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Alex Fantalov


Chapter 2. Mythological characters of West European barbarians

2.2. Mythological images in Celtic culture.

Images of Celtic deities.

As it was already spoken, monuments of pagan art of continental Celts, together with data of antique authors, have a principal value for reconstruction of Celtic mythology. Therefore to begin the analysis it is necessary from them. The most valuable monument is the well-known boiler from Gundestrup (ill. 3.). It is decorated with the gilt silver plates with mythological stages. Plates are located both outside, and from within the boiler.

The disorder in date of the boiler is very great: 4-th c. B.D. - 6-th c. A.D. The most thorough recognises the dating offered by Drexel - from 100 B.D. to 50 B.D., with accent on the first part of this period). He has specified a line of classical and Scythian-Sarmatian features (such elements concern to the last, as notches on bodies of animals, their flattened out lips, cut planes of bodies, the form of griffin wings and movement in opposite directions. Drexel asserted that Celtic workshop responsible for this work, was in an area of Black Sea and could be brought to the north by cymbres. (Bober, 1951). Last idea supports by Schucin, but he sees in shape of the boiler not Scythian, but Thracian fig. (Schucin, 1994, 149).

Interpretation of the stages represented on the boiler from Gundestrup, undertaken by Jean Jacque Hatt (it is resulted in that order what exists in work Hatt).

The first plate shows Celt Taranis (the God of Thunder), compressing in the right hand a wheel, Celtic symbol of a lightning and attribute of divine authority (ill. 4.). Hatt considers the warrior in a horned helmet, which also keeps for a wheel, as a prototype Celtic Mars (Hatt, 1980, 68). The predatory animals, which are taking place on the right and to the left of Taranis, the French scholar believes attributes of his power. A ramheaded snake and skipping griffins below is located. The snake obviously belongs to an underground empire and is connected to a moisture, and the blockhead associates with vegetation (about what writes and Holan). The griffins, in Hatt's opinion, belong to Celt solar god Belenus (named Greeks Apollo) which softened angry God of Thunder, causing clearing rain. The ramheaded snake, thus, is partly a symbol of a rain.

The second plate (ill. 4.) shows the god with stag horns, sitting having crossed legs. All experts unanimously name him Celtic Cernunnos which frequently name "Stag god". Hatt equates Cernunnos to Celtic Hes, including the first character connected with the world dead, and the second one - with elements of fertility and a crop. In left hand Cernunnos holds the ramheaded snake, in right a ring (or cervical grivna). Hatt believes that this ring intends Goddesses-mothers, the wife of this god. On Cernunnos/Hes's neck the same ring. The god is surrounded with animals. On the left hand from him the wolf, on right a deer is located. The wolf aspires to kill deer (Hatt), but Cernunnos does not permit to it.

Second half of stage on same plate shows a way of human soul in Celt paradise. Small man, sitting on a dolphin, in Hatt's opinion, embodies died, floating under protection Cernunnos to Island paradise. This interpretation sounds convincingly as from medieval Irish sagas it is known the world of blessed souls is on island at the western ocean and the image of a dolphin is frequently connected to it. However, th man is attacked by the predatory animal symbolising bad death (Hatt). The Bull, ahead of a dolphin (precisely same it is represented above a deer) conducts died on Island Blessed (Hatt, 1980, 69).

New plate (ill. 5.) shows Goddess - mother and her both spouses: Taranis - on the right, Hes at the left (Hatt, 1980, 69). Both men deities it is known on the previous compositions.

On the following plate (ill. 5.) Goddess - mother (spouse Taranis), is submitted as madam of heavens. At the left and to the right of her there are the sockets symbolizing the sky. The goddess is surrounded also with two animals in which it is possible to find out elephants. In Hatt's opinion, here they personify protective function (the Celts were at war in armies of Carthago and Hellenistic states and could see how fighting elephants used as alive boards). Against whom elephants preserve the goddess? Below we see a predatory animal, in accuracy same as those two, that accompanied the God of Thunder in the first composition. The animal is surrounded with griphons: "the goddess constrains authority of spouse Taranis with help Belenus/Apollo." (Hatt 1980, 70).

