Esus or Hesus ("lord" or "master") was a Gaulish god known from two monumental statues and a line in Lucan's "Bellum civile".


The two statues on which his name appears are the Pillar of the Boatmen from among the Parisii and a pillar from Trier among the Treveri. In both of these, Esus is portrayed cutting branches from trees with his axe. Esus is accompanied, on different panels of the Pillar of the Boatmen, by Tarvos Trigaranus (the ‘bull with three cranes’), Jupiter, Vulcan, and other gods.

Written sources

A well-known section in Lucan's "Bellum civile" talks about the gory sacrificial offerings proffered to a triad of Celtic deities: Teutates, Hesus (sic), and Taranis. Among a pair of later commentators on Lucan's work, one identifies Teutates with Mercury and Esus with Mars. According to the Berne Commentary on Lucan, human victims were sacrificed to Esus by being tied to a tree and flailed. [Mary Jones. 2005. [ Jones' Celtic Encyclopedia] ]

The given name "Esunertus" ("strength of Esus") occurs at least once as an epithet of Mercury on a dedicatory inscription.J. A. MacCulloch (1911). ‘Chapter III. The Gods of Gaul and the Continental Celts.’ [ "The Religion of the Ancient Celts".] New York: Dover Publications. ISBN-10: 048642765X.] [Cf. also Mary Jones' " [ Examples of Interpretatio Romana] "]

It is possible that the Esuvii of Gaul, in the area of present-day Normandy, took their name from this deity. [Jan de Vries. 1954. "Keltische Religion." W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart. p.98. [ Cited here.] ]


MacCulloch's assessment

John Arnott MacCulloch summarized the state of scholarly interpretations of Esus as of 1911 in the following terms:

In Neo-Druidism

The 18th century Druidic revivalist Iolo Morgannwg identified Esus with Jesus on the strength of the similarity of their names. He also linked them both with Hu Gadarn, writing:

This identification is still made in certain Neo-Druidic circles. Modern scholars consider the resemblance between the names Esus and Jesus to be coincidental.

ee also



External links

* [ Esus] , including photographs and a capitulation of primary and secondary source material.

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