The Italian goddess Diana, "the Bright One" (counterpart of the
Greco-Asian Artemis, whose
Ephesus was one of the Wonders of the Ancient World),
of Apollo, was the protector of wild
and domestic animalsand forests. After contact with Greece, she became
identified with the goddess of the moon, Selene, and the chthonic goddess
Hecate. As goddess of the
was praised for her strength, athletic grace, beauty and
skills. A virgin goddess, she nevertheless was invoked by women to aid
conception and delivery.
Diana's most important temple at Rome was on the Aventine; it housed the foundation charter of the Latin League and was said to date back to King Servius Tullius in the 6th century BC. The statue which was kept in this temple was a copy of the famous Artemis of Ephesus (see coin of Claudius and St. Paul in Ephesus). While she had cult centers all over Italy, the grove of Diana Nemorensis ("Diana of the Wood") on the shores of Lake Nemi ("speculum Dianae") at Aricia was the most famous. It was a shrine common to the cities of the Latin League, where she was associated with Egeria, the water nymph and midwife, and the hero Virbius, her first priest there. Her festival at Rome and Aricia took place on the Ides (13th) of August and was a holiday for slaves (more).
Umbricius' reference here to "your Diana" --meaning ownership by his town or his family -- indicates that there was a known cult, temple, or statue of the goddess at Aquinum.