The next plate (ill. 6.) shows Goddess - mother under the ground, in possession of the second spouse, Hes/Cernunnos. To the right of her there is Celt deity Smertrius which Hatt considered belonging to circle Hes and which sometimes identify with Hercules. Smertrius battles to the predatory animal sent by Taranis (Hatt, 1980, 70). To the left of the goddess, in Hatt's opinion, the same is represented Smertrius, but already won a predator and consequently exulting.

Further we see a plate (6 ) which Hatt has named "transformation of Goddess-mother into a heron". She, together with two maids, is compelled to make the given transformation to be rescued from "the Infernal dog", sent by Taranis. (So we actually deal with three herons - an image that like goddess Brigit received the sacred status in the Irish sagas). The Goddess-mother holds in the right hand of the raven being envoy Belenus, sent to warn her from imminent danger (here stretch of imagination Hatt is too courageous). Before a breast of the goddess the soldier and a dog representing avant guarde of army of one more the god - Teutat

are shown. However both of them have fallen victims of anger Taranis (Hatt, 1980. . 70).

The stage from the following plate (7 ) is named by Hatt "departure of Teutat's army". From the point of view of the French scientist, two episodes here are combined: celebration of Goddess - mother and Hes (soldiers with boards carry the May tree - the custom of a choice of May queen was kept in Europe during all Middle Ages and went back to a ceremony of a sacred marriage of the god (or king) and the goddesses). Other episode concerns to a theme of struggle of gods. Teutat - the god of a tribe - military collective, sides with a party of the Goddess - mother and Hes. He detach an army and arranges sacrifice - the druid immerses the person in a flank with water (the Roman author Lucan counted such type of sacrifice devoted exclusively Teutat). Hatt suppose that in this case this sacrifice means the union between the world dead and the world alive, some kind of "the oath to the underground world" - Cernunnos/Hes's world (Hatt, 1980, 71). At legs of the druid the dog (it is known, that the Celts used fighting dogs) is represented. Hatt believes it is the same dog what we saw already dead in the previous composition. There are at the top of composition four horsemen led by ramheaded snake (an essence of circle Cernunnos). On their helmets emblems of the various gods conducting struggle against Taranis, accordingly are visible: Belenus's raven, wild Teutat's boar, Cernunnos's stag horns and a rainbow by Mars Lucetius (Hatt, 1980, 71).

The next stage (ill. 7.) shows the god lifting two soldiers, each of which, in turn, holds on small boar. Hatt asserts that here it is represented Teutat, as the judge deciding posthumous destiny of soldiers which at the same time represent a victim to his honour. That soldier, under whose legs is a dog, has shown cowardice and will be eaten with it. The same, under feet which, stands a winged horse - the hero, and will be carried away on Island Blessed.

The following external plate is absent. Hatt believes on it the sacrifice of a deer giving power Cernunnos/Hes could be represented. Same it is presented to him by Smertrius/Hercules (the scientist refers on Celtic relief from Donon).

One more internal plate (ill. 8.) shows aspiration Celtic Dioscuri to sacrifice bulls so that Goddess-mother has returned the human shape. Greek Dioscuri, as is known was two, and here we can see three Dioscuri and bulls too three (it is possible, on one on each transformed bird). At legs of each soldier armed with sword, on a running dog, and above them three Taranis's predatory animals, sent to prevent sacrifice (Hatt, 1980, 73). To tell the truth, it is possible to assume that trebling is called to strengthen effect of movement only.

The following two external plates are treated by Hatt as images, accordingly, pre-Celtic god of hunting favourably accepting deer victims (ill. 8.) and the god named by Caesar Celtic Dis Pater, the god of dead, submitted here the tamer of dragons (ill. 9.).

Last from lateral plates (ill. 9.) shows Belenus/Apollo, satisfying the request of one of Dioscuri to pass to another in which we see Smertruis. (Hatt, 1980, 74).

