Hludana

Hludana: Germanic goddess, venerated in the area of ancient Xanten and Nijmegen.

The Hludana inscription from Beetgum
The Hludana inscription from Beetgum

The Germanic goddess Hludana is known from five inscriptions. The first one is from Iversheim, west of modern Bonn. The second was discovered at Birten near Xanten, the site of a legionary base named Vetera, occupied by soldiers of VI Victrix and XXX Ulpia Victrix. The third inscription was discovered at Kalkar. The next inscription comes from De Holdeurn near the fortress at the Hunerberg (modern Nijmegen), once the home town of the Tenth Legion Gemina.

These inscriptions were all found in the province of Germania Inferior, in the country of the Cugerni and Batavians, Germanic tribes that had been resettled in the Roman empire.

The last inscription, however, was discovered near the Frisian town of Beetgum, in the north of the Netherlands. This was outside the Roman Empire.note.

DEAE HLVDANAE
CONDVCTORES
PISCATVS MANCIPI
Qvinto VALERIO SECV
NDO Votvm Solvervnt Libentes Merito (more...)
"To the goddess Hludana, the fishing contractors, when Quintus Valerius Secundus acted as tenant, fulfilled their vow willingly and deservedly."
The Hludana inscription from Xanten
The Hludana inscription from Xanten

Perhaps, this stone was stolen by a Frisian chief, or perhaps the people mentioned in the inscription had leased Frisian fishing grounds. The latter is suggested by the fact that the bones of salt-water fish have been discovered at Nijmegen.

It has been assumed that Hludana is identical to Mother Hulda mentioned in the famous German fairy tales of the Grimm Brethern. Mother Hulda is able to create snowfall, and therefore, it has therefore been been thought that Hludana was responsible for the weather. This is an attractive argument, but in fact, it is nothing but speculation, based on the resemblance of the names.

This page was created in 2004; last modified on 10 August 2015.