God of war worshiped in Gaul and Noricum while in Roman times he was equated with Mars. His name contains the same root as that of the goddess Rosmerta and may mean “The Purveyor” or “The Provider”, a title rather than a true name. Smertulitanus may be a variant name for the same god.
Smertrius is one of the Gaulish gods depicted on the Pillar of the Boatmen, discovered in Paris. He is depicted as a well-muscled bearded man confronting a snake which rears up in front of him. The god brandishes an object which has usually been interpreted as a club but which rather resembles a torch or firebrand.
The normal interpretation of the god’s attribute as a club has led to the identification, by modern scholars, of Smertrius and Hercules. Other evidence links Smertrius with the Celtic version of Mars: at Mohn near Trier, a spring sanctuary was dedicated to Mars Smertrius and his consort Ancamna. Coins found here indicate that there was a shrine here before the Roman period. Another Treveran inscription links Mars and Smertrius. Smertrius himself is known outside Gaul, for example on a fragmentary inscription at Grossbach in Austria.
A great warrior Goddess whose name means “she who strikes fear”, was also called “the shadowy one”. She lived on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, and taught many of the legendary Celtic heroes all their skills, including battlefield magic. They traveled great distances to study with her and she instructed them in strategic moves as well as the martial arts. During their stay of a year and a day, she also taught them fierce battle cries and terrifying leaps and bounds, making them undefeatable in combat. She is described as Cuchulainn’s teacher in the Táin Bó Cualgne. After the students finished learning, she sent them back to their people to do great deeds. Scatha’s helmet is from a Celtic grave in Ciumesti, Romania, 3rd century BCE; her torque is from Snettisham (Norfolk), England, mid 1st century BCE. She is standing on a hill overlooking the Callanish Stone Circle. The veiled Goddess behind her is Celtic, 1st century CE. The statue of the Goddess figure on the left is from Kerguilly en Dinéault, Finistère, France, 1st century BCE – 1st century CE. During the Iron Age, the Celts wore helmets with images of certain birds or animals on them to make their appearance more threatening; the goose on the helmet symbolizes the warrior because the goose is aggressive, alert, and an excellent guardian.
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