Britannia is an ancient term for Roman Britain and also a female personification of the island. The name is Latin, and derives from the Greek form Prettanike or Brettaniai, which originally designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Great Britain; however, by the 1st century BC Britannia came to be used for Great Britain specifically. In AD 43 the Roman Empire began its conquest of the island, establishing a province they called Britannia, which came to encompass the parts of the island south of Caledonia (roughly Scotland). The native Celtic inhabitants of the province are known as the Britons. In the 2nd century, Roman Britannia came to be personified as a goddess, armed with a trident and shield and wearing a Corinthian helmet.
The Angel of Independence is, by far, a historical, urban and symbolic reference of Mexico’s collective conscience. Many characters were involved in the work; Antonio Rivas Mercado as the project’s main promoter, Enrique Alciati was responsible for the sculptures and Roberto Gayol was in charge of adapting the space. According to a Pre-Columbian legend, a warrior named Popocatépetl fell in love with Iztaccíhuatl, a king’s daughter, and earned a tentative marriage blessing from the king, on the condition that he win a battle against a rival tribe. While the battle delayed the warrior, a rival suitor started a rumor that Popocatépetl had been killed in the battle, and the fair maiden died of a broken heart. Upon finally returning as the victor from the battle, Popocatépetl discovered the fate of his lover and buried her on top of a mountain range that assumed the shape of a sleeping woman in honor of the dead maiden. Grief-stricken, Popocatépetl climbed an adjacent mountain in order to keep eternal watch over his beloved. Today, the depiction of the volcanoes on the Libertad coin still tells the lovers' story.
A goddess named for and representing the concept Liberty has existed in many cultures, including classical examples dating from the Roman Empire to those representing national symbols such as the American Columbia and its Statue of Liberty, an artwork created under the name Liberty Enlightening the World, and the French Marianne. In the United States, "Liberty" often is depicted with five-pointed stars, as appear on the American flag, usually held in a raised hand. Another hand may hold a sword pointing downward.