Abstracts, XIIIth F.E.R.C.AN. Workshop

MONDAY, 18th October 2014

Manfred Hainzmann (ÖAW / Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria)
Deus Apollo Grannos: in search of a theonymic profile // Deus Apollo Grannos: Die Suche nach dem Götterprofil.

The main objective of the F.E.R.C.AN.-Project is to collect and to analyse all epigraphic documents for Celtic gods and goddesses. One group of votive inscriptions has always been of special interest: the syncretistic theonymic strings indicating an Identificatio Romana vel indigena (IDRI), hence a merger of two deities, one belonging to the Greco-Roman, and one to the Celtic ‘pantheon’. In only a few cases do such votive inscriptions enable us to compose a so-called theonymic profile, which is itself part of the more complex ‘cultic profile’. Using the example of Apollo ~ Grannus this paper tries to filter out the most significant elements and to scrutinize the whole process of ‘assimilation’.

Im Mittelpunkt des F.E.R.C.AN.-Projektes steht bekanntlich die Sammlung und Aus­wertung epigraphischer Weihedenkmäler mit Affinität zur keltischen Götterwelt. Besonderes Interesse erwecken darunter jene synkretis­tischen Theonymenformulare, deren Syntax auf eine Identificatio Romana vel indigena (IDRI), somit auf eine ‚Angleichung/ Ver­schmelzung’ zweier selbständiger Gottheiten aus dem mediterranen und keltischen Pantheon hindeuten. Nur in Ausnahmefällen lässt sich, freilich nur ansatzweise, mittels dieser Schrift-/ Bildzeugnisse ein so genanntes Götterprofil erstellen, das wiederum nur Teil des weitaus komplexeren Kultprofils sein kann. Welche Elemente hierbei als aussagekräftig gelten, sei am Beispiel des Interpretationspaares Apollo ~ Grannos erläutert.


Francisco Burillo & Mª. Pilar Burillo-Cuadrado (University of Zaragoza),
An approach to the concept of Cosmos in the Celtiberian Religion.

The few texts on Celtiberian religious belief mean it has to be studied from the iconography and the few structural remains that have been preserved. Unlike those of other cultures, these focus mainly on a single motif, the Sun.

We have been able to determine the existence of three different iconographic syntaxes in­tended to tell the same story, the solar myth. The oldest images are found on bronze plates, staffs and fibulae. The sun is depicted realistically in two ways, as radiant or non-radiant concentric circles, associated with the figure of a horse. On monochrome pottery, the sun is depicted as a left-facing or right-facing swastika, is associated with the horse and an anthropomorphic figure with an equine head, which usually takes the form of a protome of a horse. However, on the polychrome pottery of Numancia the sun is depicted realistically.

On the basis of structuralist and pheno­menol­ogical theoretical approaches, and a 3D analys­is of the pottery, it has been possible to carry out a cosmogonical interpretation of Celt­iberian iconography. The sun appears as the highest deity. In order to explain its diurnal motion, radiant circles or right-facing swastikas are used, and circles with no rays and left-facing swastikas for its nocturnal return. The horse figures carry the sun and are in themselves identified with the solar deity. The sun would return through an aquatic sphere situated in the upper Cosmos, and the figure of the fish depicted on Numatine vessel No. 2308 is particularly important on its return journey. It would be a means of transport or an enemy to be vanquished so that the sun could return to its place of origin and rise again.

Fernando Fernandez & John Koch
(Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth),
Gods epigraphically attested in Britain in Roman times and counterparts in the Early Medieval texts from the British Isles: An Assessment.

As the subject of Celtic mythology developed over the 20th century, the methodology combined ancient Celtic and Romano-Celtic epigraphic evidence with early Welsh and Irish literature with the objective of recovering ideas about pre-Christian gods. In our current work, it is perhaps no longer safe to assume that the pre-Christian Celtic-speaking peoples (even) shared a common mythology, however one could go about recovering with certainty it from surviving material. At the same time, a larger body of ancient epigraphic evidence is now available for the traditional comparative procedure. Against this background, the presentation will consider possible implications of expanded onomastic comparanda from ancient inscriptions relevant to tales from the Welsh Mabinogion and Old and Middle Irish sagas. The focus will be on some narratives that have been seen as reflections of the myth of the ‘pan-Celtic god Lugus’. Some recent alternative interpretations will also be weighed in light of detailed epigraphic parallels.