On bottom of the boiler (ill. 10.) the magnificent bull, and also the jumping person with a sword and two dogs are represented. The stage reminds Crete "bull leaping", but Hatt sees here struggle Smertrius against the dogs sent by Taranis to grasp sacrificial bull (Hatt, 1980, 74).

In the present thesis so vast statement Hatt's analysis of iconography is given for the boiler from Gundestrup represents a unique monument, on a saturation in the mythological images not having equal in art of Barbarous Europe. It gives us extremely big volume of the information on mythology of ancient Gauls which, representing great tradition, was not kept in written sources. Thus, Hatt, being the director of the Museum of an ancient art in Alsace, was the expert on the given tradition and supported the analysis with other data from all volume Celtic and the Gaulish-Roman monuments. In domestic, and it is difficult for foreign scientific literature to meet so courageous and at the same time serious attempt to lift the veil above early Celtic myths. Despite of some imprudent interpretation and disputable particulars, Hatt's analysis, as a whole, it is convincing and is of great importance.

So, main Celtic deities are shown. But it is necessary to give more full analysis of their iconography and functions on the basis of various monuments of art and certificates of antique authors (as druids did not write down the doctrine). Among written sources the important role the message Caesar, giving plays rather full list Celtic gods on their functions. However he does not name their Gallic names, and completely identifies with representatives of the Roman pantheon. "From gods they esteem Mercury above all. He has the greatest quantity of images, the Gauls believe his inventor of all arts and a conductor of all roads and travellers and trust in his authority above trade and commerce. The ambassador, they worship Apollo, to Mars, the Jove and the Minerva. Concerning these deities of the Gauls have almost same representations, as other peoples: Apollo withdraws away illnesses, the Minerva teaches bases of art and skill, the Jove operates heavens and Mars manages military science" (I Quote on Mac Cane (Mac Cana, 1973). In the other place Caesar mentions also "Dis Pater" from which, according to druids, there were the Gauls. To the given classification it is necessary concerns seriously, remembering, that Celtic and the Italic-Greek mythologies are deeply related. After a gain of Gallia and it romanisation, process of merge of both pantheons was developed, and it had intelligent character. The Gauls chose for the gods the Roman names by a principle of conformity iconography and functions (the same as centuries after pagans on all Europe identified mythological characters with Christian saint people). To Caesar's honour, he has managed from set mythological images to allocate almost all basic mythological types which under the Roman names designated by him were esteemed by Gallo-Romans later. Something, he, certainly, has missed. Besides, the direct identification emasculates interesting national features Celtic mythologies.

Therefore here Celtic gods will be considered approximately in that order which exists in the circuit offered above.

The Roman poet 1-th c. A.D. Lucan names a triad of the Supreme Gallic gods (and under their own names) and a way of a gift them of victims. Hes accepted the victims which have been hung up on a tree; Taranis - burnt in wum baskets; Teutat - sunk in a flank with water.

Name "Teutat" conformably Gallic "teuto", Irish "tuath" - "tribe". The description of the sacrifice devoted to him coincides with represented on the boiler from Gundestrup. In the Roman Gallia he was identified with Mars as had, among other, military value, that it is typical of the God of the Sky in Celtic and Germanic cultures. Typical Celt symbol of him was a wild boar.

Name Taranis is translated as "Thunder god" and in a line of inscriptions he was identified with the Jove. Special Celt attributes of this god were a wheel which can be a lightning, and also a spiral representing heavenly fire. As "the God with a wheel", his images were widely distributed in the Roman Gallia. Nevertheless, not casually, that the Gallic Jove is mentioned by Caesar only on the fourth place. Druids recognised his power, but their hearts were given to other gods (that we saw in connection with stages on the boiler from Gundestrup. However, the given monument includes also features of Thracian art, and the last also had no especial sympathy to the God of Thunder).

