She is the counterpart of Cretan Ariadne, with some fascinating local additions:
Another specimen, of a Praenestine pear-shaped mirror but with Etruscan inscription, has the theme of the fate of Esia, a name unknown in Greco-Roman myth. E. H. Richardson argued that she was the equivalent of Ariadne, in a story of the latter’s death as caused by Artemis, and many have accepted her suggestion. She is held wrapped up like a dead soul by Artumes, who displays the arrows with which the goddess is accustomed to end the lives of young girls. Next to her stand Fufluns, the Etruscan Dionysos, a bearded male with a drinking cup, and a winged Menrva. Below, coming up from the ground, appears an oracular head. We do not know its message, but most likely it relates to the fate of Esia. It may be that Fufluns will receive her and bestow immortality upon her. Whatever the message, Fufluns and Menrva seem to react strongly: Menrva throws up both hands in a gesture of surprise (or dismay?) and Fufluns also raises one hand. We shall observe these gestures again in other scenes of individuals who are receiving a prophecy. (Nancy de Grummond, Mirrors, Marriage and Mystery)
Discussing this mirror I mentioned that I’d like to know more about the story depicted on it, and last night while reading about the Runes I stumbled across the following:
The Greek geographer Strabo informs us that the peoples of north-western Italy venerated Artemis most among all the gods and the inscriptions left behind there seem to corroborate his report. Among them is an inscription on an oddly, apparently fish-shaped, figurine cast in bronze with a hole in it for hanging, found by archaeologists among the remains of a religious sanctuary near the Alpine town of Sanzeno, near Trent. Probably an amulet rather than a votive, it features the names of four ancient mythological figures: Diana, Esia, Liber and Vesuna. Diana is of course the ancient Italian name for Artemis and the grouping on the amulet appears to be similar to that found on two ancient Italian mirrors where the mythological figures Minerva, Fufluns, Artemis and Esia are depicted in a scene together. The mirrors depict Esia as a shade brought by Artemis to Fufluns in the company of the goddess Minerva. Liber and Fufluns are both archaic Italian names for the Greek god Dionysus and Esia is the Etruscan name for Ariadne, the daughter of Minos of Theseus and the Minotaur fame. Greek mythology also tells us that Artemis killed Ariadne, but that Dionysus (Artemis’ brother) later married her; so the Sanzeno sequence of names appears to be an attempt to represent this scene (or perhaps rather this relationship) in a highly abbreviated manner. It too, then, appears to represent some sort of divine narrative charm concerning Artemis, albeit a highly abbreviated one, used to make an item holy or powerful. Given space is usually in short supply with the loose items typically used as amulets, the inscriptions that they carry are often abbreviated; so the possibility that any listing of divine figures on a runic amulet is part of a divine charm of some sort should not be dismissed lightly. (Mindy MacLeod and Bernard Mees, Runic Amulets and Magic Objects)
This brings up so many questions.
Who is Vesuna, for one, and what role did she play in Esia’s story?
If the inscription is a kind of shorthand for a magical spell, what was it’s purpose?
Why was the figurine fish-shaped?
A quick google revealed that Vesuna is an indigenous Italic Goddess venerated by the Marsi, Volscians and Umbrians who was originally partnered with Pomonus Popdicus, the protector of fruit trees and gardens. (She is described as being “of” or “belonging to” him – Vesune Puemunes Pupřikes – implying a hierarchical relationship with this male double of Pomona the orchard Goddess.) Later during the Roman period dedications were made to Vesuna alongside Ceres and Juno Lucina.
There is some speculation that she is the Celtic Vesunna worshipped in Roman Gaul (and particularly the area surrounding the city Périgueux, which she was the patron of.) She seems to be a Goddess of abundance and good luck, as well as lakes and other bodies of water, with her symbols being the cornucopia and sistrum, on account of which she was syncretized with Isis.
Though important enough to be mentioned in the Tabulae Iguvinae no myths have come down concerning Vesuna (or Vesunna) so we can only speculate about the role she played in Esia’s story as found on the bronze fish figurine.
However it suggests to me an encounter with Mêla the Golden Apples among the Toys of Dionysos.