Britannia has been used in several different senses. The name is a Latinisation of the native Brittonic word for the island, Pretanī, which produced the Greek form Prettanike or Brettaniai, which in the fourth to the first centuries BC, designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Britain. In Modern Welsh the name remains Prydain. By the 1st century BC, Britannia came to be used for Great Britain specifically. After the Roman conquest in 43 AD, Britannia meant Roman Britain, a province covering the island south of Caledonia; when Roman Britain was divided into four provinces in 197 AD, two were called Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior. Britannia is the name given to the female personification of the island, it is a term still used to refer to the whole island. 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 name Britannia long survived the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th century and yielded the name for the island in most European and various other languages, including the English Britain and the modern Welsh Prydain.
In the 9th century the associated terms Bretwalda and brytenwealda ealles ðyses ealonde were applied to some Anglo-Saxon kings to assert a wider hegemony in Britain and hyperbolic inscriptions on coins and titles in charters included the equivalent title rex Britanniae. However when England was unified the title used was rex Angulsaxonum. After centuries of declining use, the Latin form was revived during the English Renaissance as a rhetorical evocation of a British national identity. Following the Acts of Union in 1707, which joined the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, the personification of the martial Britannia was used as an emblem of British maritime power and unity, most notably in "Rule, Britannia!". A British cultural icon, she was featured on all modern British coinage series until the redesign in 2008, still appears annually on the gold and silver "Britannia" bullion coin series. In 2015 a new definitive £2 coin was issued, with a new image of Britannia, she is depicted in the Brit Awards statuette, the British Phonographic Industry's annual music awards.
The first writer to use a form of the name was the Greek explorer and geographer Pytheas in the 4th century BC. Pytheas referred to Prettanike or Brettaniai, a group of islands off the coast of North-Western Europe. In the 1st century BC, Diodorus Siculus referred to Pretannia, a rendering of the indigenous name for the Pretani people whom the Greeks believed to inhabit the British Isles. Following the Greek usage, the Romans referred to the Insulae Britannicae in the plural, consisting of Albion, Hibernia and many smaller islands. Over time, Albion came to be known as Britannia, the name for the group was subsequently dropped. Although emperor Claudius is attributed with the creation and unification of the province of Britannia in 43 AD, Julius Caesar had established Roman authority over the Southern and Eastern Britain dynasties during his two expeditions to the island in 55 and 54 BC. Just as Caesar himself had been an obside in Bithynia as a youth, he had taken the King's sons as obsides or hostages, back to Rome to be educated.
The Roman conquest of the island began in AD 43, leading to the establishment of the Roman province known in Latin as Britannia. The Romans never conquered the whole island, building Hadrian's Wall as a boundary with Caledonia, which covered the territory of modern Scotland, although the whole of the boundary marked by Hadrian's Wall lies within modern-day Northern England. A southern part of what is now Scotland was occupied by the Romans for about 20 years in the mid-2nd century AD, keeping in place the Picts to the north of the Antonine Wall. People living in the Roman province of Britannia were called Britons. Ireland, inhabited by the Scoti, was called Hibernia. Thule, an island "six days' sail north of Britain, near the frozen sea" Iceland, was never invaded by the Romans; the Emperor Claudius paid a visit while Britain was being conquered and was honoured with the agnomen Britannicus as if he were the conqueror. She appeared as a more regal-looking female figure. Britannia was soon personified as a goddess, looking similar to the goddess Minerva.
Early portraits of the goddess depict Britannia as a beautiful young woman, wearing the helmet of a centurion, wrapped in a white garment with her right breast exposed. She is shown seated on a rock, holding a spear, with a spiked shield propped beside her. Sometimes she leans on the shield. On another range of coinage, she is seated on a globe above waves: Britain at the edge of the world. Similar coin types were issued under Antoninus Pius. After the Roman withdrawal, the term "Britannia" remained in use in Britain and abroad. Latin was ubiquitous amongst native Brythonic writers and the term continued in the Welsh tradition that developed from it. Writing with variations on the term Britannia appeared in many Welsh works such as the Historia Britonum, Armes Prydein and the 12th-century Historia Regum Britanniae, which gained unprecedented popularity throughout western Europe during the High Middle Ages. Following the migration of Brythonic Celts, the term Britannia came to refer to the Armorican peninsula (at least f
Gaul was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age, inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Belgium, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2. According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC. Roman control of Gaul lasted for five centuries, until the last Roman rump state, the Domain of Soissons, fell to the Franks in AD 486.