Hes appears as the carver of trees on two Gallo-Roman relieves of 1 century A.D. Hatt consider him as embodiement connected with fertility about harvesting while Cernunnos was an embodiment of more dark side - woods and the world died. Such division of extensive duties of the God of Earth Powers quite could take place. It is interesting, that on so-called "Cluny altar" (ill. 11.) the figure of the Hes-carver occupies one side of a stone (ill. 11.), and another is filled with the bull (ill. 11.) on which back three herons (and the second stage as though is continuation by the first) stand. It, on the one hand, causes in memory motive of transformation of the Great Goddess, on the boiler from Gundestrup, with another - is similar to the image from one of Etruscan bronze mirrors (ill. 12.). The last also shows the carver of trees in the position very much reminding Hes, and for the carver are represented the bull and one more man's figure. German scholars Gerhard and Korte believed the mirror represents Dioscuri (Gerhard. E. D., Korte G, 1839-1897). It is necessary to tell, that Hatt compared Smertrius and Cernunnos/Hes with Dioscuri (Hatt, 1966. N 9, 10). He believed that Smertrius served as an embodiment of the mortal, transitory beginning. Cernunnos/Hes personified immortality. Here it is possible to see a hint and on revolution of the season (and Hes could be a seasonal deity). At last, these examples confirm deep relationship of the God of Earth Powers and the Cultural Hero. For the benefit of analogy between products of Celtic arts and Etruscan mirror are spoken also with presence on the last of images of the pigeon and a dolphin. The bird usually embodies soul in mythology, the dolphin according to religion of the Celts represented died, floating to Islands of Blessed in the western ocean under protection Cernunnos (some connection of the God of Earth Powers with the sea as with a version of Other World is possible). The Etruscans long time communicated with the Celts and even lived side by side with them in a valley of the river Po.

There are two curious monuments of Celtic arts also considered by Hatt. It, first, an idol from Effinoux (ill. 14.). In terms of Hatt's ideas, the statue, with a specific ring - torques on his neck, represents Hes, the eye sideways - belongs to Taranis, and a wild boar - to Teutatis. We see other image of a triad of the most ancient and powerful gods on a silver cup from Lyons (ill. 15 - 16.), the beginning of 1 age A.D. (Hatt, 1966. N 10, 71). On the one hand a cup the person sitting near to a deer and holding in one hand torques (ring), in another - a horn of plenty is shown. His head has got damage, but it is clear, that the person had sprawling stag horns. It Cernunnos, other embodiment of Hes. Ahead of him there is the tree, and is farther - one more sitting man's figure near to which there is a wild boar. Hatt suggests that the second person is Teutat. Above a hand of him the flying raven is represented. The third stage - the snake twisting a tree ahead is submitted, opposes an eagle - Taranis's birds (Hatt, 1966. N 10,71).

Cernunnos ("Horned One") was the most picturesque mythological image of Celts who was not assimilated by the Roman religion. Certainly, he as one of Celtic images of the God of Earth Powers played more significant role, than Hes. In spite of the fact that name Cernunnos is known from a unique monument - "altar" from Cluny museum (ill. 20.), he everywhere it is good known. We can see the first known image of the given deity on a rock at Val Camonic (the north Italy, 4-th c. B.C.). Here Cernunnos has the most typical features: stag horns, a ring and the snake. However, the god is shown not in usual "buddic" pose, and worth. That Bober writes concerning given monument: "... Near to Cernunnos there is a naked man's figure much the smaller size, with allocated genitals. Its interpretation as worshipping seems plausible and it phallic character is connected to a nature "Horned One". We notice existence of already advanced concept which includes the cult of fertility connected to human fruitfulness and a deer as a symbol of riches <...> There Are supporters of search of sources of Cernunnos's cult in Palaeolith, the cave painting representing the shaman, dressed in a skin and horns of a deer. Doctor Alfred Salmony (Alfred Salmony) has assumed, that the horned motive could exist among steppe peoples which have brought it to China and at the same time have transferred it to the Celts. Scythian burials on Altai and horned horse masks can represent the same concept, as wood stag horned a demon from Changsha or two gold shaman crowns from Silla (Korea) with three stag horned ornaments. On the other hand, if to allocate connections between Scythian both Chinese deer symbolism and ritual use of horns, still there is a lacuna between a paleolithic copy from Trois Freres which is unique also art of steppe nomads" (Bober, 1951). Here it is necessary to add that the image man-bull with horns is not so unique in Palaeolith, in particular, it is necessary to note like figures from caves of France and Spain. It is necessary to remember and horned figures of Bronze Age.

