Icovellauna was a Celtic goddess worshipped in Gaul. Her places of worship included a temple in Metz, originally built over a spring; [Dyfed Lloyd Evans (2005). " [http://www.celtnet.org.uk/gods_i/icovellauna.html Icovellauna: a Gaulish Goddess (Divine Pourer of the Waters)] " from [http://www.celtnet.org.uk/ www.celtnet.org.uk] , accessed 10 September 2006.] a cult centre in Malzéville, from which five inscriptions dedicated to her have been recovered; and Trier.Nicole Jufer & Thierry Luginbühl (2001). "Les dieux gaulois : répertoire des noms de divinités celtiques connus par l'épigraphie, les textes antiques et la toponymie." Editions Errance, Paris. ISBN 2-87772-200-7. p.45; pp.50,70.] All of these places lie in the valley of the Moselle or Meurthe rivers of eastern Gaul, in what are now Lorraine in France and Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.

Miranda Green interprets the Gaulish root "ico-" as 'water' and characterizes Icovellauna as a "water-goddess" who "presided over the nymphaeum at Sablon in the Moselle Basin, a thermal spring-site". [Miranda Green (1986). "The Gods of the Celts." Alan Sutton, Gloucs. ISBN 0-389-20672-5. pp.85, 165.] The root "uellauno-" is glossed by Pierre-Henri Billy as "bon" (good); [Pierre-Henri Billy. 1993. "Thesaurus linguae Gallicae". Olms-Weidmann. ISBN 3-487-09746-X. p.189.] the same root is also found in the names of a god Vellaunus, worshipped in Caerwent, Wales, and of "Mercurius Victor Ma [g] niacus Ve [l] launus" worshipped in Hières-sur-Amby, France.__NOTOC__


The etymology of Icovellauna is uncertain, though the component Ico- represents one of the Gaulish words for 'water' and the 'vellauna/vellaunos' is found in the name of the Brythonic deity Vellaunos and in the name of the hero Cassivellaunos who later became the Cymric hero Caswallon. Now, the terminal -una/-unus generally stands for a divinity which leaves us with the interpretation of -vella-. Assuming that this word retained its meaning in the later Cymric form of Caswallon then this gives us a Cymric word similar to gwall (taking mutation into account) which may in turn be derived from the archaic Cymric form gwallaw which has the double meaning of — 'to pour' or 'to serve'. The latter meaning makes more sense for deities such as Vellaunus; however, in the case of Icovellauna the former meaning seems to make more sens and fits-in well with the nature of a water deity. Thus Icovellauna's name can be interpreted as 'Divine Pourer of the Waters' (or perhaps more poetically 'Divine Source of the Waters'), an apposite name for a goddess associated with the healing springs of Sablon.


Works cited

Further reading

* J-M. Demarolle. "Les eaux et le sacré dans la Lorraine antique". In "L'eau en Gaule, rites sacrés et thermalisme". Dossiers d'Archéologie n° 174, 1 September 1992.

External links

* [http://m.grandveaux.free.fr/DCSablon/index.php?2005/12/26/3-la-dea-icovellauna Le Sablon - du village à la ville] . Includes a line drawing of Icovellauna's sacred well in Metz.

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