Grannus


Grannus

In classical Celtic polytheism, Grannus (also Granus Mogounus Amarcolitanus) was a deity associated with spas, the sun, fires and healing thermal and mineral springs. He seems to have embodied the notion of therapeutic heat.

Centres of worship

One of the god’s most famous cult centres was at Aquae Granni (now Aachen, Germany). Aachen means ‘water’ in Old High German, a calque of the Roman name of "Aquae Granni".Dr. Rita Mielke. [http://www.aachen.de/EN/ts/100_taking_a_cure/100_99/index.html History of Bathing] . Aachen.] The town’s hot springs with temperatures between 45 °C and 75 °C lay in the somewhat inhospitably marshy area around Aachen's basin-shaped valley region. Aachen first became a curative centre in Hallstatt times. The Roman Emperor Caracalla (188 AD to 217 AD) visited the shrine of ‘the Celtic healing-god’ Grannus during the war with Germany in about 215.

Many more of Grannus’ centres of worship lay in present-day Germany: inscriptions to the god have been uncovered at Alzey, Arnheim, Augsburg, Baumberg, Bonn, Ennetach, Erp, Faimingen, Neuenstadt am Kocher, Rheinzabern, Speier, Trier, Bitburg and Unterfinningen.fr icon Patrice Lajoye. [http://www.mythofrancaise.asso.fr/mythes/themes/divcelt2.htm Un inventaire des divinités celtes de l’Antiquité] . Société de Mythologie Française. See also the inventory's [http://www.mythofrancaise.asso.fr/mythes/themes/divcelt1.htm introduction] .] Yet Germany is by no means the only area where the cult of this widespread Celtic deity occurs: this god’s name is also recorded on inscriptions in France at Grand in the Vosges, Horbourg-Wihr in the Haut-Rhin, Limoges in Haute-Vienne and at Monthelon in Saône-et-Loire. There are also findings in Scotland at Inveresk, in Spain at Astorga, in Italy at Rome, in Sweden at Fycklinge, in Austria at Lendorf, in England at Thetford, in Hungary at O-Szöny and in Romania at Alba Iulia and Bretea Română.

In the early twentieth century, the god was said to have still been remembered in a chant sung round bonfires in Auvergne, in which a sheaf of corn is set on fire, and called "Granno mio", while the people sing, “Granno, my friend; Granno, my father; Granno, my mother”.J. A. MacCulloch. 1911. [http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/rac/rac06.htm "The Gods of Gaul and the Continental Celts."] "The Religion of the Ancient Celts."]

Epithets

In all of his centres of worship where he is assimilated to a Roman god, Grannus was equated with Apollo, presumably in Apollo’s role as a healing or solar deity. In Trier, he is identified more specifically with Apollo Phoebus. At Monthelon, he is also called "Amarcolitanus" and at Horbourg-Wihr "Mogounus".

Divine entourage

The name Grannus is sometimes accompanied by those of other deities in the inscriptions. In Augsburg, he is found with Diana and/or Sirona and again with Sirona at Rome, Bitburg and Baumberg. At Ennetach he is with Nymphs, at Faimingen with Hygieia and Cybele and at Grand with Sol. At Limoges, he is found with Mars and at Astorga with Serapis, Isis, Mars-Sagatus and Core.

Etymology

In the early twentieth century, the name was connected with the Irish "grian", ‘sun’. Along these lines, the god was often linked to the Deò-ghrèine and the character Mac Gréine of Irish mythology. However, the Irish "grian", ‘sun’ is thought to be derived from Proto-Celtic *"greinā" ‘sun’ and cognate with Welsh "greian" ‘sun’ [Alexander MacBain. 1982. Entry for [http://www.ceantar.org/Dicts/MB2/mb22.html#grian "grian"] in "An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language." Gairm Publications.] and the Proto-Celtic *"greinā" is unlikely to have developed into "Grannos" in Gaulish and other Continental Celtic languages.

References


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