The image of a deer causes in memory treatment of this animal by Holan as symbol of the god of the benefactor. Sometimes Zernunnos is named is "stag god". Here we see an example of rapprochement of symbolics of the God of Earth Powers and the Cultural Hero. In this connection it is necessary to result the important comparison with the most ancient Indo-European tradition - Hittite one.

The Hittites knew and highly esteemed which god Runda, in a science usually call "God-on-the stag", or it is simple "deer god" like Cernunnos. Runda is known from many texts and images. The deer images are found in the tombs belonging to the Hittites and dated 2 thousand B.D. But especially cult of the God-on-the stag has increased in the epoch which has followed after falling Hittite empire and formations of fine Hittite princedoms in Northern Syria (the beginning 1 thousand B.D.). Its title was "Patronizing spirit". It was esteemed as the guarding god of a wood and hunting, "... In one of texts it is described as "the Child of fields". Its sacred animal the deer was, and it is represented worth on a deer with a hare and a falcon in a hand " (Herny, 1987, 123). We can see images Runda on a number rocky relieves. A relief from Karasu (ill. 21.), being a part of a water temple shows the man's figure armed with a bow, holding a staff and worth on a deer. The deer has huge branch horns. Above a head of the man a winged disk. It agrees to data Hellenkemper and Wagner, the footwear with the socks bent up in late Hittite period is found almost exclusively in connection with images of gods. Human beings, on contrast, were represented with naked legs (Hellenkemper H., Wagner J, 1977, 167 - 173). However, Hellenkemper and Wagner mark, that presence winged solar disk can assume the image of king in a manner of the god, and that the god on a relief is interpreted not only as the guarding god of a wood and hunting, but also as the guarding god of this late Hittite settlement on the river Karasu (in the same place). We shall recollect, that Celtic Lugh also was considered as the patron of cities. The type of the image of the deity worth on a back of an animal reminds symbolics Hurrities religion, but idea of deer god belongs to the Indo-Europeans. Ardzinba supposes existence a special holiday of a deer for the cult purposes in Hittite culture. (Ardzinba, 1982, 16).

Other monuments supplement Runda's iconography. There is on Hittite jug (ill. 22.) the god is shown in the typical position, but before it stands the person pouring from a vessel something (a wine, water?). It reminds Hittite ceremony of sacrifice before deers. "King goes from a chariot, he sits on a place circulations. (Around of him) the dancer is turned once, and (then) (he) (the dancer?) passes before deers. Other man holds a gold vessel and makes sacrifice (before) deers " (Ardzinba, 1982, 16). One more relief shows the god - this time the pedestrian, in an environment of animals. One hand he holds a lion for a back leg, other hand - the bull for its horn. There is a deer also. All composition very much reminds image Cernunnos from the boiler from Gundestrup and even more stone relief from medieval Irish church.

The deer god was esteemed in Asia Minor and after final disappearance of the Hittites. In Hellenistic period the most important gods of Cilicia were Tarhunt (Hittite God of Thunder, identified with Zeus) and Runda. A cult of the last, according to Houwink, merged with cult Hermes (see Houwink, 1961, 213), that is very important circumstance to which in the given research it is necessary to return still.

