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following the alphabetical order of the names of the deities? Why has he not arranged them according to the different countries to which they belong, or, better still, in two large portions, the one consisting of those appertaining to Celtic mythology, and the other of those which are unquestionably Germanic? He has collected only Roman inscrip...tions, which are inestimable relics of the brave legions and their settlements on that limes of many thousand miles, which extend from Trajan's Dacian conquest to the wall of Antoninus. There is no insurmountable gulph, as is still frequently supposed, between the last time of Roman glory and the first centuries of the middle ages; a great number of Roman institutions remained in full vigour, after those who conquered the world with their assistance were gone, and the victorious barbarians only very slowly began to understand and to use the whole inheritance, of which they had become the masters. A kind of assimilation, however, between the two contending parties very soon took place, even before the propagation of Christianity began to unite friend and foe. We believe, the assumption of foreign gods is one of the first transitions to that state of amalgamation on the part of the Romans. They took that step in conformity with their universal religious ideas, and made the gods of their subdued enemies their own; they also ordered all these monuments to be erected in their own language and characters, caring very little for the local origin of the deity itself. It is quite natural, therefore, that our author does not make his divisions according to the conquered nations. Besides, it is his task simply to accomplish as complete a collection as possible, and not to arrange the inscriptions in different classes; his labour is merely a preparatory one like that of a lexicographer, but he is not unconscious of the great merits which he has, in assisting the student of northern mythology; he has presented him with the materials for an interesting part of antiquarian research, just as the lexicographer affords the principal aid in learning a language and its literature.—After all this, we must fully acknowledge the merits of our author; he has afforded access to many a treasure, which is yet known only to the antiquaries of the different countries. We will subjoin a few short hints for doing so, making our readers at the same time acquainted with some details of the volume, and how far its editor has already prepared the way for further investigations. The first and most necessary labour to be undertaken unquestionably will be, very carefully to separate the Celtic or Gallic inscriptions from the Germanic and Norse, which belong neither to the one nor to the other. The author himself states in the preface, p. v., his reasons why he was obliged to exclude from his book certain monuments which were discovered in the same districts with the others, but undoubtedly referred to some Asiatic or African deity. We are not able to decide, whether in the collection itself a few more inscriptions may not be met with, which likewise belong neither to Teutonic nor Celtic mythology. It is true, the same legions which were stationed on the northern frontiers of the vast empire, frequently had fought in former times against the Parthians and on the Arabian frontiers, or had been quartered in Egypt or in Asia Minor. Nobody will deny that many . soldiers, natives of eastern countries, may have carried the worship of their foreign gods with them to the North. The goddess Isis, for instance, was worshipped in Noreia, (n.207); but who can tell whether this is a confirmation of the words of Tacitus,' or whether a Roman officer of eastern origin had transplanted his domestic religion to the new quarters near the woods of Germany or the shores of the North Sea? There are other inscriptions where similar doubts may arise, but it is very difficult to come to a final decision, unless a fortunate or accidental discovery of a sedulous inquirer of Oriental and Occidental mythology should throw a new and unexpected light upon the particular case. Inscriptions of this kind, therefore, like many. others in the book, still wait for a satisfactory explanation, or must remain unexplained for ever. It is of more importance, and not less difficult, to draw the line of separation between the monuments, upon which the name of a Germanic or Gallic deity is recorded. The antiquaries of each nationality have studied their mythology for centuries, sometimes in vain, sometimes with more or less success. We do not think that a real system of Celtic mythology has as yet come forth like that of German mythology by the learned and ingenious Jacob Grimm,” where the lofty and almost metaphysical shapes of the gods of the Gothic tribes are traced back to their Indian birth-place, where the short accounts given by the penetrating mind of Tacitus are shown to be the clearest fountain for this branch of archacology, and where the most intimate connection between all Teutonic races in their wanderings from the Black Sea to Iceland is indisputably established. On the other hand, in France, Italy, or England, many learned men have written treatises upon one or more gods and goddesses; they have described the images, the worship, and the sacrifices, but the traces of connection, which certainly exist with the East, have not yet been successfully pursued. The spreading of the Roman power over all these countries has darkened the ancient history of the Celts; their territories very soon became Roman provinces; their gods and religious rites were carried into the sanctuaries of the conquerors. Christianity also, which was acknowledged very early
* De Moribus Germ. 9: pars Suevo- 2 Deutsche Mythologic, von Jacob rum et Isidi sacrificat. Grimm, ed. 11, 1842.
among the Gallic nations, assisted at that period in removing from the memory of the people their old idolatry. But the Romans never subdued their German neighbours, and very soon they saw themselves compelled to acquiesce simply in fortifying the borders against the invading multitudes, till those measures also proved fallacious. It is well known that the principal Germanic races became Christians after having taken possession of the different Roman provinces, and that many of them continued most obstinately in keeping up their old heathen rites for even centuries after. We think the unsuccessful exertions of the Romans account for the circumstance, that only a very small number of Roman monuments in reference to Teutonic gods exist in comparison with that great multitude of inscriptions dedicated to Celtic deities. Another reason lies in the difference of the two religions; even if the Romans had conquered all Germany up to the Baltic, they would not have been able to enrich their temples with many more images. The high-minded Tacitus, struck with a sort of admiring awe, says of the Teutonic tribes: “Nec cohibere parietibus deos, neque in ullam humani oris speciem adsimulare ex magnitudine coelestium arbitrabantur.” Such gods were not fit for the Romans. But among the Gauls Caesar found dreadful images and representations of the Roman Mercury, Apollo, Jupiter, and other gods !“ No doubt, Roman ideas were thus very naturally intermingled with Gallic superstitions. There are certain names mentioned where the origin of the divinity is doubtful, and both parties claim it for themselves. Every thing here depends upon fixing as accurately as possible time and place, when and where the particular monument was erected, as the government of many border-countries, for several centuries, was subjected to continual changes. M. de Wal has done his utmost to obtain their philological and documental certainty, in fixing the place, the names of the dedicators, and often also of the consuls of the year. Thus he has smoothed the way, where combination and conjectural criticism may still do a good deal more. We will mention only a few examples. First, the goddess Nehalennia was worshipped in the Netherlands, of which the inscriptions, n. 176–199, are the proofs. Many ingenious men during the last two hundred years, down to the time of Grimm, have laboured to explain this worship, but nobody has been able to make any thing certain out of it. An example of another kind is the god Cisonius, (n. 88,) upon a monument found on the left side of the Upper Rhine; the form of the name certainly reminds one of the old German god Fin, a trace of whom we still find preserved in the name of our Tuesday; but other ob
* De Moribus Germ. 9. * De Bello Gall. v1.16, 17.
