The Celts are an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group of Europe identified by their use of Celtic languages and cultural similarities. The history of pre-Celtic Europe and the exact relationship between ethnic and cultural factors in the Celtic world remains uncertain and controversial; the exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is disputed. According to one theory, the common root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe, which flourished from around 1200 BC. According to a theory proposed in the 19th century, the first people to adopt cultural characteristics regarded as Celtic were the people of the Iron Age Hallstatt culture in central Europe, named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria, thus this area is sometimes called the "Celtic homeland". By or during the La Tène period, this Celtic culture was supposed to have expanded by trans-cultural diffusion or migration to the British Isles and the Low Countries, Bohemia and much of Central Europe, the Iberian Peninsula and northern Italy and, following the Celtic settlement of Eastern Europe beginning in 279 BC, as far east as central Anatolia in modern-day Turkey.
The earliest undisputed direct examples of a Celtic language are the Lepontic inscriptions beginning in the 6th century BC. Continental Celtic languages are attested exclusively through inscriptions and place-names. Insular Celtic languages are attested beginning around the 4th century in Ogham inscriptions, although they were being spoken much earlier. Celtic literary tradition begins with Old Irish texts around the 8th century CE. Coherent texts of Early Irish literature, such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge, survive in 12th-century recensions. By the mid-1st millennium, with the expansion of the Roman Empire and migrating Germanic tribes, Celtic culture and Insular Celtic languages had become restricted to Ireland, the western and northern parts of Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Brittany. Between the 5th and 8th centuries, the Celtic-speaking communities in these Atlantic regions emerged as a reasonably cohesive cultural entity, they had a common linguistic and artistic heritage that distinguished them from the culture of the surrounding polities.
By the 6th century, the Continental Celtic languages were no longer in wide use. Insular Celtic culture diversified into that of the Gaels and the Celtic Britons of the medieval and modern periods. A modern Celtic identity was constructed as part of the Romanticist Celtic Revival in Great Britain and other European territories, such as Portugal and Spanish Galicia. Today, Scottish Gaelic and Breton are still spoken in parts of their historical territories, Cornish and Manx are undergoing a revival; the first recorded use of the name of Celts – as Κελτοί – to refer to an ethnic group was by Hecataeus of Miletus, the Greek geographer, in 517 BC, when writing about a people living near Massilia. In the fifth century BC, Herodotus referred to Keltoi living around the head of the Danube and in the far west of Europe; the etymology of the term Keltoi is unclear. Possible roots include Indo-European *kʲel'to hide', IE *kʲel'to heat' or *kel'to impel'. Several authors have supposed it to be Celtic in origin, while others view it as a name coined by Greeks.
Linguist Patrizia De Bernardo Stempel falls in the latter group, suggests the meaning "the tall ones". In the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar reported that the people known to the Romans as Gauls called themselves Celts, which suggests that if the name Keltoi was bestowed by the Greeks, it had been adopted to some extent as a collective name by the tribes of Gaul; the geographer Strabo, writing about Gaul towards the end of the first century BC, refers to the "race, now called both Gallic and Galatic," though he uses the term Celtica as a synonym for Gaul, separated from Iberia by the Pyrenees. Yet he reports Celtic peoples in Iberia, uses the ethnic names Celtiberi and Celtici for peoples there, as distinct from Lusitani and Iberi. Pliny the Elder cited the use of Celtici in Lusitania as a tribal surname, which epigraphic findings have confirmed. Latin Gallus might stem from a Celtic ethnic or tribal name perhaps one borrowed into Latin during the Celtic expansions into Italy during the early fifth century BC.
