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.
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.
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.