Online Encyclopedia

HERTHA, or NERTHUS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 400 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HERTHA, or NERTHUS, in Teutonic mythology, the goddess of fertility, "Mother Earth." Tacitus states that many Teutonic tribes worshipped her with orgies and mysterious rites celebrated at night. The chief seat of her cult was an island which has not been identified. A single priest performed the service. Her veiled statue was moved from place to place by sacred cows on which none but the priest might lay hands. At the conclusion of the rites the image, its vestments and its vehicle were bathed in a lake.
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