While the Celtic Gauls had lost their original identities and language during Late Antiquity, becoming amalgamated into a Gallo-Roman culture, Gallia remained the conventional name of the territory throughout the Early Middle Ages, until it acquired a new identity as the Capetian Kingdom of France in the high medieval period. Gallia remains a name of France in modern modern Latin; the Greek and Latin names Galatia and Gallia are derived from a Celtic ethnic term or clan Gal-to-. The Galli of Gallia Celtica were reported to refer to themselves as Celtae by Caesar. Hellenistic folk etymology connected the name of the Galatians to the "milk-white" skin of the Gauls. Modern researchers say it is related to Welsh gallu, Cornish galloes, "capacity, power", thus meaning "powerful people"; the English Gaul is from French Gaule and is unrelated to Latin Gallia, despite superficial similarity. The name Gaul is derived from the Old Frankish *Walholant "Land of the Foreigners/Romans", in which *Walho- is reflex of Proto-Germanic *walhaz, "foreigner, Romanized person", an exonym applied by Germanic speakers to Celts and Latin-speaking people indiscriminately, making it cognate with the names Wales and Wallachia.
The Germanic w- is rendered as gu- / g- in French, the historic diphthong au is the regular outcome of al before a following consonant. French Gaule or Gaulle cannot be derived from Latin Gallia, since g would become j before a, the diphthong au would be unexplained. Proto-Germanic *walha is derived from the name of the Volcae. Unrelated, in spite of superficial similarity, is the name Gael; the Irish word gall did mean "a Gaul", i.e. an inhabitant of Gaul, but its meaning was widened to "foreigner", to describe the Vikings, still the Normans. The dichotomic words gael and gall are sometimes used together for contrast, for instance in the 12th-century book Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib; as adjectives, English has the two variants: Gallic. The two adjectives are used synonymously, as "pertaining to Gaul or the Gauls", although the Celtic language or languages spoken in Gaul is predominantly known as Gaulish. There is little written information concerning the peoples that inhabited the regions of Gaul, save what can be gleaned from coins.
Therefore, the early history of the Gauls is predominantly a work in archaeology and the relationships between their material culture, genetic relationships and linguistic divisions coincide. Before the rapid spread of the La Tène culture in the 5th to 4th centuries BC, the territory of eastern and southern France participated in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture out of which the early iron-working Hallstatt culture would develop. By 500 BC, there is strong Hallstatt influence throughout most of France. Out of this Hallstatt background, during the 7th and 6th century representing an early form of Continental Celtic culture, the La Tène culture arises under Mediterranean influence from the Greek and Etruscan civilizations, spread out in a number of early centers along the Seine, the Middle Rhine and the upper Elbe. By the late 5th century BC, La Tène influence spreads across the entire territory of Gaul; the La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age in France, Italy, southwest Germany, Moravia and Hungary.
