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The mysterious Venus of Quinipily

The Venus | Erwan Corre / CC-BY-SA
Statue Mystery Quinipily Venus

The Venus

A Breton Venus? Pretty strange! Let’s see that…

Do you see her, on her fountain? The Venus of Quinipily is a granite statue, 2 metres high.

It's a naked woman, a plump lady crossing her hands on her belly.

A kind of stole falls on her body. Some strips tie her hairs.

We don’t know who is she: a fecundity goddess, maybe? Isis herself? But, is she Roman (because of the inscriptions), Egyptian (strips) or Celt? It's a mystery...

An eventful story!

Bretons worshiped the Venus since a long time: in the past, she was located at the top of the hill of Castennec, not far from here.

They named her Groa hoart, ″the old keeper″ in Breton.

Sterile women came and rubbed their belly on the stone, the sick persons dived in a big pond at the statue’s feet!

So, in the 17th century, Catholic Church could not tolerate things like that. They put count of Lannion in charge of destroying the statue.

OK! Our count decided… to throw her into river Blavet! But floods soon arrived, and local people thought it was because of the goddess’ wrath! So they fished her out…

The count threw her in the water, again and again: each time, people get her back…

In the 18th century, the statue moved at her current place: castle of Baud park. But how did she get here?

Count Pierre of Lannion (son of the previous count) was a great art lover. He decided to get the Venus back, in order to put her in his estate!

But duke de Rohan instituted legal proceedings against him, saying the statue belonged to him!

But the count finally kept the Venus… The tradition says he wrote Latin sentences on her, and that he re-carved her, to erase her indecent body…

Strange inscriptions

Latin sentences on the Venus’ fountain were probably carved by the count himself, in 18th century, wrote Flaubert in his novel Par les Champs et par les grèves: he called her a vulgar and rough idol, and said the inscriptions were not authentic at all!

At that time, people liked to create ″false antic statues″…

But what about those sentences? They dedicate the Venus to Julius Caesar.

But that’s not all… We can see, on a band on the Venus’ forehead, number III or letters LIT, IIT or TIT.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the meaning of those signs!

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!