altar stone dedicated to hludana

Only her feet have survived time. Judging by the inscription on this altar stone, the figure that stood on it was Hludana, a native goddess and patroness of water and fishing. To worship and show their devotion to her, the early Frisian mound dwellers used to sacrifice food.

Altaarsteen gewijd aan Hludana, eind 2e begin 3e eeuw

Altar stone dedicated to Hludana, late 2nd – early 3rd century. Click on the image to see a larger version.

In the first century after Christ, almost the whole of Europe was ruled over by the Romans. The river Rhine being the northern border of the Roman empire, the Frisians were not under Roman rule, but they did have contact with the Romans and traded with them. Inspired by the Roman idols and altar stones they saw, they made their own versions, usually a combination of old Frisian traditions and Roman influences.

For those who wonder about the meaning of the Latin inscription on the stone, it says:

 “Under Quintus Valerius Secundus, the tenants of fishing rights have paid their divine pledge to the goddess Hludana, voluntarily and in proportion with their takings.”