(Hall of Sucellos)
These are my reasons why I feel that Sucellos is a creator/father god and a polyfunctional god.
I go into many things, and many more will be added in time as I become closer with Sucellos. This is not about my personal relationship with him. that will be in another place. Within these words, I am not claiming any of this is The Highest Fact. I am also using practical applied knowledge from my years of my crafts and trades and using that to look closer at the traits of Sucellos. So verified fact to speculative fact to my Personal gnosis to piece together the why He is seen as the Creator/Father god.
SUCELLOS AND THE MOON
In Julius Caesar’s writings about the Gauls, he claimed they descended from Dis Pater: A Roman underworldly deity, a god of the dead.
“De Bello Gallico” (6; 18): The Gauls claim that they are all descended from one father, Dis, and they say that this is the teaching of the Druids. For this reason, they define the passage of time by nights rather than days: They observe birthdays and the start of months and years in this way, with day comes after night.”
This is an example of interpretationo Romana
(THE TENDENCY OF ANCIENT ROMAN WRITERS TO EQUATE FOREIGN DEITIES WITH MEMBERS OF THEIR OWN PANTHEON.)
Supposably the Gaulish Druids taught a divine ancestry in their Teachings. It remains unclear which Gaulish God he is speaking of that could be a Gaulish Dis Pater. There are countless papers on the many gods that could be a Gaulish Dis Pater. It is a question still discussed and remained a mystery.
One of the most strongly suggested theories is Sucellos is the Gaulish Dis pater that Caeser talked about as he is widespread all over Gaul.
LET US TAKE A LOOK AT THE TWO GODS
Dis Pater – His name Suggested as meaning “father of riches.” He is a Chthonic God, which means in, under, or beneath the earth, so he is an Underworldyly God. He is connected to Fertility, Agricultural, Minerals, And wealth. (riches brought up from the earth)
Sucellos: Name meaning The Good Striker He was seen with a long-shafted hammer, olla, a pot, wine, barrels, and a dog. His hammer could be seen as a winemaking tool, driving fence post, or even a coppersmith’s tool. Agriculture, forest, alcohol, wealth, fertility, feast, providence, and protection ~ are all associated with him. His consort is Nantosuelta. They do seem to share parallels.
Strabo, who was a Greek Historian, says in his work Gepgraphica.
passage (3, 4, 16)
“Some say that the Callaicians have no gods, but the Celtiberians and their neighbors in the north offer a sacrifice to a nameless god, at night, during the full moon, in front of the doors of their houses, and the whole household dances and stays up until dawn.”
This passage has been Discussed heavily for some time in the community. What did Strabos mean by northern Neighbors? Did he mean all of Gaul or just some tribes? What were these full- Moon traditions? Who or what is this Nameless God? Researchers and Archeologist saw a moon cult in the passage. Believing that the moon was this Nameless god the Gauls Worshiped. Nevertheless, this theory for reasons was dismissed.
The researcher Francisco Marco Simon interprets Strabo passage as he only mentions a Nameless god to highlight these people’s primitive nature. So it is unknown if there was a nameless god. Most likely, Strabo tried to illustrate the Celtiberians’ uncivilized world, As Ignorance about Religious stuff was equal to Barbarism to the Greeks.
Francisco Marco Simon states that the Nameless God the Gauls worshiped was the same they claim they were decedents from. He also stated that the Dis pater has the closest Connection to Sucellos as their function and Attributes are the same.
It would seem that most of Gaul paid tribute to the moon and the night more than the sun and days as we can see by Caesers Quote.” The Gaulish calendar, counting days, months, years by nights, rather than days” It would also seem that the Gaulish Dis Pater could be a Ruler of time. Does this mean Moon and the night sky are worshiped? I do not think they were worshiped? In Roman Region, we have the Ides-Full moon days, which were dedicated to Jupiter.
We also have Natosuelta Sucellos Partner; she has a few etymologies Meadering Broock and She of the sun-warmed valley are the most widespread. This makes a good pairing as we can see her connection to the sun—furthermore, Sucellos linking to the Moon and the night.
SUCELLOS IN THE UNDERWORLD
Now let us not confuse the underworld with a sinister hell place full of the dead and all that. It seems the Gaulish Context of the Underworld was a place of rebirth and renewal; it is where life is born From darkness.
We have some inscriptions of Sucellos near Ettlingen that depict a Funerary role to Sucellos. In the Lower Rhine and Romania, Sucellos is seen with A three Headed Dog and a raven. The three-headed dog seems to resemble Hades dog Cerberus. However, Hades dog was a sinister creature, which that image seems to not fit in with Sucellos’s benevolence image. Dogs in Gaulish Culture played a big role in Hunting, Healing, and death as we know that the dog’s saliva held highly curative properties. In a Gaulish context, they seem to symbolize a rebirth image to their Chthonic role. He could also be connected to the divine hunt, a theme of renewal and resurrection after death.
