Fountain of Anna Perenna

Fountain of Anna Perenna

The fountain of Anna Perenna was discovered in 1999 during the excavation work for an underground parking garage at the corner of piazza Euclide and Via G. Dal Monte, in Rome’s northern district of Parioli. The excavation, carried out at a depth between about 6 and 10 metres from the level of the street, brought to light the remains of a rectangular-shaped fountain with immured inscriptions bearing the name of the goddess. Anna Perenna was an ancient Roman deity of the origins, whose celebration fell on the day of the Ides of March, the primitive Roman New Year’s Day, as testified by Ovid’s Fasti.

The existence of the fountain is reported from the 4th c. BCE at least and its use until the 6th c.CE. In the tank at the back the fountain, within clotted mud, there were found diverse objects used for magical practices and religious rituals: lamellae (small and thin lead laminas) with curses, lead canisters containing anthropomorphic figurines, a copper pot and several coins and oil lamps. Along with other objects, they are now kept in the Epigraphic section of the National Roman Museum, which is housed in the Baths of Diocletian.

The discovery of the magic rituals practiced at the fountain of Anna Perenna by means of the presence of hermetically sealed containers with real "voodoo dolls" inside, is completely changing the knowledge on the relationship of the Ancients with the magical-religious sphere. The presence of actual professional witches at the fountain of Piazza Euclide is providing a new perspective on the relationship between man and religiosity in the Ancient world.