Meaning & History
Roman goddess of conception. She functions within the belt (cingulum) that the bride wears to symbolize that her husband is "belted and bound" (cinctus vinctusque) to her. It was tied with the knot of Hercules, intended to be intricate and difficult to untie. Augustine calls this goddess Virginiensis (virgo, "virgin"), indicating that the untying is the symbolic loss of virginity. Cinxia may have been felt as present during a ritual meant to ease labor. The man who fathered the child removes his own belt (cinctus), binds it (cinxerit) around the laboring woman, then releases it with a prayer that the one who has bound her in labor should likewise release her: "he should then leave." Women who had experienced spontaneous abortions were advised to bind their bellies for the full nine months with a belt (cingulum) of wool from a lamb fed upon by a wolf.