It is interesting, that Runda, so well-known in Hittite rituals and monuments of the fine arts, practically does not meet in mythological plots. On the other hand, at there is a god of fertility Telephinu in Hittite mythology, the hero of popular myths, whose images we do not know (but it is known, that his sacrificial animal was the goat). The basic plot is connected to Telephinu's anger. He leaves a society of gods. "With leaving Telephinu from a house the centers, sacrificial tables are shrouded with a smoke (a cloud of a beer plenty), the domestic cattle ceases to bring posterity, the drought begins, in fields cereals (Telephinu carries away with itself the goddess of a grain and fields) do not grow. Gods gather on a feast, but can not satisfy famine. <...> On searches the god of a thunder-storm is sent, he breaks the handle of his hammer but can not open a gate of city - residence of Telephinu. Then goddess - mother sends a bee (contrary to the god of a thunder-storm asserting, that it is too small) on searches. <...> The bee bites Telephinu, he wakes up angrier and attracts destruction and destruction on people, cattle and all country. However goddess Kamrusepa, having made a ceremony of a spell, softens anger Telephinu and he comes back, bringing with itself fertility" (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. .2, 498). There is Telephinu as a disappearing and coming back deity of fertility. We shall recollect the bull killed by a lion, but reviving. Important also the indirect certificate of the conflict between Hittite Storm god (this is his name) and Telephinu (or Telephinus). In the other myth it is told about kidnapping by Aruna (Great Ocean) deity of the sun and as Telephinu has released it. Telephinu in this plot behaves similarly to Holan's cultural hero, whose embodiment the deer is. Whether it is impossible, in view of all considered circumstances to assume, what Telephinu in mythological texts and Runda on Hittite monuments there is same image?

But we shall return to the Celts. The copy from Val Camonica is independently in Cernunnos's iconography not only due to features of a pose, but also in connection with a break (for three centuries) in creation of images of this god known to us. On time a monument the boiler considered above from Gundestrup can be considered as the following. Here Cernunnos's position with the crossed legs is already crystallised and henceforth it becomes an integral part the god's iconography.

So, except for horns of a deer, the Celtic god's iconography includes three more components - sitting position of a figure with the crossed legs, a ring, ramheaded snake. There are many explanations of Cernunnos's "Buddhist pose". R. Mowat considered it only Gallic, caused by Celtic custom to sit on the ground. Others: Bertrand, Supka, Berstl spoke about influence of India. S. Reinach has put forward the theory of occurrence of the given pose both in Indian and Celtic art under influence archaic Ionic prototypes (see Bober, 1951). Bober believes that then already it is necessary to speak about origin of motive not in Greece, and on Near East. The sacred understanding of such pose is fixed on seals of early dynasties of Mesopotamian Ur. Then it has penetrated in Harappa civilisation of a valley of Indus and into Phoenicia (in the same place). On one of Harappa seals (ill. 23) the god with the bull horns, sitting having crossed legs in an environment of animals is represented: a buffalo, the rhinoceros etc. He reminds a composition from the boiler from Gundestrup vividly. This image then became a part of formed symbolic old Indian Rudra - orgiastic deity connected to a wood and elements of fertility. His animals are the bull, the ram, the weapon is the bow. "In post Vedic mythology the cult of Shiva develops from Rudra's cult. Name of Rudra(and his epithet Pashupati, "the master of cattle ") became one of Shiva's nicknames" (Myths of nations of the world, 1998, . 2, with. 389).

The ramheaded snake is other problem. On the boiler from Gundestrup it is shown not only near to Cernunnos, but also separately from him. From this it is possible to draw a conclusion, that the snake represents something the greater, than simply attribute of the horned god. It appears and nears to Gaulish-Roman Mercury and also as a heraldic symbol on Celtic coins from present Western Germany. Both the snake and the ram represent aspect of fertility. Besides in Gallia the ram as the sacral animal was connected to a cult of fire in a fireplace and to some extent connected to a cult dead. In the classical world orphic literature tells about horned serpent, accepted shape of the bull and broken off by titans (variant torment). Later, it the snake began to count an early embodiment great Dionys, the Greek god of terrestrial fertility, vegetation, winemaking - that is the Greek variant of the God of Earth Powers. Dionys's cult had, similarly to cult Shiva/Rudra, orgiastic elements, being perceived as clearing of fetters of life. The Greek god was connected to animals - the bull, the ram, a goat, dolphin (it is similar Cernunnos from the boiler from Gundestrup). Dionys it is frequently submitted with the mutton horns. We can see his images near to Hermes. Greeks remembered relationship of the God of Earth Powers and the Cultural Hero. Both they were connected to herds. Pan (Hermes's son) belongs to retinue of Dionys. There is on some antique relieves 4 c. B.D. Pan is shown sitting having crossed legs.

