Roman breastfeeding goddess
Dea Nutrix is the Romanised version of a Celtic goddess of fertility and childbirth, represented as a seated woman breastfeeding two babies.
A number of Dea Nutrix figurines have been discovered in Canterbury and similar figurines are found right across Britain from the Scilly Isles to Hadrian’s Wall. They are also found in France and Germany. Kilns that were used to produce these pipeclay figurines in large numbers during Roman times have been discovered at Toulon-sur-Allier, in the Auvergne region of France.
Roman ladies did not breastfeed their own children: they had wet-nurses to do this. Celtic women, by contrast, did breastfeed their children.
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Laser scanned 3D image of Roman Dea Nutrix figurine on display at Canterbury Roman Museum, discovered in 1860 in the re-building of a bank on Canterbury’s High Street. This 3D animation was created at the University of Kent by the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies (School of European Culture and Languages). Copyright University of Kent