Bellona, the Roman goddess of war, was closely associated with Mars, the Roman god of war. She is invariably his companion, although she is also known for being his wife, daughter, sister, or charioteer but mostly recognized for being his twin sister.
Her temple was built in the Campus Martius, the low-lying field by the Tiber River consecrated to Mars, located outside of the city walls. The area around her temple was considered to symbolize foreign soil, and it was there that the Senate met with ambassadors, received victorious generals, and where war was officially declared. Beside her temple was the columna bellica or "war column," representing the boundary of Rome. To declare war, a javelin was thrown over the column by one of the fetialis, a type of priest involved in diplomacy, and this act symbolized the attack on a foreign land. Bellona had several shrines and temples in Rome, though most are known only from inscriptions referencing them, as well as a temple in Ostia, the port city of Rome.
Bellona is usually shown in a plumed helmet and armor, armed with sword and spear, carrying a shield (being the war goddess); sometimes she carries a torch with a blood-red flame. She is described as loud and active, barking orders or war-cries, her weapons clanging as she runs. She is credited with inspiring violence, starting wars, and goading soldiers into battle; Virgil described her as carrying a bloodstained scourge or whip. She was believed to make wars and battles go well for those who invoked her.
The name Bellona derives from the Latin word for war (bellum), and is directly related to the modern English words belligerent (lit. war-waging), bellicose (lit. aggression) and antebellum (lit. happenings before war). In earlier times she was called Duellona, the name being derived from a more ancient word for battle.
Bellona is mentioned to be the mother of Reyna, a praetor of Camp Jupiter, and Hylla, the queen of the Amazons. She is also said to have her own temple at Camp Jupiter, as she is the most important war goddess the Romans worship.
While Reyna talks to Annabeth Chase, she explains the roles her mother plays in the legion. She also explains when Romans go to war they throw a spear into a patch of soil inside her mother's temple which represents enemy soil.
Jason saw Reyna wear her ring, mentioning it has the symbol of Bellona.
Reyna explains to Nico that while her family has been blessed by Bellona for generations, she and her sister Hylla are actually the only demigod children of the goddess within the family. She explains that Bellona fell in love with her father and they had two children, her sister and her, but Bellona told him that their family had a great role to play and though Reyna thinks she meant it as a kindness, it drove her father to paranoia and madness.
When close to delivering the Athena Parthenos, Reyna prays to Bellona for guidance, but Orion shows up instead, telling her Bellona has abandoned her. Reyna realizes that Bellona is giving her a chance to prove herself, telling the giant that Bellona sends her potential enemies and friends and gave her the chance to make peace between the Greeks and Romans, saying that while Bellona is a war goddess, her temples were also used to make peace. Reyna believes that Bellona will lend her her strength against Orion and throws her dagger into his heart, saying it will kill him then jumps on an explosive arrow with her cloak to try to shield the statue. Bellona doesn't cause the dagger to kill Orion, but Athena gives Reyna part of aegis to shield and help her. When Reyna attacks Orion, while they don't physically appear to help, both Bellona and Athena aid her with Bellona sharing her strength with Reyna so she can make the jump to Orion and strangle him. While the goddesses aid her, neither physically interferes and lets Reyna be the one to kill Orion with her aegis-infused cloak.
- She possesses the standard powers of a goddess.
- Odikinesis: As the Goddess of War, she has the ability to manipulate feelings and emotions of war
- Prowess in Battle: As the Goddess of War, she is a fierce warrior, and a master of both armed and hand-to-hand combat.
- Warfare: As the Goddess of War, she is an expert in all areas of warfare.
- War Manipulation: As the Goddess of War, she has the power to influence all forms of conflict including mental, physical, spiritual and conceptual ones, regardless of the area and numbers involved, control how they progress and draw power both from the conflict alone as well as the dying. She is naturally extremely skilled in all form of fighting, weapons and both strategy and tactics as well as statistics of war. She can start conflicts by influencing people or events, rise personal and fanatical armies, control and create weapons of every kind and even grant others extensive abilities of combat. She has the incredible power to invoke war and chaos within an enormously large radius, ranging from a city to an entire continent. With this power she has full control over the city or continent that is in war and chaos at the time.
- Telumkinesis: As the Goddess of War, she has absolute control and divine authority over weapons.
- Weapon Conjuration: She can conjure and use any weapon, though she prefers to use her spear and Aegis.
- Weapon Curses: She can curse weapons.
- Disarmament: She can disarm her opponents with a gesture.
- Weapon Omniscience: She knows everything about a weapon when she sees it.
Aspects of Bellona
- Bellona Pulvinensis
- Bellona Insulensis
Known Demigod Children
- The goddess has also proved popular in post-Renaissance art as a female embodiment of military virtue, and an excellent opportunity to portray the feminine form in armor and helmet.
- 28 Bellona, a large main-belt asteroid, is named after her; the name was chosen to mark the beginning of the Crimean War.
- Bellona was originally a Sabine goddess of war, identified with Nerio, the consort of the war god Mars and later with her Greek equivalent Enyo.
- In the series, Reyna states that Bellona is fully Roman. She probably was referring to the fact that Bellona already existed as the Roman goddess of war, even before the Roman conquest of Greece and the subsequent absorption of Greek culture. Afterwards, Bellona came to be associated with Enyo, Greek goddess of carnificine, becoming her Roman counterpart.
- Bellona's festival was celebrated on June 3rd. The first temple dedicated to Bellona was built in 296 BCE.
- Bellona's priests were known as Bellonarii. They used to wound their own arms or legs as a blood sacrifice to her. These rites took place on 24th March, called the day of blood (dies sanguinis), after the ceremony. Since this rite was similar to the Cybele rites in Asia Minor, Bellona also came to be associated with the Cappadocian goddess Ma.
- The Roman Campus Martius area, in which Bellona’s temple was situated, had extraterritorial status. Ambassadors from foreign states, who were not allowed to enter the city proper, stayed in this complex.