Farther north extended the contemporary pre-Roman Iron Age culture of northern Germany and Scandinavia. The major source of materials on the Celts of Gaul was Poseidonios of Apamea, whose writings were quoted by Timagenes, Julius Caesar, the Sicilian Greek Diodorus Siculus, the Greek geographer Strabo. In the 4th and early 3rd century BC, Gallic clan confederations expanded far beyond the territory of what would become Roman Gaul, into Pannonia, northern Italy and Asia Minor. By the 2nd century BC, the Romans descr
Esus, Hesus, or Aisus was a Gaulish god known from two monumental statues and a line in Lucan's Bellum civile. The two sculptures where Esus appears are the Pillar of the Boatmen from among the Parisii, on which Esus is identified by name, a pillar from Trier among the Treveri with similar iconography. In both of these, Esus is portrayed cutting branches from trees with his axe. Esus is accompanied, on different panels of the Pillar of the Boatmen, by Tarvos Trigaranus, Jupiter and other gods. A well-known section in Lucan's Bellum civile refers to gory sacrifices offered to a triad of Celtic deities: Teutates and Taranis. Variant spellings, or readings, of the name Esus in the manuscripts of Lucan include Hesus and Haesus. Among a pair of commentators on Lucan's work, one identifies Teutates with Mercury and Esus with Mars. According to the Berne Commentary on Lucan, human victims were sacrificed to Esus by being tied to a tree and flailed; the Gallic medical writer Marcellus of Bordeaux may offer another textual reference to Esus in his De medicamentis, a compendium of pharmacological preparations written in Latin in the early 5th century and the sole source for several Celtic words.
The work contains a magico-medical charm decipherable as Gaulish which appears to invoke the aid of Esus in curing throat trouble. The personal name "Esunertus" occurs in a number of Gallo-Roman inscriptions, including one votive inscription dedicated to Mercury, while other theophoric given names such as Esugenus are attested, it is possible that the Esuvii of Gaul, in the area of present-day Normandy, took their name from this deity. T. F. O'Rahilly derives the name Esus, as well as Aoibheall, Éibhleann and other names, from the Indo-European root *eis-, which he glosses as "well-being, passion". John Arnott MacCulloch summarized the state of scholarly interpretations of Esus in 1911 as follows: M. Reinach applies one formula to the subjects of these altars—"The Divine Woodman hews the Tree of the Bull with Three Cranes." The whole represents some myth unknown to us, but M. D'Arbois finds in it some allusion to events in the Cúchulainn saga. In the imagery, the bull and tree are both divine, if the animal, like the images of the divine bull, is three-horned the three cranes may be a rebus for three-horned, or more three-headed.
In this case, woodman and bull might all be representatives of a god of vegetation. In early ritual, animal, or arboreal representatives of the god were periodically destroyed to ensure fertility, but when the god became separated from these representatives, the destruction or slaying was regarded as a sacrifice to the god, myths arose telling how he had once slain the animal. In this case and bull identical, would be mythically regarded as destroyed by the god whom they had once represented. If Esus was a god of vegetation, once represented by a tree, this would explain why, as the scholiast on Lucan relates, human sacrifices to Esus were suspended from a tree. Esus was worshipped at Trèves, thus the cult of this god may have been comparatively widespread. But there is no evidence that he was a Celtic Jehovah or a member, with Teutates and Taranis, of a pan-Celtic triad, or that this triad, introduced by Gauls, was not accepted by the Druids. Had such a great triad existed, some instance of the occurrence of the three names on one inscription would have been found.
Lucan does not refer to the gods as a triad, nor as gods of all the Celts, or of one tribe. He lays stress on the fact that they were worshipped with human sacrifice, they were more or less well-known local gods. James McKillop cautions that Arbois de Jublainville's identification of Esus with Cú Chulainn "now seems ill-founded". Jan de Vries finds grounds of comparison between Esus and Odin, both being patrons of sailors sometimes associated with Mercury to whom human victims were said to be sacrificed by hanging. Miranda Green suggests that the willow-tree that Esus hews may symbolize "the Tree of Life with its associations of destruction and death in winter and rebirth in the spring", she further suggests that the cranes might represent "the flight of the soul". The 18th century Druidic revivalist Iolo Morganwg identified Esus with Jesus on the strength of the similarity of their names, he linked them both with Hu Gadarn, writing: Both Hu and HUON were no doubt identical with the HEUS of Lactantius, the HESUS of Lucan, described as gods of the Gauls.