stacles are not yet sufficiently removed, although Grimm and Dr. Lersch seem inclined to vindicate his Germanic birthright. Very doubtful is the spelling and explanation of the name Bellancus, (n. 53). Our author tries to get rid of the difficulty by making it the name of the dedicator instead of the deity; we here agree, however, more with his conjecture than with the German antiquaries, who endeavour to find the northern hero Billunc in this inscription. But this name only existed in the Scaldic poetry of Scandinavia, and as a family appellative among the Saxons in northern Germany and England, of which the name of Billingsgate is a proof even to this very day; besides, it is doubtful if it came so far south as the Rhine country and during the Roman period. A similar question will arise about the Hercules Saranus, (n. 136–144, 317). It agrees very well with the warlike character of both the Gauls and the Germans, that the Romans so frequently met with a deity, which they without any scruple called Hercules. Tacitus' heard that this hero had wandered so far north as Germany, and that the old Germans invoked his name, principally in their war-songs. But how far the appellative Sawanus, which is found, with a few exceptions, only upon native tablets on the Lower Rhine, dedicated especially by officers of the legions stationed there, is Germanic, we will not venture to determine; it seems that the resemblance of the name, with the obscure northern being called Sarnót, and with the root, from which the name of the Saxons itself appears to be derived, cannot be denied. The goddess Illudana (n. 149,) has already been recognized by Grimm and other German philologists as a pure Germanic deity, who is mentioned in conformity with this inscription in the songs of the Edda. The claims of both nationalities come together again in the god Taranuenus, (n. 262,) and nobody will deny, that the god of thunder, whose name most likely is meant here, was similar and nearly the same among both, especially on the frontiers. A true Germanic goddess is the Diana Abnoba, (n. 7–9,) for all the three stones have been found about the fountains of the Danube, that is, the black forest, called by Tacitus," “jugum montis Abnobge ;” and as the same historian says of the ancient Germans,” “lucos et memora consecrant, deorumque numinibus appellant secretum illud, quod sola reverentia vident,” there cannot remain any question of discussion. The imagination of the ancient Germans peopled mountains and forests with these divine beings, the offspring of reverence and awe; in a like manner the waters, rivers, and lakes, were holy, as many vestiges and tales relate, and the three dedications to the genius of the Rhine confirm, (n.232–234.)
* De Moribus Germ. 3. 6 Ibid. 1. 7 Ibid. 9.
The greater number in M. de Wal's collection allude in reality, as we have already stated, to Celtic deities, and many most interesting points will be established by them. Caesar" mentions one of the petty kings of the Senones, Moritargus; in the inscription, n. 173, we find exactly the same name belonging to a god, so that probably the human hero was deified as was done among the Greeks and the Romans. Caesar" also states, that the Gallic Mercury was the protector of commerce and travelling; the great number of dedications inscribed to him with the most different surnames, and discovered in all Roman provinces of the West, are the best proof of it. Caesar adds, “Jocem imperium coelestium tenere.” Our inscriptions mention different Joves optimos maximos; but a principal place of this worship the Romans must have found upon the summit of Mount St. Bernard, which, during the greater part of the middle ages," still passed under the name of Mons Jovis; and it was, as the inscriptions n. 211-230 certify, principally this Jupiter Peninus, to whom travellers, who crossed this dangerous pass to or from Italy, made their vows. Mars, the god of war, occurs in Spain, Gaul, and Britain, with many indigenous and local surnames, which frequently have been treated by Celtic antiquarians. It is the same with Apollo, of whom Caesar asserts that he was believed to cure diseases. All the monuments of Apollo Belenus, especially in Gallia Cisalpina, and to Apollo Grannus from the Helvetian frontiers as far as Scotland, mention vows taken by the dedicating parties. Perhaps the god Mogon or Mounus Cadenorum, (n. 168-172,) restitutor vitae, (n. 171,) is only another Apollo. The goddess Epona (n. 106-315, 310-213,) whose name so frequently is read upon stones in Styria, on the Rhine and in Scotland, is generally considered to be a Gallic deity, and we think correctly, although our learned editor supports her Italian origin, and promises to prove his opinion on a future occasion, (cf. p. 77.)
We think these few observations will suffice to give an idea of this copious collection. To the scholar of British antiquity, it opens a wide field. He will find all the inscriptions of the mysterious Mars Belatucader, and of many other Celtic deities, especially worshipped by the ancient Britons as Cocideus, Duicus, Hercules Magusanus, Hercules Segontiacorum, Numeria, Nimpa, Sulisma, and many more. May his book therefore meet with that attention which it deserves; and may its learned author very soon find the leisure necessary to prepare a second volume of these important and interesting mythological documents for middle and northern Europe.
* De Belio Gail. v. 45. * De Bello Gall. VI. 17. * The mountain received its present name only in the eleventh century after a monk of Wallis.