Cubrar matrer: goddess of the Picenes?

Betts, Eleanor (2013). Cubrar matrer: goddess of the Picenes? Accordia Research Papers, 12 pp. 119–147.


This paper traces the presence and transformation of the cult of Cupra in Picenum (Marche) and Umbria, from the Iron Age into the Roman imperial period. Its thesis is that Cupra originated as a Picene warrior goddess with a protective function in life and death, whose cult spread within Picenum and into Umbria via the mobile populations of merchants and transhumance pastoralists. At the Umbrian sites, where her cult was monumentalised, Cupra’s worship transformed; losing her martial attributes she became ‘mother Cupra’ (cupras matres, then cubrar matrer), but she retained her association with springs. Finally, in a renaissance under the emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, Cupra’s cult was fixed firmly in Picenum.

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