Turan (mythology)

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Balsamarium possibly depicting Turan, or perhaps one of the Lasas (Walters Art Museum)

Turan was the Etruscan goddess of love, fertility and vitality and patroness of the city of Velch. In art, she was usually depicted as a young winged girl.[1] Turan appears in toilette scenes of Etruscan bronze mirrors. She is richly robed and jeweled in early and late depictions, but appears nude under the influence of Hellenistic art in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE.[2] She is paired with her young lover Atunis (Adonis) and figures in the episode of the Judgement of Paris.

She was commonly associated with birds such as the dove, goose and above all the swan,[3] Tusna, "the swan of Turan".[4] Her retinue were called Lasas. Turan may be quite ancient but does not appear on the Piacenza list nor in Martianus list of Etruscan deities. The Etruscan month of July was named after her, although we only know the Latin word for it, Traneus.[5]

She was seen as the equivalent to the Roman Venus and the Greek Aphrodite. Her name is derived from the pre-Hellenic word: “Turannos” (absolute ruler), so Turan can be viewed as “Mistress".

Turan had a sanctuary in the Greek-influenced Gravisca, the port for Tarquinia, where votive gifts inscribed with her name have been found. One inscription calls her Turan ati, "Mother Turan" which has been interpreted as connecting her to Venus Genetrix, Venus the mother of Aeneas and progenitor of the Julio-Claudian lineage.

The Gallo-Roman Museum (Tongeren, Belgium ) Exhibition on Etruscans ( April 2013), states that TURAN in Etruscan, actually means DOVE


  1. ^ e.g. N. H. Ramage and A. Ramage, Roman Art, Upper Saddle River, 1996: fig. 1.39
  2. ^ Larissa Bonfante and Judith Swaddling, Etruscan Myths (Series The Legendary Past) British Museum/University of Texas, 2006:76-77 et passim.
  3. ^ de Grummond, Etruscan Myth, Sacred History and Legend, page 85
  4. ^ Jaan Puhvel, "The Origin of Etruscan tusna ('Swan')" The American Journal of Philology 105.2 (Summer 1984:209-212).
  5. ^ de Grummond, Etruscan Myth, Sacred History and Legend, page 86