Keynote lecture
Miranda Aldhouse-Green
(University of Cardiff),
The Magician’s House. Weird goings on in Roman Chartres.

In 2005 a strange basement room was discovered beneath a Gallo-Roman house in Chartres. The cellar was found to have been a secret underground shrine, full of ritual objects, including a set of incense-burners. These large pottery vessels bore inscribed prayers and incantations, together with lists of Gallic spirit-names. One of these names was ‘Dru’. The name of the presiding priest was Caius Verius Sedatus, a Roman citizen. What was going on here, in the middle of a Roman city in the late first-early second century AD? Did ‘Dru’ refer to Druids? Did the cellar reflect a secret, magical cult hidden from Roman authority? And, if so, how come a Roman citizen was involved? This talk examines the Chartres find and seeks to put it into the broader context of complex cultural interaction, subversion and Gallic religious survival.

TUESDAY, 18th October 2014

Maria Manuela Alves Dias; Maria João Correia Santos (University of Lisbon)
The Gods that never were. New readings of Penedo de Remeseiros (CIL II 2476) and Penedo das Ninfas (CIL II 5607)

Discussion regarding the theonyms included in two difficult rock-inscriptions from northern Portugal: the Penedo de Remeseiros (CIL II 2476), a long juridical text invoking a Deus Adiutor instead of an indigenous deity such as Danceroi and the Penedo das Ninfas (CIL II 5607), in which is finally possible to identify the name of the summoned deities as Munidi Fiduenearum and Cosuneae. In both examples, the rough nature of the inscriptions, carved in the bare rock out-crops and far and away of roman urban settlements, led to suppose that both epigraphs should be dedicated to indigenous deities. If in Penedo das Ninfas that seems to be the case, the same is not clear regarding the Penedo de Remeseiros, where Banceroi, according to the new reading, corresponds more likely to an ethnic name than to a theonym. The need to always find a solution for unknown words and expressions led, many times, to the “creation” of indigenous gods that never were.



Fernando Fernández Palacios
(Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth),
The theonym *Conventina.

The paper tries to shed some light regarding the etymology of the theonym *Conventina, which occurs on thirteen inscriptions from Brocolitia (Carrawburgh, Northumberland, England). After revising the context and the associations in which the epigraphs were recovered it is proposed a forma plena from which all the different readings can be explained. Afterwards the etymologies that have been offered to brighten the original meaning of the theonym *Conventina are analysed, which includes a discussion on the etymology of the Venta places names of ancient Britain, and the paper comes to an end with a proposal and several cautions.


Alexander Faliyev (Aberystwyth)
Divine Names from Latin Inscriptions of Istria: some considerations

In this paper I am going to consider the divine names attested in Latin inscriptions from Istria. I will concentrate on those which are frequently labeled as Celtic. Indeed, the divine name Sentona, for example, was already analysed as Gaulish by A. Holder in his Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, and this view has been shared by a number of researchers ever since. I will discuss this and some other divine names attested in the area against the background provided by the corpus of Latin inscriptions in the region and will also apply distributional factors to show that the situation is less straightforward than is accepted in some of the modern publications.


Blanca María Prósper (Universidad de Salamanca),
Some linguistic observations on the divine names of the Cantabri

The Cantabri have usually been held to be Celtic populations to judge from their personal names. This contribution aims to show that their few preserved divine names have good Celtic etymologies and interesting Indo-European connections.


Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel (Vitoria/Gasteiz, Spain),
A Comparative Look at Some Hispanic Divine Names and Theonymic Formulae.

I. Introductory Matters; II. The Linguistic Classification of Hispanic Divine Names;

III. Divine Function and Semantics of the Names; IV. Further Hidden Theonyms;

V. Further Links with Central Europe; VI. The Hispanic Types of Interpretatio Romana.




Roger Tomlin (Wolfson, Oxford),
The Uley ‘curse tablets’: a new text

The temple of Mercury on West Hill, Uley (Glos.), was excavated in 1977–79 and published by the excavators, Ann Woodward and Peter Leach, in The Uley Shrines (1993). The finds include a masterpiece of Romano-British sculpture, the cult-statue head, and a unique written ‘archive’, 140 lead tablets, 86 of which are inscribed. They are ‘curse tablets’ like the well-known Bath Tablets, petitions addressed to Mercury by the victims of theft and anti-social behaviour, which uniquely document a Romano-British rural community.

