Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/51

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


The European Sky -God. 41

less god facing us as he drives a four-horse chariot : he is clad in tunica and chlamys, with a four-spiked or rayed crown on his head and a club (?)^ in his right hand. The whole figure is obviously borrowed from the conventional representations of the sun-god. To right and left of him hover a couple of winged boys holding the end of a fluttering chlamys in one hand, a leaf- shaped fan and a conch-shell respectively in the other: they are probably intended for the Winds, possibly for the Seasons. Again to right and left of these come two fish-tailed Tritons, one of whom grasps a couple of paddles, the other an anchor and a shell-trumpet : ^ these Tritons have the forefeet of horses. A second and smaller piece of a similar diadem, or perhaps the back- piece of the same, shows a fish-tailed Triton with horse's forelegs, grasping an anchor in his right hand, while with his left he brandishes a club, or else winds a blast on his conch-shell. Close to him sits a fisherman with a pointed cap, in the act of hooking a magnificent salmon. Now this diadem in all probability belonged either to the god or to his officiating priest ; and it may well have marked the latter as a kingly representative of the former — a visible embodiment of Nodons, who was at once sky- god and water-god, if not earth-god also.

Over what area Nodons and his name-sake priest were recognised, can hardly be determined. Professor Rhys^ draws attention to an old inscribed stone at Cynwyl Gaeo in Carmarthenshire, which gives us a Latin genitive

^According to King {ib. p. 40), a sceptre: Hiibner {op. cit. p. 45) suggests a shell-trumpet, or a whip.

'^So King {loc. cit.): Hiibner {/oc. cit.) suggests that the paddles may be double-axes with crescentic blades.

^Rhys Studies in Early Irish History p. 16 n., extr. from the Proceedings of the British Academy vol. I. Professor Rhys had previously published the inscription in his Lectures on Welsh Philology ed. 2 London 1879 p. 391 as follows — Regin::: Filius A'«/[z']z'«/z — adding : 'The first name is now incomplete, but so much of it as can be read corresponds to the later name Regin, Rein.' May we infer a royal line claiming descent from Nodons?