But in the greater measure, the image of ramheaded snake connected to Hermes. In Greece the ram was his symbol along with the snake. We know about "a history told in mysteries by Mother about Hermes and the ram". "There are the relieves showing Hermes with a phallus which comes to an end a blockhead. One of them is open on Delos. Other in Albania, represents Hermes-phallophorus. Ricard has shown that the most ancient descriptions of Greek Hermes, bearing the huge snake twisted around of a staff, balancing on his shoulder, are wrong. "The snake", taking place between his legs, is generated by two parts double genitals, horned, is similar Delos exemplar" (Bober, 1951). From the point of view of the present research is allowable to assume that ramheaded snake is somewhat embodiment of Cultural Hero as primogenitor of mankind. It sometimes can be replaced by a horn of plenty which in the Gaulish-Roman epoch began to be represented as Cernunnos's attribute. It is difficult to find the image of this Celtic god where a horn of plenty and the snake would be submitted simultaneously that can confirm their interchangeability. For the benefit of this assumption the manner speaks also to decorate a horn for drink a head of the ram, accepted in ancient Iran and zones of its cultural influence - to Asia Minor, Thrace, Scythia. Here we leave for an image the snake in mythology and folklore, but it is special, very big theme.

Result of development of the ideas connected with Cernunnos in the Gaulish-Roman epoch, the monumental relief on stella from Rheims (ill. 24) can be considered. It is dated 2 c. A.D. In the centre of a relief it is shown Cernunnos, sitting on a throne in the usual pose. To the right of him Apollo stands, at the left - Hermes. Cernunnos holds a bag from which the money on the spot eaten with the bull and a deer are strewed whether grains, whether. It revives in memory an image Roman Dis Pater correlated with Pluto. It is necessary to recollect Caesar's words that the Celts considered as their ancestor a certain deity which he (Caesar) has named Dis Pater.

In the description Caesar has put Mercury on the first place. And it is valid inscriptions and the monuments devoted to this god, meet in the Roman epoch on all Gallia. Gallic Mercury's iconography it is frequently similar to his Roman double -the young men without beard and moustache, the supplied baton-caduceus, a winged helmet and a purse and the accompanied cock, a goat, the ram and a turtle. But there are images with a beard (ill. 13.), in Gallic clothes and with a raven. This god is accompanied sometimes with the goddess, named Greek name Maya (according to the Greek mythology - Hermes's mother) or Gallic - Rosmerta. Though the primordial name of Gallic Mercury was not kept on continent also, practically it is no doubt, that he and the Irish Lugh are identical each other. Caesar's told about first the words "the inventor of all arts" almost literally correspond to an epithet Irish Lugh "Master of many arts " (it perfectly certifies the Cultural Hero). The name of Lugh was widely distributed in territories of the Celts: in Silesia - Liegnitz, in Holland - Leiden, in France - Lyon. Mac Cana believes, that last was elected August capital of the Roman Gaulle and a place of the annual festival, which is celebrated August 1, is not casual. "The given festival was obvious continuation ancient Celtic holiday devoted to a divine cartridge of city and important that circumstance, that this day holiday Lughnasadh "memories of Lugh" (Mac Cana, 1973) was marked everywhere in Ireland. Lugh's day was marked at top of a hill while in Gallia Mercury's cult was connected to high places, is similar place where Arverns have established one of the greatest statues of this god in the ancient world.