I will present the 14 texts which have been fully published, and a fifteenth (No. 84, inv. no. 5939) which is unpublished. Uniquely, it is written one-half in capitals, one-half in cursive. It illustrates many of the formulas found in British ‘curse tablets’ and incidentally contributes to the toponymy of Hadrian’s Wall.


Daphne Nash Briggs (Oxford, England),
Spirit of a place, father of a people: an ancient tribal cult in a sacred Norfolk landscape.

This talk will consider the character and significance of long-term ceremonial activity in an area of ancient East Anglia that reaches from the Fen edge around Lakenheath and Hockwold to the sandy heath at Thetford, traversed by the Icknield Way. It straddles the Norfolk–Suffolk county borders but during the Iron Age and Roman period lay within Icenian lands, close to two other tribal territories (the culturally similar Corieltavi and the contrasting Catuvellauni). This was one of several important East Anglian “sacred landscapes” that, like numerous others elsewhere in the British Isles, first shows signs of communal attention in the Neolithic and retained its special significance, with historically inevitable adjustments, right though into the Middle Ages. Archaeological, iconographical, and inscriptional evidence will be invoked to suggest the presence here of a distinctive and enduring local cult, perhaps with an oracle, of a deity who seems to have been perceived as source of everyone and everything’s fertility, as divine progenitor of his rather disparate people, and as an essential source of local tribal rulers’ authority and legitimacy both before and after the Roman period.


Gil Burleigh (Hitchin, Hertfordshire),
A Sacred Landscape around Iron Age and Romano-British Baldock, Hertfordshire, England

Several temples and shrines lie within the main settlement at Baldock, while its limits are defined by a series of cemeteries and high status individual burials. Within a much wider hinterland, a few other religious sites have been identified, but most strikingly, the possible boundaries of its territory may be indicated by a number of temples and temple treasure hoards, “heroic” burials, and multiple banks and ditches, which may themselves have been the result of communal ritual endeavours, creating a sacred landscape.


Alessandra Esposito (King’s College London)
Talking to the gods. A journey through religious patterns in Roman Britain

The most recent theoretical discussions among European (Mattingly 2004 and Rüpke 2006) and American scholars (Ando 2008) concerning the relations between the Roman ‘conquerors’ and the provincial populations have finally culminated in the discarding of the term ‘Romanization’ (Mattingly 2011). It appears therefore to be the time to interrogate the archaeological record not to polarize the characteristics of ‘Roman’ in contrast with local identities but to investigate how these identities developed through connections, drawing on common materials.

On the one hand, recent approaches to Roman religion in the Western provinces underline its peculiarity compared to ‘the’ Roman religion performed in the capital. Different ritual dynamics and a different audience resulted in more simple and sober performances, and an emphasis on sacrifice and offering (Woolf 2009). On the other, the fragmentation of the local population in different ‘cult communities’ (Derks 1998) leaves room to find diversity in the outcome of the meeting between Roman religion(s) and the native/local beliefs and their ritual practices.

But how do these dynamics become explicit in the archaeological evidence?

A new reading of the material evidence connected to religious behaviours in Britain after the Roman conquest apparently shows a more fluid environment than identified in earlier studies.  The analysis of the spatial distribution of different types of religious evidence (inscriptions and structured deposits) underlines diverse characteristics in both rituals and personalities, professional and non-, involved in their performance. South Britain, in particular, has provided an interesting evidence that can be related to the presence of professional religious figures: the discussion of a deposit recently found near Bury St Edmunds (Sussex) will allow a closer look to both depositional practices and ritual performances that seem to be peculiar to this area of the province.

The ultimate goal is to demonstrate that ritual practices, traditionally considered the prerogative of specific cultural groups and stressed in the dichotomy Roman/native, appear to overlap in the reality of the religious experience and involve different people bearing different cultural identities.



Tony King (University of Winchester)
Carrying the Gods with them? Small altars, the military, portability and provenance.

A study of complete altars from Roman Britain shows that just 18% come from good proven­anc­es, and only 5% from temple sites, mainly military shrines in the vici of northern Britain. The presence of altars in Romano-Celtic temples in Britain is very limited indeed. Another 5% come from wells or pits, including Co­ven­tina’s Well, Carrawburgh, and represent the structured deposition of altars in carefully selected ritual locations. A small number are found in situ in secondary positions, such as barrack rooms or houses. Some of these are small, 40 cm or less in height, and may have been transported to these locations quite easily.