Its root may be the Proto-Celtic *galno, meaning "power, strength", hence Old Irish gal "boldness, ferocity" and Welsh gallu "to be able, power". The tribal names of Gallaeci and the Greek Γαλάται most have the same origin; the suffix -atai might be an Ancient Greek inflection. Classical writers did not apply the terms Κελτοί or Celtae to the inhabitants of Britain or Ireland, which has led to some scholars preferring not to use the term for the Iron Age inhabitants of those islands. Celt is a modern English word, first attested in 1707, in the writing of Edward Lhuyd, whose work, along with that of other late 17th-century scholars, brought academic attention to the languages and history of the early Celtic inhabitants of Great Britain; the English form Gaul (first recorded in the 17th cent
Romano-British culture is the culture that arose in Britain under the Roman Empire following the Roman conquest in AD 43 and the creation of the province of Britannia. It arose as a fusion of the imported Roman culture with that of the indigenous Britons, a people of Celtic language and custom, it survived the fifth-century Roman departure from Britain finding itself a stronghold in Wales where it was to form the basis of an emerging Welsh culture. Scholars such as Christopher Snyder believe that during the 5th and 6th centuries – from 410 when the Roman legions withdrew, to 597 when St Augustine of Canterbury arrived – southern Britain preserved an active sub-Roman culture that survived the attacks from the Anglo-Saxons and used a vernacular Latin when writing. Roman troops from nearby provinces, invaded the Brythonic Celtic land in AD 43, in what is now part of England, during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Over the next few years the province of Britannia was formed including the whole of what became England and Wales and parts of Scotland.
Thousands of Roman businessmen and officials and their families settled in Britannia. Roman troops from across the Empire, as far as Spain, Syria and the Germanic provinces of Batavia and Frisia, were garrisoned in Roman towns, many married local Britons; the Roman army and their families and dependents amounted to 125,000 people, out of Britannia's total population of 3.6 million at the end of the fourth century. There were many migrants of other professions, such as sculptors from Roman Syria and doctors from the Eastern Mediterranean region; this diversified Britannia's cultures and religions, while the populace remained Celtic, with a Roman way of life. The bulk of the population was rural. Londinium was an ethnically diverse city with inhabitants from across the Roman Empire, including natives of Britannia, immigrants from continental Europe, the Middle East, North Africa. There was cultural diversity in other Roman-British towns, which were sustained by considerable migration, both within Britannia and from other Roman territories, including North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, continental Europe.
Britain was independent of the rest of the Roman Empire for a number of years, first as part of the Gallic Empire 20 years under the usurpers Carausius and Allectus. Christianity came to Britain in the 3rd century. One early figure was Saint Alban, martyred near the Roman town of Verulamium, on the site of the modern St Albans, during the reign of Emperor Decius. One aspect of Roman influence seen in British life was the grant of Roman citizenship. At first this was granted selectively: to the council members of certain classes of towns, whom Roman practice made citizens; some of the local Brittonic kings, such as Togidubnus, received citizenship in this manner. The number of citizens increased, as people inherited citizenship and more grants were made. In 212, everybody except slaves and freed slaves were granted citizenship by the Constitutio Antoniniana; the other inhabitants of Britain, who did not enjoy citizenship, the Peregrini, continued to live under the laws of their ancestors. The principal handicaps were that they could not own land with a Latin title, serve as a legionary in the army, or, in general, inherit from a Roman citizen.
But for the majority of British inhabitants, who were peasants tied to the soil, citizenship would not alter their daily lives. Britannia became one of the most loyal provinces of the Empire until its decline, when Britannia's manpower was diverted by civil wars. Emperor Honorius ordered Roman troops back home to help fight the invading hordes. Constantine III rebelled against Honorius and took further troops to Gaul, but was recognised as a joint emperor. After the Roman departure from Britain, the Romano-British were commanded by Honorius to "look to their own defences". A written plea to General Flavius Aëtius, known as the Groans of the Britons, may have brought some brief naval assistance from the fading Roman Empire of the West, but otherwise they were on their own. In the early stages the lowlands and cities may have had some organisation or "council" and the Bishop of London appears to have played a key role, but they were divided politically as former soldiers, nobles and farmers declared themselves kings, fighting amongst each other and leaving Britain open to invasion.
