According to the Royal Mint, only one in four British adults recognize the figure of Britannia. The iconic figure has been an important symbol in the story of Britain and has consistently featured on gold coins since Roman times. Until 2008, she consistently appeared on the 50p coin. However, it seems the majority of British patrons do not know who Britannia is.
In order to raise awareness of what Britannia stands for, the Royal Mint recruited human statues to stand in the streets of London, Cardiff and Glasgow and tell passersby the story of Britannia. The project will be visiting other cities across the UK in the coming months.
Britannia is actually the ancient Roman name for Britain, and represented unity, liberty and strength. Even today, she resurfaces during challenging times such as war or when the nation has something to celebrate – which may explain the disappearance of the iconic symbol for the 50p coin in 2008!
Who is Britannia?
Britannia is presented in mainstream circles as the female personification of Britain and has done so since the Romans invaded Britain in 43AD. She is depicted as a war like figure, wearing a Corinthians hat and brandishing a shield and trident. She is mostly associated with the sea and features in the popular song, Britannia rules the waves.
However, there is a deeper esoteric meaning behind the symbol which dates back to ancient times long before the Roman Empire was even thought of. The classic symbol of Britannia resembles the ancient Phoenician goddess, Barati, who was recogonised in the Indian Vedas as goddess of the waters.
Her name actually derives from an elite clan of the Aryans who settled in Sumeria around 7500 years ago. The clan was known as the Barats, thus Barati means “belonging to the Barats.” There is a suspicion that this powerful clan have infiltrated cultures and risen to power under another guise.
Goddess of the waters
The symbol of Barati certainly keeps appearing throughout the ancient empires. In ancient Vedic hymns she is called the “Holy Lady of the Waters,” and in the hymn “napat the Son of the Waters,” is hailed as the First-made mother. It is for this reason she is confused with Semiramis, Isis, Athena or Minerva, all of whom are the same goddess passed on through Babylon, Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire.
In ancient Egypt Barati was known as Bairthy, goddess of water and was depicted with a small pitcher balanced on her head, holding a long spear-like sceptre. In Greece she was the goddess Brito-Martis and is always depicted in arms. The Romans adopted the image as Fortuna – the goddess of Good fortune.
So we can see from ancient history, that the modern day symbol of Britannia represents the goddess of the sea and brings good fortune in the times of war – hence the lyrics, “Britannia rules the waves.” Given that modern day symbols used by the elite all come from ancient times yet we are never told what they really represent, it should come as no surprise that few Britons can actually identify a significant symbol in British history!