We have celebrated, over the last week, the Treiskouroi and the Trophimoi, with Memnon, Achilles, and Polydeukion each getting their own day, as well as having a day for the daughters of Herodes Attikos, Elpinike and Athenais. Now, we come to the third of the women celebrated in Triad #9, Appia Annia Regilla, the wife of Herodes Attikos, about whom I have written previously in the “Goddesses and Antinous” series.
Regilla was a noble Roman woman, who was related to Faustina the Elder (wife of Antoninus Pius) via her paternal line, and whose ancestry also included Aeneas and Anchises. It is also very likely that she knew the poetess Julia Balbilla. While Sarah Pomeroy suggests that her marriage with Herodes Attikos was not a happy one–and, in fact, that he was involved in her murder–I am highly suspicious of her reading of the materials.
At least twelve statues of Regilla existed, but nearly all of them have had their heads knocked off. The large fragment of a single one, possibly, has been preserved: that from Regilla’s Nymphaeum at Olympia. It is pictured below.
Even this image, however, leaves much to be desired. Staring into her eyes is staring into a mystery…someone so well-known, all things considered, and so well attested with monuments, and yet whose face we do not even know with any certainty…
She was well represented in inscriptions, however. She was a priestess of Demeter at Olympia, and of Tyche at Athens.
Athens: Appia Annia Regilla Atilia Caucidia Tertulla,
daughter of Appius, consul and pontifex,
wife of Herodes of Marathon, consul and exegete.
Flavius Sulpicianus Dorion, archon of the
Panhellenion dedicated this in consolation
of his friend.
Corinth: This is a statue of Regilla. An artist carved the figure which has translated all her prudent moderation into stone. It was given by the great Herodes Attikos, pre-eminent above others, who had attained the peak of every kind of excellence, whom she took as her husband, Herodes famous among the Hellenes and furthermore a son of Greece greater than them all, the flower of Achaia. O Regilla, the city council, as if hailing you Tyche, has set up the marble statue before Tyche’s sanctuary.
Corinth: By the command of the Sisyphian Boule, beside the basin of the spring. You see me, Regilla, an image of decency. By decree of the city council.
Delphi: By decree of the city of Delphi. Her husband Claudius Attikos Herodes, consul, set up the statue of his wife Appia Annia Regilla Atilia Caucidia Tertulla, daughter of the consul Appius Gallus.
Delphi: Appia Regilla, wife of the benefactor Claudius Herodes, for her family, her decency and good repute, all her traditional excellent traits and on account of her goodness, decency and kindness. The Boule and the people of Delphi dedicate to Apollo Pythios.
Delphi: Appia Annia Atilia Regilla Caucidia Tertulla, daughter of the consul Appis Gallus…wife of Herodes.
Regilla made an inscription at Olympia that was a dedication to Hygeia, in the simple form of “Regilla to Hygeia.” She also made various other inscriptions, including this one on a bull for Zeus at the nymphaeum in Olympia (shown above):
Regilla, priestess of Demeter, dedicated the water and the things around the water to Zeus.
Various inscriptions by Herodes also commemorated Regilla in her death. At their Marathon estate, part of which was given to Regilla by Herodes, on the “Gate of Eternal Harmony,” the following inscription was added after her death:
Blessed is the person who has built a new city,
giving it the name “Regilla’s,” he lives exulting.
But I live grieving that this estate exists for me without my
dear wife and my home is half complete.
Thus the gods mix a lifetime for mortals
having both joys and sorrows as neighbors.
Near Athens, she seems to have had a temple/tomb, with the following inscription, like the curses we’ve encountered with Polydeukion previously:
Appia Annia Regilla, wife of Herodes, the light of the house,
by the gods and heroes, whoever possesses this place,
whoever disturbs any part of these things, including the images and the honors of the statues,
for him may the earth not bear crops, nor the sea be navigable. May he and his kinsmen perish evilly.
The cenotaph that Regilla had outside of Rome, near the shrine of the Deus Rediculus (the “god of return”), had the following inscription at one point:
Herodes dedicated this monument also to commemorate his misfortune and his wife’s virtue.
But this is not a burial. Her body is in Greece and now beside her husband.
The Emperor Antoninus, called “Pius” by his country and everyone, proposed to the Senate that her son be enrolled among the Patricians in Rome,
and by decree he was enrolled.