Two factions may have emerged: a pro-Roman faction and an independence faction. The one leader at this time known by name is Vortigern, who may have held the title of "High King"; the depredations of the Picts from the north and Scotti from Ireland forced the Britons to seek help from pagan Germanic tribes of Angles and Jutes, who decided to settle in Britain. Some of the Romano-British people migrated to Brittany, the Kingdom of the Suebi and Ireland; the Anglo-Saxons obtained control of eastern England in the 5th century. In the mid-6th century they started expanding into the Midlands in the 7th century they expanded again into the south-west and the north of England; the unconquered parts of southern Britain, notably Wales, retained their Romano-British culture, in particular retaining
Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure. For Celts in close contact with Ancient Rome, such as the Gauls and Celtiberians, their mythology did not survive the Roman Empire, their subsequent conversion to Christianity and the loss of their Celtic languages, it is through contemporary Roman and Christian sources that their mythology has been preserved. The Celtic peoples who maintained either political or linguistic identities left vestigial remnants of their ancestral mythologies that were put into written form during the Middle Ages. Although the Celtic world at its height covered much of western and central Europe, it was not politically unified nor was there any substantial central source of cultural influence or homogeneity. Inscriptions of more than three hundred deities equated with their Roman counterparts, have survived, but of these most appear to have been genii locorum, local or tribal gods, few were worshiped.
However, from what has survived of Celtic mythology, it is possible to discern commonalities which hint at a more unified pantheon than is given credit. The nature and functions of these ancient gods can be deduced from their names, the location of their inscriptions, their iconography, the Roman gods they are equated with, similar figures from bodies of Celtic mythology. Celtic mythology is found in a number of distinct, if related, subgroups corresponding to the branches of the Celtic languages: Ancient Celtic religion mythology in Goidelic languages, represented chiefly by Irish mythology Mythological Cycle Ulster Cycle Fenian Cycle Cycles of the Kings mythology in Brittonic languages Welsh mythology Cornish mythology Breton mythology As a result of the scarcity of surviving materials bearing written Gaulish, it is surmised that the most of the Celtic writings were destroyed by the Romans, although a written form of Gaulish using Greek and North Italic alphabets was used. Julius Caesar attests to the literacy of the Gauls, but wrote that their priests, the druids, were forbidden to use writing to record certain verses of religious significance while noting that the Helvetii had a written census.
Rome introduced a more widespread habit of public inscriptions, broke the power of the druids in the areas it conquered. Although early Gaels in Ireland and parts of modern Wales used the Ogham script to record short inscriptions, more sophisticated literacy was not introduced to Celtic areas that had not been conquered by Rome until the advent of Christianity. Indeed, many Gaelic myths were first recorded by Christian monks, albeit without most of their original religious meanings; the oldest body of myths stemming from the Heroic Age is found only from the early medieval period of Ireland. As Christianity began to take over, the gods and goddesses were eliminated as such from the culture. What has survived includes material dealing with the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomorians, which forms the basis for the text Cath Maige Tuired "The Battle of Mag Tuireadh", as well as portions of the history-focused Lebor Gabála Érenn; the Tuatha Dé represent the functions of human society such as kingship and war, while the Fomorians represent chaos and wild nature.
The leader of the gods for the Irish pantheon appears to have been the Dagda. The Dagda was the figure on which male humans and other gods were based because he embodied ideal Irish traits. Celtic gods were considered to be a clan due to their lack of specialization and unknown origins; the particular character of the Dagda was as a figure of burlesque lampoonery in Irish mythology, some authors conclude that he was trusted to be benevolent enough to tolerate jokes at his own expense. Irish tales depict the Dagda as a figure of power, armed with a club. In Dorset there is a famous outline of an ithyphallic giant known as the Cerne Abbas Giant with a club cut into the chalky soil. While this was produced in modern times, it was long thought to be a representation of the Dagda; this has been called into question by recent studies which show that there may have been a representation of what looks like a large drapery hanging from the horizontal arm of the figure, leading to suspicion that this figure represents Hercules, with the skin of the Nemean lion over his arm and carrying the club he used to kill it.
