgently what food or drink he had and how he destroyed the images on the mountain, he said: "My food and drink were a little bread and vegetables and a small quantity of water. And when a multitude began to flock to me from the neighboring villages I preached always that Diana was nothing, that her images and the worship which they thought it well to observe were nothing; and that the songs which they sang at their cups and wild debauches were disgraceful; but it was right to offer the sacrifice of praise to all-powerful God who made heaven and earth. I often prayed that the Lord would deign to hurl down the image and free the people from this error. And the Lord's mercy turned the rustic mind to listen to my words and to follow the Lord, abandoning their idols. Then I gathered some of them together so that by their help I could hurl down the huge image which I could not budge with my own strength, for I had already broken the rest of the small images, which was an easier task. When many had gathered at this statue of Diana ropes were fastened and they began to pull but their toil could accomplish nothing. Then I hastened to the church and threw myself on the ground and weeping begged the divine mercy that the power of God should destroy that which human energy could not overturn. After praying I went out to the workmen and took hold of the rope, and as soon as I began to pull at once the image fell to the ground where I broke it with iron hammers and reduced it to dust. But at this very hour when I was going to take food my whole body was so covered with malignant pimples from sole to crown that no space could be found that a single finger might touch. I went alone into the church and stripped myself before the holy altar. Now I had there a jar full of oil which I had brought from Saint Martin's church. With this I oiled all my body with my own hands and soon lay down to sleep. I awoke about midnight and rose to perform the service and found my whole body cured as if no sore had appeared on me. And I perceived that these sores were sent not otherwise than by the hate of the enemy. And inasmuch as he enviously seeks to injure those who seek God, the bishops, who should have urged me the more to continue wisely the work I had begun, came and said: ' This way which you follow is not the right one, and a baseborn man like you cannot be compared with Simon of Antioch who lived on a column. Moreover the situation of the place does not allow you to endure the hardship. Come down rather and dwell with the brethren you have gathered.' At their words I came down, since not to obey the bishops is called a crime. And I walked and ate with them. And one day the bishop summoned me to a village at a distance and sent workmen with crowbars and hammers and axes and destroyed the column I was accustomed to stand on. I returned the next day and found it all gone. I wept bitterly but could not build again what they had torn down for fear of being called disobedient to the bishop's orders. And sincc then I am content to dwell with the brothers just as I do now.1141

What emerges from all this is that Arduinna is never depicted, as it is often asserted, as a woodland-goddess or a divine huntress, presiding over the forest, wild animals, game and hunting.1142 She does not have the boar as an emblem either. This confusion arose from the misinterpretation of the boar-goddess statuette from the Jura, which is not a representation of Arduinna, and the fanciful depiction from Rome featuring her as a Classical Diana. On account of her name, she must have originally been a personification of the ‘high steep slopes’ and reigned over the ‘sacred heights’, that is hills or mountains.1143 Given that the inscription to her was discovered in Düren and given that her name is cognate with that of the massif of the Ardennes, she must have been the personification and patroness of this mountain and thus of its forest. She is thus similar to the goddess Abnoba, who presided over the massif of the Black Forest in Germany. As a goddess of the ‘Mountain’ or of the ‘High Place’, she is linked to the goddesses Bergusia and Brigantia.


Boucher, 1976, pl. 61, fig. 292 ; Pollini, 2002, pl. 61, fig. 292 ; Duval, 1957, p. 50, fig. 19.


Guirand & Schmidt, 2006, p. 154 ; Carabia, 1999, p. 23 ; see also Carabia, 1966. Such representations are known in Gaul, e.g. the bronze statues from Lyon and Châlon-sur-Saône, see Boucher, 1977, n°31 and 32 (Lyon) ; Babelon , Blanchet, 1895, n° 17 (Châlon).


Mackillop, 2004, pp. 45-46 ; Green, 1995, p. 166 ; Green, 1992, pp. 46-49, 116-119, 157-160, 164-166, 169-171 ; Green, pp. 139-141.


Boucher, 1976, pp. 161, 179 ; Duval, 1957, p. 50 ; LIMC, II.1, p. 853, n° 407 ; Green, 1992a, pp. 33-34 ; Green, 2001, pp. 27-28.


Sterckx, 1995, p. 58.


Ibid, p. 58.


Stylits stood on pillars preaching, fasting and praying, believing that the mortification of their bodies would help ensure the salvation of their souls. Saint Walfroy is the only occidental stylist known.


Yvois has been called Carignan since 1662.


Sterckx, 1998, p. 34 ; Sterckx, 1995, pp. 55-56


Dalton, 1927, Book VIII, 15.


De Vries, 1963, pp. 98, 123 ; Green, 1992a, pp. 33-34 ; Green, 2001, pp. 27, 132 ; Green, 1995, pp. 165-166 ; Olmsted, 1994, p. 429 ; Vendryes, 1997, p. 52 does not say anything about Arduinna expect that she has a boar for emblem ; Maccullogh, 1911, p. 211 ; Hatt, MDG 2, p. 129.


Wagner, 1981, pp. 1-28 ; Sterckx, 1995, pp. 69-72 ; Spickermann, , 2005, p. 139.