And on her ancestral estate in Rome, a bilingual inscription in Greek and Latin records Regilla in words similar to those on the Gate of Eternal Harmony in Marathon:
Annia Regilla, wife of Herodes, the light of the house, whose estate this was.
But, her most lengthy and poetic memorial is that by Marcellus Sidetes, which I have given previously, but which I give here again.
Come here to this shrine surrounding the seated statue
of Regilla, women of the Tiber, bringing sacred offerings.
She was descended from the prosperous line of Aeneas, the renowned blood of
Anchises and Idaean Aphrodite.
She married into a family at Marathon.
The heavenly goddesses honor her, both the New Deo [Faustina the Elder] and the Old [Demeter].
To them the sacred image of the well-girt wife is consecrated.
She, however, has been allocated a place among the heroines
in the islands of the blessed, where Kronos is king.
This she has received as her reward for her noble mind.
Thus Zeus had pity on the grieving spouse
lying in the middle of his widower’s bed in harsh old age,
since from his blameless house
the black Harpy Fate-Spinners carried off half of his many children.
Two young children are still left,
innocent of harm, still completely unaware
that a pitiless fate seized their mother
before she had reached the years when old women spin.
To him, grieving without respite, Zeus
and the emperor, who is like Zeus in nature and intelligence, has given
consolation. Zeus ordered that [Herodes'] fertile wife be brought
to the Ocean stream on the Elysian breezes of Zephyr.
Caesar [Antoninus Pius] granted his son [Bradua] the privilege of wearing on his feet the sandals decorated with stars
which they say Hermes too wore
when he led Aeneas from the war against the Achaians
through the dark night; around his feet was set,
shining as a protecting savior, the half globe of the moon.
The descendants of Aeneas once stitched this on the sandal
to be an honor for the noble Ausonians.
Not begrudged to him, a descendant of Kekrops,
is this old gift of Tyrrhenian men [i.e. Etruscans] on his ankle
if truly born of Hermes and Herse was
Keryx, ancestor of Herodes, descended from Theseus.
Therefore he is honored and gives his name to the year.
He is included at the lordly Senate in the front row of seats.
In Greece there is no family or reputation more royal than
Herodes’. They call him the voice of Athens.
But [Regilla] of the beautiful ankles was descended from Aeneas
and was of the race of Ganymede, for she is of the Dardanian race from Tros,
the son of Erichthonios. As for you, dear friend, please go and make sacrifices
and burn them. But it is necessary that the one who sacrifices be not unwilling.
It is good for the pious to also care about heroes.
For [Regilla] is neither mortal, nor divine.
Therefore she has neither sacred temple nor tomb,
neither honors for mortals, nor honors like those for the divine.
In a deme of Athens is a tomb for her like a temple,
but her soul attends the scepter of Rhadamanthys.
This image of her so gratifying to Faustina has been erected
in the area of the Triopeion, where there were formerly broad fields,
rows of cultivated vines, and acres of olive trees.
Nor would the goddess, queen of women [Faustina], disdain her,
who was a priestess for her sacrifices and an attendant in her youth.
The archeress with the beautiful throne [Artemis] did not disdain Iphigeneia
nor did fierce-eyed Athena disdain Herse.
The grain-giving mother of powerful Caesar [Domitia Lucilla],
who rules over the heroines of the past, will not despise her
as she goes to the chorus of earlier semi-divine women,
and with her Alkmene, whose lot is to rule over Elysian choruses of women,
and the blessed daughter of Kadmos [Semele].
Powerful ruler of Athens, born of Triton [Athena],
and you who see the deeds of mortals from your look-out at Rhamnous [Nemesis],
next-door neighbors of hundred-gated Rome,
goddesses, honor also this fruitful estate
of Deo of the Triopeion, a place friendly to strangers.
So long may the Triopeion goddesses be honored among immortals,
surely as when you came to Rhamnous and to Athens of the broad streets
leaving the homes of your loud thundering father.
So surely make this vineyard flourish rich in grapes throughout,
taking care of the crop of grain and vines with clusters of fruit
and tresses of grasses in the soft meadows.
For you Herodes sanctified the land
and build a rounded wall encircling it
not to be moved or violated, for the benefit of future generations.
May the noble and virtuous wife of Herodes Attikos, preeminent in decency and moderation, the light of the house, be the light of our own houses, on this day and every day!