In Gaul, it is speculated that the Dagda is associated with Sucellus, the striker, equipped with a hammer and cup. The Morrígan was a tripartite battle goddess of the Celts of Ancient Ireland, she was known as the Morrígan, but the different sections she was divided into were referred to as Nemain and Badb, with each representing different aspects of combat. She is most known for her involvement in the Táin Bó Cúailnge
Noricum is the Latin name for the Celtic kingdom or federation of tribes that included most of modern Austria and part of Slovenia. In the first century AD, it became a province of the Roman Empire, its borders were the Danube to the north and Vindelicia to the west, Pannonia to the east and southeast, Italia to the south. The kingdom was founded around 400 BC, had its capital at the royal residence at Virunum on the Magdalensberg. Around 800 BC, the region was inhabited by the people of the local Celtic Hallstatt culture. Around 450 BC, they merged with the people of the other core Celtic areas in the south-western regions of Germany and eastern France; the country is rich in iron and salt. It supplied material for the manufacturing of arms in Pannonia and northern Italy; the famous Noric steel was used in the making of Roman weapons. Gold and salt were found in considerable quantities; the plant called saliunca was used as a perfume according to Pliny the Elder. The Celtic inhabitants developed a culture rich in art, cattle breeding, salt mining and agriculture.
When part of the area became a Roman province, the Romans introduced water management and the vivid trade relations between the people north and south of the alps boosted - Noric steel was famous for its quality and hardness. Archaeological research in the cemeteries of Hallstatt, has shown that a vigorous Celtic civilization was in the area centuries before recorded history, but the Celtic Hallstatt civilization was a cultural manifestation prior to the other Celtic invasions, The Hallstatt graves contained weapons and ornaments from the Bronze Age, through the period of transition, up to the "Hallstatt culture", i.e. the developed older period of the Iron Age. The Noric language, a continental Celtic language, is attested in only fragmentary inscriptions, one from Ptuj and two from Grafenstein, neither of which provide enough information for any conclusions about the nature of the language; the kingdom of Noricum was a major provider of weaponry for the Roman armies from the mid-Republic onwards.
Roman swords were made of the best-quality steel available from this region, the chalybs Noricus. The strength of iron is determined by its carbon content; the wrought iron produced in the Greco-Roman world contained traces of carbon and was too soft for tools and weapons. It needed at least 1.5% carbon content. The Roman method of achieving this was to heat the wrought iron to a temperature of over 800 C and hammer it in a charcoal fire, causing the iron to absorb carbon from the charcoal; this technique developed empirically: there is no evidence ancient iron producers understood the chemistry. This rudimentary methods of carburisation made the quality of iron ore critical to the production of good steel; the ore needed to be rich in manganese, contain little or no phosphorus, which weakens steel. The ore mined in Carinthia fulfilled both criteria well; the Celts of Noricum discovered their ore made superior steel around 500 BC and built a major steel industry. At Magdalensberg, a major production and trading centre, specialised blacksmiths crafted metal products and weapons.
The finished arms were exported to Aquileia, a Roman colony founded in 180 BC. From 200 BC the Noricum tribes united into Celtic kingdom, known as the regnum Noricum, with its capital at a place called Noreia. Noricum became a key ally of the Roman Republic, providing high-quality weapons and tools in exchange for military protection; this was demonstrated in 113 BC. In response, the Roman consul Gnaeus Papirius Carbo led an army over the Alps to attack the Germanic tribes at the Noreia. Noricum was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 16 BC. For a long time the Noricans had enjoyed independence under princes of their own and carried on commerce with the Romans. In 48 BC they took the side of Julius Caesar in the civil war against Pompey. In 16 BC, having joined with the Pannonians in invading Histria, they were defeated by Publius Silius, proconsul of Illyricum. Thereafter, Noricum was called a province, although it was not organized as such and remained a kingdom with the title of regnum Noricum, yet under the control of an imperial procurator.