The second section of the paper is a more de­tailed analysis of the sizes of altars. Their heights form a bimodal distribution, with a significant number quite small, in the 20-30 cm height range, and another peak in the 90-100 cm height range. The latter are the normal size for an altar, but the former are of interest for their small size and relative ease of portability. Were they more personal dedi­cat­ions, or simply poorer dedicants?

Further analysis of this size distribution de­monstrates that ‘official’ cults, e.g. IOM, make up the bulk of the altars centred on the 90-100 cm height range, while local deities, such as Belatucadrus or Veteres form the vast majority of the small altars, with very few in the larger size range. There was clearly a preference for small altars in the worship of these deities, and they are not found in temple provenances. Other explanations must there­fore be sought for the ritual contexts in which these small altars were dedicated. Some of the altars are very crudely carved, and may have been produced by the dedicants themselves.

Preliminary analysis of the status of the dedicants shows that men and junior officers form the main group of dedicants of small altars, whilst more senior officers, often with tria nomina, are linked to larger sizes. This is to be expected, but does indicate a significant element of worship was ‘unofficial’, associated with local deities, and personal in nature.


WEDNESDAY, 19th October 2014




Wolfgang Spickermann & Werner Petermandl (Universtät Graz)
Celtic Divine Names in the Inscriptions of the Roman Province Germania Inferior

The proposed project aims to collect and analyse all Celtic divine names which are preserved in the inscriptions of the Roman Province Germania Inferior. This should lead to fundamental insights into the development and manifestation of the Gallo-Roman Religion and shall at the same time contribute to the study of the process of what is commonly known as Romanisation. Moreover the project will provide deeper knowledge of the distribution of languages in Germania Inferior.

The work of the project will be divided in two parts. Part one will comprise the collection and new edition of the known epigraphical sources containing Celtic divine names or theonyms of which at least one part can be identified as Celtic (about 600 records). Each inscription will be presented in transcript and with a German translation. Besides the usual epigraphical data such as material, measurements, dating, place of discovery etc. a photograph of the object holding the inscription will also be provided. That way pictorial representations appearing together with Celtic divine names are also collected. Furthermore for each inscription the relevant scholarly literature will be listed and a detailed commentary will be provided.

The second part is dedicated to the analysis of the epigraphical material. An indispensable step for further analysis is the presentation of the archaeological evidence of the sites where inscriptions with Celtic divine names were found, in order to shed light on the cultural context of those inscriptions. The analysis will focus especially on the topographical, cultural and social location of Celtic divine names as well as on the motivation and meaning behind the worship of those gods/divine names. Due to the fact that only very few divine names in inscriptions are older than the middle of the 2nd century AD questions concerning their origin or emergence are of great interest.

The proposed project is a distinct part of the interdisciplinary research enterprise F.E.R.C.AN. (Fontes Epigraphici Religionum Celticarum Antiquarum), initiated by the “Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften”, and which is aimed at the comprehensive collection, new edition and analysis of all Celtic divine names in epigraphical sources. The results of the proposed project should be published within the series CORPUS-F.E.R.C.AN., edited by the ‘Österreichische Akademie der Wissen­schaf­ten’ (Austrian Academy of Sciences).


Marjeta Šašel Kos (Ljubliana, Slowenia)
A sacred river landscape with a sanctuary. The worship of rivers in the south-eastern Alpine area

Presumably all rivers in antiquity were sacred, and indeed the cults of many rivers in the southeastern Alpine area are well documented. A significant role was played by the Savus River (Sava); the god Savus was worshipped along the entire course of the river. A sanctuary erected for him and the goddess Adsalluta at a site above rapids and between two dangerous waterfalls has recently been re-excavated. All the altars dedicated to Adsalluta alone, as well as to her and Savus, must have originated from the sanctuary, although some were discovered elsewhere. Interestingly, an altar was dedicated to a divinity of the sources of the Savus, Savercna, where a small chapel must have stood in antiquity. Most of the river names are pre-Celtic, but the names of two river deities – if not Celtic – may be related to the local Celtic population: Aquo and Neptunus Ovianus.


