Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art
First published in 1992. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
are sufficiently distinctive to suggest recurrent patterns of religious thought-processes. It is these which are my prime concern in succeeding chapters. 1 Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art Map 1 Spread of Celtic territory in Europe and Asia Minor: after J.de Vries, La Religion des Celtes, 1963. The Celts and the gods During both the pre-Roman ‘free’ Celtic and the Roman phases, the pagan peoples of Gaul and Britain consisted essentially of rural societies whose economies, unsheltered
Mars in Britain is often depicted as an equestrian warrior) accompanied by a seated goddess.102 The mother-goddess accompanied by sword-bearing cucullati from near Cirencester (Figure 83)103 could perhaps be taken as belonging to a similar tradition. It is shown in Chapter 6 how triplication may sometimes depict the same religious entity three times; thus we may have here the two elements of protector-guardian and fertility-goddess that we saw among the Aedui. A form of divine couple typical of
which would only find favour among an indigenous clientèle. Both patron/devotee and craftsman would have been operating in an entirely native milieu. The war-god as a horseman refers to a specifically Romano-Celtic cult, even though the name of ‘Mars’ may be used. The Roman Mars was not generally equestrian, and the idea of a warrior-horseman may have originated from the existence of a ruling knightly class in Celtic society and the excellence of Celtic cavalry and horsemanship. We have evidence,
iron and an earth-dimension; and the raven—as a carrion bird—frequently has chthonic associations, but its bright-eyed stare may invoke light and the sun. We have seen already that the hammer-god and the sky-god were linked (p. 81). With the imagery at Parley Heath we have come a long way from the very Roman representations of the sky-god who resembles Jupiter in every respect but for the foreign wheel-motif. Two other British sites reveal further the separation between Roman and native celestial
Figure 63 Bronze horse, dedicated to Rudiobus: Neuvy-en-Sullias. Musée Archéo logique, Orléans. Photograph: Bulloz, Paris. Figure 64 Relief of mare and foal: Chorey. Beaune, Musée des Beaux-Arts. Maxi mum width 30.5cm. Photograph: Miranda Green. 148 The symbolism of the natural world sky-warrior also appeared on horseback. A small horse or mule dedicated to ‘Segomo’,113 from Nuits St Georges, may be associated with a Celtic Mars: Mars Segomo is recorded at Lyon114 and elsewhere. The link