Under the reign of Emperor Claudius the Noricum Kingdom was incorporated into the Roman Empire without offering resistance. It was not until the reign of Antoninus Pius that the Second Legion, Pia was stationed in Noricum, the commander of the legion became the governor of the province. Under Diocletian, Noricum was divided into Noricum ripense, Noricum mediterraneum; the dividing line ran along the central part of the eastern Alps. Each division was under a praeses, both belonged to the diocese of Illyricum in the Praetorian prefecture of Italy, it was in this time that a Christian serving as a military officer in the province suffered martyrdom for the sake of his faith canonised as Saint Florian. The Roman colonies and chief towns were Virunum, Flavia Solva, Celeia in today's Slovenia, Ovilava, Lauriacum. Knowledge of Roman Noricum has been decisively expanded by the
The Sava is a river in Central and Southeastern Europe, a right tributary of the Danube. It flows through Slovenia, along the northern border of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through Serbia, discharging into the Danube in Belgrade, its central part is a natural border of Croatia. The Sava forms the northern border of the Balkan Peninsula, the southern edge of the Pannonian Plain; the Sava is 990 kilometres long, including the 45-kilometre Sava Dolinka headwater rising in Zelenci, Slovenia. It is the greatest tributary of the Danube by volume of water, second-largest after Tisza in terms of catchment area and length, it drains a significant portion of the Dinaric Alps region, through the major tributaries of Drina, Kupa, Vrbas, Kolubara and Krka. The Sava is one of the longest rivers in Europe and among a handful of European rivers of that length that do not drain directly into a sea; the population in the Sava River basin is estimated at 8,176,000, it connects three national capitals—Ljubljana and Belgrade.
The Sava is navigable for larger vessels from the confluence of the Kupa River in Sisak, Croatia two-thirds of its length. The name is believed to be derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *sewh1 and the ending *eh2, so that it means'that which waters'; the Sava River is formed from the Sava Dolinka and the Sava Bohinjka headwaters in northwest Slovenia. The river's headwater area encompasses several tributaries, including the 52-kilometre Sora, the 27-kilometre Tržič Bistrica and the 17-kilometre Radovna rivers—flowing into the Sava at confluences located as far east downstream as Medvode; the Sava Dolinka rises at the Zelenci Pools near Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, in a valley separating the Julian Alps from the Karavanke mountain range. The spring is located near the Slovene-Italian border at 833 metres above sea level, in a drainage divide between the Adriatic and Danube basins; the Sava Dolinka spring is fed by groundwater exhibiting bifurcation of source karst aquifer to the Sava and Soča basins.
Nadiža creek, a short losing stream flowing nearby, is the source of Zelenci Pools water. The Sava Dolinka is considered the Sava's 45-kilometre segment; the Sava Bohinjka originates in Ribčev Laz, at the confluence of the Jezernica, a short watercourse flowing out from Lake Bohinj and the Mostnica River. Some sources define the Jezernica as a part of the Sava Bohinjka, specifying the latter as flowing directly out of the lake, while another group of sources include Savica, rising at the southern flank of Triglav as the 78-metre Savica Falls, downstream from Triglav Lakes Valley, flowing into the lake, as a part of the Sava Bohinjka; the watercourse flows 41 kilometres —including the length of the Savica—east to Radovljica, where it discharges into the Sava Dolinka. Downstream from the confluence, the river is referred to as the Sava; the Sava is located in Southeast Europe, flowing through Slovenia, Croatia and along the Bosnia-Herzegovina border. Its total length is 990 kilometres, including the 45-kilometre Sava Dolinka and the 945-kilometre Sava proper.
As a right tributary of the Danube, the river belongs to the Black Sea drainage basin. The Sava River is the third longest tributary of the Danube shorter than the 966-kilometre Tisza and the 950-kilometre Prut—the Danube's two longest tributaries—when the Sava Dolinka headwater is excluded from its course, it is the largest tributary of the Danube by discharge. The river course is sometimes used to describe the northern boundary of the Balkans, the southern border of the Central Europe. Before the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, the river was located inside Yugoslav borders and it was the longest river with its entire course within the country; the Sava Dolinka rises in the Zelenci Pools, west of Podkoren in the Upper Carniola region of Slovenia at 833 metres above sea level, flows east, past Kranjska Gora to Jesenice, where it turns southeast. At Žirovnica, the river enters the Ljubljana Basin and encounters the first hydroelectric dam—Moste plant—before proceeding to the east of the glacial Lake Bled towards Radovljica and confluence of the Sava Bohinjka, at 411 metres a.s.l.
