Cissonius

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Relief of Mercury Cissonius from the Palatinate.
Map showing the distribution of inscriptions to Cissonius.

Cissonius (also Cisonius, Cesonius) was an ancient Gaulish god. After Visucius, Cissonius was the most common name of the Gaulish Mercury; around seventeen inscriptions dedicated to him extend from France and Southern Germany into Switzerland.[1]

Cissonius was represented either as a bearded, helmeted man riding a ram and carrying a wine cup, or else as a young man with winged helmet and herald's staff accompanied by a rooster and goat.[citation needed]

The name has been interpreted as meaning "courageous", "remote"[citation needed] or else "carriage-driver".[2] He was probably a god of trade and protector of travellers, since Mercury exercised similar functions in the Roman pantheon.

In one inscription from Promontogno in Switzerland, Cissonus is identified with Matutinus.[1]

The place-name Niederzissen in the Kreis Ahrweiler may be derived from the name of Cissonius.[citation needed]

A goddess Cissonia is also recorded.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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. pp.34-5
  2. ^ J.-J. Hatt (1989), Mythes et dieux de la Gaules, I : les grandes divinités masculines, Paris, p.217. Cited in William van Andringa (2002). La religion en Gaule romaine : Piété et politique (Ier-IIIe siècle apr. J.-C. Editions Errance, Paris. pp.135,155. Van Andringa thus summarizes Hatt's conclusions: "Cissonius dériverait du gaulois cissum, voiture." ("Cissonius would be derived from the Gaulish cissum, carriage.")
  3. ^ Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend, Miranda J. Green, Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1997