Gaulish Apollo, similarly to the classical god, with whom he was identified, had function of healer. But especially he was esteemed as a divine cartridge of warm sources. One of his epithets - Belenus reminds the Irish name of the May Day - Beltene that can be interpreted as "a shining brilliant" and to specify him solar character. Other epithet -Maponos was connected to art of music.

One more variant of the Cultural Hero is submitted by Gallic Hercules (ill. 17 - 18.). Actually, "the Roman Hercules" (as well as Etruscan Hercle) is version of Heracles, whose cult was widely distributed over all antique Mediterranean, and whose name and "the glorified Hero" means.

As against other Greek heroes, this character not only the person, but also the god, he is between two worlds. As the person becoming the god, for the works, Heracles gave people hope for immortality. Dead men were represented with his attributes sometimes. Heracles were attributed with the numerous feats, most popular of which was a victory above a monstrous dog. The Etruscan art supplements this act iconography: on a fresco from the Tomb of auguries the character in a mask (near to it(him) it is written "Phersu" - from here Roman "person"), setting a dog on the soldier covered, by wounds with club in his hand is represented. On a fresco from other Etruscan tomb Phersu is shown already escaping. The Greek Cerberus belonged to Hades, the lord of the underground world. As it will be shown below, fruitless Hades was not analogue Cernunnos/Hes and it was never identified with him. From Holan's position is allowable to treat his image as underground embodiment of the God of Thunder (for the benefit of what presence hammer of Etruscan Haru - a demon of the underground world testifies also). It is possible, if the God of Earth Powers was connected to a "soil" layer the lord of the Underworld embodied deeper, "magnetic" layers. It, certainly, demands in addition serious analysis. But it is necessary to note, that in Etruscan culture Hades it was represented in a helmet as the wolf head with open jaws.

Heracles also was considered as a primogenitor of many tribes and peoples (Spartan kings erected to him the family tree; the Etruscans trusted, that have taken place from Hercle; the Lydians believed the founder of the dynasty of god Kandaules, a dog winner). Some of his feats were connected to town planning and such acts, as clearing stables. Hercules was considered and as the healer (it is possible, in memory that he was lost from poison of the Hydra). Sometimes him esteemed together with Hermes . It is not casual, and in Italy Hercules was also the god of enrichment and an agriculture. In Greek comedy "Bird" he appears as a comic figure - the glutton and boozed (that is usually treated as consequence late demythologisation, but can and on the contrary represent revealing ancient features of a deity). But also on a decline of antiquity Hercules keeps the position - some Roman emperors identified with him them selves. Thus, in his person we see one of the most capacious embodiments such as the Cultural Hero.

It agrees Lucian (Rome, 2 c. A.D.), Hercules was known the Celts as Ogmios and was represented frowned old man, dressed in an animal skin both armed by a cudgel and a bow. He entailed group of happy people which ears incorporated to language of the god thin chains. The scholar Gaul to whom talked Lucian, has informed him, that the Celts believed the patron of eloquence not Hermes, namely Hercules - for he is very strong. Francoise Le Roux treats image of Ogmios as the "god - connector" similar Indian Varuna, and also psychopomp, conducting souls from this world in another (see Mac Cana, 1973). The plate (ill. 19.) representing the person beating club the snake (a plot, it is possible in terms of the feats of Hercules). Above his head it is possible to disassemble traces of an inscription - "Smertrius" (or "Smertullus"). It allows comparing with character with Ogmios (through their mutual similarity with Hercules). As acknowledgement of similar comparison that stage from the boiler from Gundestrup where Smertrius struggles with animal of Celt Taranis (as Hercules with a lion or Cerberus) serves also. On other side of a plate it is shown Cernunnos.

Under a name of the Minerva the whole class Celtic "goddesses-mothers", frequently united in triads can disappear. (It will perfectly be co-ordinated to idea of the Great Goddess shown on the boiler from Gundestrup). Protection of wisdom concerns to number of their functions, forge craft, spinning and weaving. On British Isles to the Minerva there corresponds goddess Brigit.

( Fantalov Alex)

Mythological characters in Irish sagas.




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