Downstream of Radovljica, the Sava proceeds southeast towards Kranj. Between Kranj and Medvode, its course comprises the Lake Trboje and the Lake Zbilje reservoirs, built for the Mavčiče and the Medvode power plants; the Sava flows through the capital of Slovenia, where another reservoir is located on the river, adjacent to the Tacen Whitewater Course. There the river course turns east and leaves the Ljubljana Basin via Dolsko, at 261 metres a.s.l.. The course continues through the Sava Hills, where it passes the Litija Basin with the mining and industrial town of Litija, the Central Sava Valley with the mining towns of Zagorje ob Savi and Hrastnik, turns to the southeast and runs through the Lower Sava Valley with the towns of Radeče, Krško; the course through the Sava Hills forms the boundary of traditional regions of Lower Carniola and Styria, At Radeče, the Vrhovo hydroelectric dam reservoir is located. The latter is site of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant, which uses the Sava River water to dissipate excess heat.
The easternmost stretch of the Sava River course in Slovenia runs to the south of Brežice, where it is joined by the Kr
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
In localised Celtic polytheism practised in Great Britain, Sulis was a deity worshipped at the thermal spring of Bath. She was worshipped by the Romano-British as Sulis Minerva, whose votive objects and inscribed lead tablets suggest that she was conceived of both as a nourishing, life-giving mother goddess, as an effective agent of curses wished by her votaries; the exact meaning of the name Sulis is still a matter of debate among linguists, but one possibility is "Eye/Vision", cognate with Old Irish súil "eye, gap" derived from a Proto-Celtic word *sūli- which may be related to various Indo-European words for "sun". Sulis was the local goddess of the thermal springs that still feed the spa baths at Bath, which the Romans called Aquae Sulis, her name appears on inscriptions discovered at Bath, with only a single instance outside of Britain at Alzey, Germany. This is not surprising, as Celtic deities preserved their archaic localisation, they remained to the end associated with a specific place a cleft in the earth, a spring, pool or well.
The Greeks referred to the local pre-Hellenic deities in the local epithets that they assigned, associated with the cult of their Olympian pantheon at certain places. The Romans tended to lose sight of these specific locations, except in a few Etruscan cult inheritances and ideas like the genius loci, the guardian spirit of a place; the gilt bronze cult statue of Sulis Minerva "appears to have been deliberately damaged" sometime in Antiquity by barbarian raiders, Christian zealots, or some other forces. About 130 curse tablets addressed to Sulis, have been found in the sacred spring at the Roman baths in Bath; the text on the tablets offered to Sulis relates to theft. It is evident, from the localized style of Latin used, that a high proportion of the tablets came from the native population. In formulaic legalistic, language the tablets appeal to the deity, Sulis, to punish the known or unknown perpetrators of the crime until reparation be made. Sulis is requested to impair the physical and mental well-being of the perpetrator, by the denial of sleep, by causing normal bodily functions to cease or by death.
These afflictions are to cease only when the property is returned to the owner or disposed of as the owner wishes by its being dedicated to the deity. One message found on a tablet in the Temple at Bath reads: "Docimedis has lost two gloves and asks that the thief responsible should lose their minds and eyes in the goddess' temple." The tablets were written in code, by means of letters or words being written backwards. While most texts from Roman Britain are in Latin, two scripts found here, written on pewter sheets, are in an unknown language which may be Brythonic, they are the only examples of writing in this language found. At Bath, the Roman temple is dedicated as the primary deity of the temple spa. Through the Roman Minerva syncresis mythographers have inferred that Sulis was a goddess of wisdom and decisions. Sulis was not the only goddess exhibiting syncretism with Minerva. Senua's name appears on votive plaques bearing Minerva's image, while Brigantia shares many traits associated with Minerva.
The identification of multiple Celtic gods with the same Roman god is not unusual. On the other hand, Celtic goddesses tended to resist syncretism. Dedications to “Minerva” are common in both Great Britain and continental Europe without any Celtic epithet or interpretation. Based on her name's etymology, as well as several other characteristics, such as the association with sight, civic law, epithets relating to light, Sulis has been interpreted as a solar deity, at least in pre-Roman times; some researchers have further suggested a role as the de facto Celtic solar deity, the associated Sulevia and similar names being the goddess's attestations elsewhere. Sulis has a number of modern-day worshipers among the Pagan communities; as of 1998, some people still deposited offerings in the waters of the Roman baths. Solar deity Celtic deities Water and religion Celtic animism Solsbury Hill Media related to Sulis at Wikimedia Commons