The similarity of the last name to IESU is striking. This identification is still made in certain Neo-Druidic circles. Modern scholars consider the resemblance between the names Jesus to be coincidental. Lugus Esus, including photographs and a capitulation of primary and secondary source material. A contemporary Dutch-language story of struggle between Esus and Tarvos Trigaranus
In Celtic mythology, Dea Matrona was the goddess who gives her name to the river Marne in Gaul. The Gaulish theonym Mātr-on-ā signifies "great mother", the goddess of the Marne has been interpreted to be a mother goddess. Many Gaulish religious images—including inexpensive terracotta statues mass-produced for use in household shrines—depict mother goddesses nursing babies or holding fruits, other foods, or small dogs in their laps. In many areas, such Matronae were depicted in groups of three; the name of Welsh mythological figure Modron, mother of Mabon is derived from the same etymon. By analogy, Dea Matrona may conceivably have been considered the mother of the Gaulish Maponos. Aveta, another Gallic mother-goddess Matres and Matronae Modron Triple deities
Ritona known as Pritona, is a Celtic goddess chiefly venerated in the land of the Treveri in what is now Germany. Her cult is attested at Pachten and at Trier, where she "had a built little temple" in the Altbachtal complex. Ritona's temple was one of several in the Altbachtal to include exedrae and courtyards that may have been used to prepare ritual banquets and/or to place offerings. At Pachten her temple had a theatre used for performances of a religious nature. A single inscription honours her at Uzès in southern France, her name, related to the same root as Welsh rhyd ` ford', suggests. Jean-Marie Pailler remarks that, "Water crossings required religious precautions that were written into the landscape and ritual: Ritona is thus well at home among the'crossers' who were the Treveri"; the name variant ‘Pritona’ is directly attested twice: on the goddess's only inscription at Pachten and in conjunction with ‘Ritona’ on an inscription from Trier. ‘Pritona’ is restored in a further, more fragmentary inscription from Trier.
Lothar Schwinden characterizes Ritona as a mother goddess on the basis of the statue of a seated goddess found at Pachten, which he connects with the well-known local type of seated mother goddesses with dogs or babies on their laps. The Pachten inscription specifies that the goddess was invoked by an individual "for the well-being of the townsfolk of Contiomagium". A votive sculpture from Crain, depicting a male figure holding an offering-dish and pouring out liquid from a vessel, is dedicated to Minerva and Ritona. On two of the inscriptions from Trier, Ritona is invoked in conjunction either with the numina of the Augusti or in honour of the divine house
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
Matres and Matronae
The Matres and Matronae were female deities venerated in Northwestern Europe, of whom relics are found dating from the first to the fifth century. They are depicted on votive offerings and altars that bear images of goddesses, depicted entirely in groups of three, that feature inscriptions and were venerated in regions of Germania, Eastern Gaul, Northern Italy that were occupied by the Roman army from the first to the fifth century. Matres appear on votive reliefs and inscriptions in other areas occupied by the Roman army, including southeast Gaul, as at Vertillum. Matres and Matronae appear depicted on both stones with inscriptions and without, both as altars and votives. All depictions are frontal, they appear exclusively in threes with at least one figure holding a basket of fruit in her lap, the women are either standing or sitting. In some depictions, the middle figure is depicted with loose hair and wearing a headband, the other two wear head dresses. In addition, snakes and nappies appear.
Other motifs include depictions of sacrifice—including burning incense and bowls filled with fruit—and decorations of fruits and trees. In most cases, the votive stones and altars are not found singularly, but rather in groups around temple buildings and cult centers. Scholars connect the Germanic Matres with the dísir and norns attested in 13th century sources; the motif of triple goddesses was widespread in ancient Europe. Rudolf Simek comments that the loose hair may point to maidenhood, whereas the head dresses may refer to married women, the snakes may refer to an association with the souls of the dead or the underworld, the children and nappies seem to indicate that the Matres and Matronae held a protective function over the family, as well as a particular function as midwives. Information about the religious practices surrounding the Matres is limited to the stones on which their depictions and inscriptions are found, of which over 1,100 exist. Motifs include depictions of sacrifice—including burning incense and bowls filled with fruit—and decorations of fruits and trees.
In most cases, the votive stones and altars are not found singularly, but rather in groups around temple buildings and cult centers. R. Pascal theorizes that The Three Marys may be Christianized versions of the Matronae. Dea Matrona Mōdraniht Nehalennia Suleviae