The Roman Lunula Amulet
In the Ancient Roman Empire, lunula amulets were often worn as a lucky charm, but also as protection against evil forces and demons. Special crescent-shaped jewelry pieces were made for girls, to grant them the protection of the goddess Diana. Diana is the goddess of the Moon and also of hunting in Roman mythology. Artemis is the equivalent among the Greek Gods.
The lunula amulet consisted mostly of metal, but was often forged of gold in richer households. When the girl had matured and just shortly before she got married, the lunula amulet was taken off on the evening before the wedding. This was a rite of passage into her new phase of life, the end of childhood, and the onset of the life as a woman. Further, it was custom to burn the lunula amulet together with the girl’s childhood toys.
The lunula amulets and pendants reach back to the 2nd century A.D. in the Roman culture. They were also popular protective amulets in Germania and among the Celts. Viking women also wore crescent-shaped amulets as symbol of fertility, good luck, and a happy life.
Again and again, we find the moon crescent, which gives form to these thoughts and wishes.
Photo: Walters Art Museum