Now Ravens are oracular prophetic creatures. They could represent the souls freed from the body.
Now the Raven has carrion habits, Carrion, meaning the decaying flesh of a dead animal or a dead human. Linking them to death, Rebirth, renewal, and the underworld. The raven has many more countless meanings, but for this, we will focus on the role of the underworld.
We also have Sucellos’s role with agriculture and possibly smithing now, not Iron age smithing. So both of these things are chthonic and rely heavily on that which is beneath the earth.
SUCELLOS IN THE FOREST
Sucellos connection with Silvanus
In southern Gaul, Sucellos is associated with the god Silvanus. Let us take a quick look at the god Silvanus. He was a Roman god of the woodland and wild nature, a Peasant-protector. Such things as Vegetation, Forest, domestic nature, and fertility were also associated with him.
He is a protector of wild forest and beasts, also a hunter and a provider of Abundance. We see Silvanus sometimes with a long-shafted hammer and other times with a billhook.
He is seen wearing a wolf pelt at times or a tunic. At a few sites, we have found inscriptions of Silvanus-Sucellos.
In many places, He was equated with Sucellos. Sometimes Sucellos was presented as a woodland deity.
SUCELLOS AND THE SMITH
The most Defining trait for a Smithing God is that they are a craftsman.
They are divine Hospitalers. They brew drinks they host the Otherworldly feast, and have animals connected to the Otherworld.
Now Sucellos was a popular god all around Gaul with his partner Nantouelta. Agin his name meaning The Good Stiker, which Kuel is a root word For Inod-European Smithing Gods. He is seen with his long-shafted Hammer or Maul along with winemaking items. As well as an agriculture God. think of him as the common man’s god.
Let’s take a quick look at the Smithing gods in Gaul. Now, these two gods may be the same.
Gobannos-Name meaning (Smith)
Ucuetis-Name Meaning (Great Breath)
Ucuetis was a god of Alisa along with his consort Bergusia her name meaning (Mountain). She was a Goddess Of prosperity and fertility, as the images suggest. She was a Tutelary Deity. Ucuetis name could be a reference to the Bellows. As the air is what breathes life into the fire to help make the Item. Suppose you are going by Vaclav Blazek linguistic interpretation in Series 58 of the Journal Of Indo-European Studies Monograph. Now there are two more Interpretations of his name. We have P.Y Lambert suggesting his mane follows Indo-European Okuo-(Acute, Sharpener) its followed by a ti, meaning his name means The Sharpener. Some other possible meanings are ukw meaning “to speak or invoke,” and then The Proto Celtic cuet meaning “to Forge.”
Gobannos his name, meaning the world traveler. We have a tablet dedicated to him from the people of Brennoduron. Brennoduron meaning “ravens form.” there was also a Hoard of items found dedicated to him now housed in California. One such item is a statue that assimilates the God With The God Mars. Jean Louis Bruneaux mentioned in his book The Celtic Gauls that there were victory dedications made simultaneously for Vulcan and Mars. It was not uncommon in Gaul as it seems that the Smith God’s role played a bigger part in the Culture of Gaul than in Rome. Even the god Vulcan is on the Boatmen Pillar. It also seems that Gobannos, the name people used, I mean our very own Vercingetorix uncle, was named Gobannitio.
Ok, let us move on. I only mention them to help create a better picture of the smithing god.
Now let’s take a quick look at Nantosuelta, the companion of Sucellos. Again her name Meaning “Sunwarmed Valley” or “Winding River” also, whether her name means valley or river matters not as both have a connection to the earth. She is a Goddess of Prosperity and Domesticity. She is seen with a long pole with a house on it, a cornucopia, patera, beehive, and ravens, suggesting a link to the otherworld which she could have a chthonic dimension about her. (The long Pole with a house looks similar to spirithouse we will get into that at a later time.)
Take a look back at Bergusia. She was a goddess of Prosperity, and her name meaning (Mountain). Now the mountain holds the Minerals and ores for the smith to craft his items, which is connected to the earth, and remember Chthonic means beneath the earth.
The smith in the Village
The village smith held a crucial role in the community or society. They were clever workmen. They were looked at as “King of the Craftsmen” In Gaulish Culture, the Smith was Held at the most high level. They held a mystical, supernatural ability to them. To turn lumps of rock into weapons and jewelry was seen as magic. The forge in many cultures around the world was seen as the hub of the village. The blacksmith gave life to the other trades in the village as most relied upon them in order for their trade to live. As they were the ones that made the Wordwoorkers, Leatherworkers, Stonemasons, and countless other trades tools. The Smith was the only place to go to have something repaired or get a tool made or even bring in your old tools to be melted down and made into something new. Smiths usually combined their craft with farming.