Bernard Rémy (Grenoble)
Les dieux au nom indigène et leurs cultores chez les Voconces de Vaison d’après les inscriptions

Dans cette cité latine bien ‘romanisée’ aux deux capitales (Die et Vaison), les habitants ont continué à prier des dieux au nom indigène, parfois latinisé ou grécisé, qui occupent une place non négligeable dans le panthéon des Voconces méridionaux. Dix-neuf inscriptions honorent ou remercient huit divinités de ce type : Albarinus (deux occurrences), Baginus (une) et les Baginatiae/Baginiatiae (trois), Belesema (une), Boutrix (une), Dulovius/Dullovius (deux), Graselos (une), Vasio (sept occurrences), Vintur (une). Deux sont des inscriptions gallo-grecques ; les autres sont rédigées en latin. Leurs attributions étaient diverses (divinité éponyme, d’une source, des hauteurs ?, des hêtres…). Je n’ai pas pris en compte les dieux au nom latin pourvu d’un surnom indigène, tel Mars Albiorix.

Les supports sont très variés : autels, bases, plaques… Nous pouvons distinguer deux types de documents : la donation, en grec, à Belesama d’un lieu sacré et dix-huit dédicaces « à la romaine », où la plupart du temps, le(s) cultor(es) a/ont attendu l’exécution par le dieu invoqué de sa part du contrat qu’il est réputé avoir accepté pour s’acquitter de son/leur vœu. L’arc chronologique des documents est large : du IIe siècle av. J.-C. ou de la première moitié du Ier siècle avant notre ère (inscriptions gallo-grecques) à la fin du Haut-Empire. Ils proviennent de Vaison (dix occurrences) et d’autres localités des départements de la Drôme et du Vaucluse (neuf occurrences : campagnes et « agglomérations secondaires »). La plupart ont été retrouvés hors de leur contexte originel, ce qui nous interdit ordinairement de localiser les sanctuaires avec quelque précision.

Les dix-neuf inscriptions ont été gravées à l’initiative d’une (?) collectivité, les Cadienses, et de dix-sept cultores privés qui sont tous des hommes, sauf Primula, fille de Quintus : sept citoyens romains, sept (?) pérégrins et trois incerti. Aucun n’a mentionné la moindre fonction (magistrature, prêtrise…). Il faut donc très probablement en conclure qu’ils étaient de simples particuliers, mais ils appartenaient au moins aux couches moyennes de la société voconce. Citoyens romains et pérégrins portaient essentiellement des noms à connotation indigène (indigènes ou latins « régionaux »).

Même s’il n’est évidemment guère possible de connaître la véritable identité de ces divinités, au vu de leur dénomination, nous pouvons penser qu’elles avaient conservé, au moins en partie, leur nature et leurs attributions originelles.


Audrey Ferlut (Lyon)
Ritual practices for Celtic goddesses in Gallia Belgica and the Germaniae

Among the three provinces of Gallia Belgica, Germania Superior and Germania Inferior, about 70 goddesses can be recognised in the category of the Celtic and Germanic goddesses. Those deities had very different functions: protection, fecundity, development of nature, goddesses of water spring and waters, protection of travellers, and so on. Identifying them as ‘Celtic’ is first quite difficult apart from the study of the gods’ names and the analysis of the location of the discoveries of the monuments dedicated to them. Some had a few – even only one – altars or inscriptions, others had more than hundred. Considering those criteria, it was possible to identify quite 90 goddesses that could be considered as Celtic in the area of those three provinces.

But, those deities, who had many worshippers, were integrated into specific forms of cult. Most of the time, the forms of cults were Romans but, it was possible to prove that a continuity existed with the rituals from the independent Gaul. Practicing the cult, on the Roman way, as with the uotum for instance, was not completely new and out of the ordinary – except form the written and figurative forms of expression – for Celtic peoples living in the northern areas of the Roman Empire. In Germania Inferior, a form of Celtic cult could also be noticeable in the formula of the inscriptions with the expression ex imperio ipsarum, which seemed to be the persistence of some form of Celtic cult performed before the Roman conquest.

Finally, the men and women who practiced a cult to those goddesses were not so often people with Celtic names. At least, they were far less numerous than those who had the Roman citizenship and Roman nomina, praenomina and cognomina. The worshippers belonged to quite all the groups that could afford to realise inscriptions and altars.  Moreover, some cults faced mobility because of some of the groups such as merchants and Roman soldiers. But that general portrait of the worshippers and those who were vectors of the cult differed from one province to another. Indeed, Gallia Belgica seemed to have a very different profile from the two Germaniae, focusing more on Celtic goddess than the two others and having a larger number of those.




