Page:The Celtic Review volume 3.djvu/65

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



Weihmörting, in the district of Griesbach in Lower Bavaria, her name occurs in the expression Noreiae Aug(ustæ) sacrum, while at Khamisa she is mentioned along with the Di Manes on an inscription set up by a certain Artorius, whose name is the original of the Welsh Arthur. In Istria it may be noted that there is also a goddess Noriceia, who was also called Veica, as we see from the dedication Veicae Noriceiae. The name Celēia, which is mentioned along with Noreia, is that of the town Cilli in Noricum, a town which was also worshipped as a goddess, as is shown by inscriptions from the beginning of the third century A.D. On these she is called Celeia Augusta and Celeia sancta. As a goddess she is named on inscriptions along with Noreia in one case and Epona in another. That Noricum was largely Celtic in its religion may be gathered from the prominence there of the worship of the god Bĕlĕnos, a name which forms the second element in the British Cuno-belinos, the Welsh Cyn-felyn.

In the course of this investigation it has become very evident how large a part was played in Celtic as well as in at least some forms of Germanic religion by the worship of grouped goddesses. It is from these that the individual goddesses appear in some cases to have been detached, or else developed by a kind of process of unification and generalisation. In some cases, topographical connections operated towards individualisation, in others the growing conception of the earth as ‘the Mother’ par excellence, while in other cases the individual goddesses seem to have been the human representatives of previous goddesses of animal form. Of the latter type were doubtless Epona and Damona. In spite of the existence of certain individual goddesses, however, it is most remarkable that the grouped goddesses held their own, especially in certain districts. How far we may base ethnological conclusions upon this is very uncertain, since under similar conditions of civilisation similar religious ideas are apt to prevail. It is noticeable, however, that the worship of the Matres and the Proximæ held their ground even in districts which came under the full influence of Roman