Now there are many forms of smithing.
- The blacksmith-black metals-Iron and steel
- The Brownsmith-Brass, Copper
- The Whitesmith-Lead, Pewter and its alloys
- The Tinsmith-Tin
- The Goldsmith-Gold
- The Silversmith-Silver
- The Coppersmith-Copper
Brave iron, Brave hammer, from your sound
The art of music has her ground.
On the anvil thou keep’st time
They knick a knock is a smith’s best chime
(Song of the Cyclops by Thomas Dekker,1629)
In a lot of old superstition, the anvil sang as you hit the different parts of the metal, and it was a sign to ward of evil. This is a form of
There is a depiction of Silvanus which he is assimilated with Sucellos at Seguret, who holds his hammer and a Syrinx (Pan-Pipes). Could that be linked with the above sentence? Who knows, but it is a kool thought.
SUCELLOS AND THE HAMMER
Let’s not confuse Hammer gods and smithing gods. Not all hammer Gods are smithing Gods, but all Smithing Gods are hammer Gods.
The hammer god is complex and profound. They are held at the highest Importance Throughout Gaul. Sucellos is an indigenous Gaulish God with no influence from classical gods except in the Naturalistic form from his Iconography. Depictions of him have been found all around Gaul. Even just symbols of hammers have been found carved into stones and on altars. A lot of those Vocative hammers are found near spring sanctuaries.
The hammer God’s iconography is complex showing him with many functions. He is a bearded mature male wearing a traditional Gallic Tunic and a Cloak. In the Narbonenis Territory, the god appears with a wolfskin cloak and a leaf crown. Most likely, because of the area, he was located at, he seems to be assimilated with Silvanus in and around that area.
“the Roman Historian Appinos stating that the Celtiberians knew Specific Heralds that would be robed in wolfskins as we see that in some Sucellos depictions.”
We often see him with a long-shafted hammer and a small pot, in some cases with a dog. Now near the Rhone Valley, his imagery is a little different. We see his association with wine and harvest, most probably grape harvest. This imagery seems important as we find this imagery a lot. We do find this depiction in Alesia as well.
At Vienne, we find a rather strange depiction of Sucellos, which looks like a Celestial Symbol with him. It appears to be a sun or moon-like wheel with Hammers radiating from it. It seems it could be a solar association. As mentioned before about the hammers found at shrines and spring sanctuaries, there have been some finds with hammers and human limbs. Suggesting a Healing role.
(Remember the role of the smith. We would bring in our broken tools to have repaired)
His connection to Earthly things like prosperity and plenty coming from the earth. Connection to the wild and cultivated lands. The hammer seems to be Sucellos main symbol. The hammer has many meanings to it. It seems like a Multi-tool serving as a scepter or a weapon but a weapon to protect the people and protect them from disease and infertility. Within the land as well? It could be a symbol of Boundaries as it could be seen as a tool for fence making. It can as well be seen as a tool for striking the earth to bring in the seasons.
Now what is interesting there is relief found at Carpentras in southern Gaul. The image here is of a hammer on one side and a double-ax on the other. They may be a representation of a thunderbolt symbol, as suggested by J.J Hatt. This double-ax could be a symbol of looking both ways as suggesting a link between the Lower and Upper worlds. Having Dominion of both worlds.
There are many depictions of Sucellos with his hammer pointing up or others downwards. The upward position could be looked at as his connection with the sky, acting like a thunderbolt bringing in the storm. The downward position bringing fertility to the earth.
SUCELLOS AND THE CAULDRON
Now let’s move on to his other main symbolism, The Pot that he holds. This could be regeneration and replenish symbolism. It also represents his essence, looking after you in life and death. If it holds the wine, that could be a representation of Resurrection as wine, more specifically, red wine, could represent blood. The Celtic Coldron is seen as a symbol of transformation, renewal, and rebirth. It could also be a coppersmith or a blacksmith Quenching Bowl which the waters in that were thought to have magical properties. Some folk tales say Drinking the waters supposedly cured ailments. The last part is not found in Gaul but later on in Europe.
- SUCELLOS OF THE HIGH – Sucellos and Jupiter
- THE DIVINE COUPLE – Sucellos and Nantosuelta
- SUCELLOS AND THE BOUNDARIES
- Some of the References are above.
- The Country blacksmith – David l. McDougall
- Metalworking – Hasluck
- Journal of Indo-European Studies 58 – Vaclav Blazek
- Dictionary of Celtic Mythology – MacKillop
- Symbol & Image in Celtic Religious Art – Miranda Green
- Dictionary of Celtic Myths and Legends – Miranda Green
- Celtic Mysteries – John Sharkey
- The Gods Of The Celts – Miranda Green