Cristina Girardi (University of Graz)
On the trail of plural divinities’ places of worship in Cisalpine Gaul.

The pheonomenon of plural divinities is widespread across the Gallia Cisalpina and the ‘theonymic panorama’ is well variegated. Iunones, Matronae, Fati/Fatae, Dominae, Fortunae, Dianae, Martes, Lymphae, Parcae, Silvanae, etc. are, for instance, some of the theonyms attested. As was already clearly pointed out[1], Cisalpina is not an homogeneous area, several different populations (Celts, Veneti, Raeti, Histri, Etruscans) inhabited it before the Romanisation. It ensues than that not all the testimonies of plural divinities can be easily put under the ‘Celtic-label’. Regardless of the labels, the aim of this poster is to attempt to track down some of the cult places were plural divinities were worshipped.

The first step consists in analysing the inscriptions mentioning plural divinities that also contain indications of sacred structures (templum, fanum, aedes, compitum, ara etc…). The number of this kind of inscriptions is very small, and only one mentions a temple (Aquileia, aedes and signa III for the Iunones, CIL V, 781).

If the archaeological evidences fails, a further approach is to try to hypotesize the presence of a cult place following some clues[2] such as particular concentrations of sacred inscriptions in a determinate area, the presence of votive deposits, the possible reutilization of the stones nearby, etc. One example of this kind could be the sanctuary of Suno (Novaria ager); among several different divinities worshipped, we can also find inscriptions to the Matronae and the Fortunae.

Finally I will present a sanctuary, archeologically investigated, located on a mountain (1075m high) nearby Riva del Garda (Trento). The sanctuary of “Monte S. Martino” is particularly interesting because the area where it is located, was frequented from the Iron Age till the Medieval times and further. The discovered inscriptions were all located in the same place within the sanctuary, and one of those, unfortunately not complete, mentions feminine plural divinities. In the inscription is used Latin alphabet but the linguistic code is still pre-Roman with influences and contaminations of the Latin one.


Jane Masséglia (Ashmolean Latin Inscriptions Project (AshLI) & Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents, Oxford University)
Home and Abroad: Roman Soldiers and Celtic Gods in the Ashmolean Museum

Among the Ashmolean Museum’s collection of stone inscriptions are two votive altars linked by a common narrative: both are dedications by soldiers in the Roman army, fulfilling vows each made to a different Romano-Celtic deity. This poster presents new images and readings of the texts (produced by AshLI as part of a comprehensive new catalogue of Latin inscriptions in the Ashmolean). It considers how Romano-Celtic deities could characterize Roman soldiers as being either ‘home’ or ‘abroad’ in their environment.

The first altar, a squat block of red sandstone (fig. 1), was found in Chester in the 17th century, after which it unfortunately spent several years as garden ornament. In 2014, traces of its inscription, illegible since at least the 19th century, were reclaimed by the AshLI team using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), revealing both the dedicator and the god. The poster will show ‘before and after’ images of the inscription, and a provide a transcript of the strange text, which records the vow of a Spanish officer serving with the 20th Legion Valeria Victrix to Jupiter-Tanarus, a thunder-god not otherwise attested within Britain, but known from Germania. It tells the story of a serving soldier who brought something of the religious practices of the continent with him to his British posting.


fig. 1: Altar to Jupiter-Tanarus from Chester (ANChandler.3.1); fig. 2: Altar to Belenus from Beligna, north Italy (AN2008.46)

The second altar, a sleek marble pilaster with fine lettering (fig. 2), was found in the ruins of the medieval Benedictine monastery of San Martino at Beligna, near Aquileia in north Italy. The inscription marks the retirement of an officer from service in the City of Rome, and records his gratitude to the Romano-Celtic sun-deity Belenus for his safe return to his home town. The importance of Belenus and his shrine to this community is preserved to this day in its modern name ‘Beligna’. In this case, the text describes a former soldier setting up an altar to his ‘home god’ as a signal of his return to his roots.



[1] C. Zaccaria, Alla ricerca di divinità “celtiche” nell’Italia settentrionale in età romana. Revisione della documentazione per le Regiones IX, X, XI , in Veleia, 18-19, 2001- 2002, p. 131.

[2] R. Chevallier, La romanisation de la Celtique du Pô. Essai d’histoire provinciale, Roma, 1983, p. 485; J. Scheid, Comment identifier un lieu de culte?, in Cahiers du Centre Gustave Glotz, 8, 1997, pp. 51-59.