Toutatis or Teutates was a Celtic god worshipped in ancient Gaul and Britain. On the basis of his name's etymology, he has been widely interpreted to be a tribal protector.Paul-Marie Duval. 1993. "Les dieux de la Gaule." Éditions Payot, Paris. ISBN 2-228-88621-1] Today, he is best known under the name Toutatis ( IPA|/towˈtɑːtis/ in GaulishPierre-Yves Lambert (2003). "La langue gauloise." Éditions Errance, Paris.] ) through the Gaulish catchphrase "By Toutatis!", invented for the "Asterix" comics by Goscinny and Uderzo. The spelling Toutatis, however, is authentic and attested by about ten ancient inscriptions. [ Listing for Toutatis] from] Under the spelling Teutates, the god is also known from a passage in Lucan.

Epigraphic evidence

Teutates was worshipped especially in Gaul and in Roman Britain. Inscriptions to him have been recovered in the United Kingdom, for example that at Cumberland Quarries (RIB 1017), dedicated to Jupiter Optimus Maximus and Mars Toutatis. [Collingwood, R.G. and Wright, R.P. (1965) "The Roman Inscriptions of Britain" (RIB) "Vol.I Inscriptions on Stone". Oxford. [ RIB 1897, online at] ] Two dedications have also been found in Noricum and Rome.

Evidence from "Pharsalia"

Teutates was one of three Celtic gods mentioned by the Roman poet Lucan in the 1st century AD,Marcus Annaeus Lucanus. c.61-65 CE. "Bellum civile", Book I, ll.498-501. [ Online translation] ] the other two being Esus ("lord") and Taranis ("thunderer"). According to later commentators, victims sacrificed to Teutates were killed by being plunged headfirst into a vat filled with an unspecified liquid. Present-day scholars frequently speak of ‘the "toutates"’ as plural, referring respectively to the patrons of the several tribes.Of two later commentators on Lucan's text, one identifies Teutates with Mercury, the other with Mars.


‘Teutates’ is widely thought to be derived from the Proto-Celtic "*teutā-" meaning ‘people’ or ‘tribe’. [ Proto-Celtic—English lexicon] and [ English—Proto-Celtic lexicon] . University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. (See also [ this page] for background and disclaimers.) Cf. also the [ University of Leiden database] .] Proto-Celtic "eu" generally shifted to "ou" before the second century BCE. It has been suggested that the name means ‘father of the tribe’ but if this were the case, the expected name would be *"Toutāter" (Proto-Celtic "*teutā-" plus "*φatīr"). [Pierre-Henri Billy. 1993. "Thesaurus linguae Gallicae". Olms-Weidmann. ISBN 3-487-09746-X.] The name relates him to the Roman god Quirinus who was the god of the state and served the masses.Fact|date=April 2008


As noted above, among a pair of later reviewers on Lucan's work, one identifies Teutates with Mercury and Esus with Mars. At times the Gaulish “Mercury” may have the characteristic of a warrior, while the Gaulish “Mars” as may act as a god of protection or healing.

Paul-Marie Duval argues that each tribe had its own "toutatis"; he further considers the Gaulish Mars the product of syncretism with the Celtic "toutates", noting the great number of indigenous epithets under which Mars was worshipped.

ee also

*Interpretatio Romana
*Germanic Mercury


*British Museum, London, England.
*Lancaster museum, Lancaster, England.
*Newcastle Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
*Penrith Museum, Penrith, England.
*Verovicium Roman Museum, Housesteads Fort, Northumberland, England.
*York Castle Museum, York, England.

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