Condatis

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In Celtic mythology, Condatis ("waters meet") was a deity worshipped primarily in northern Britain but also in Gaul.[1] He was associated with the confluences of rivers, in particular the River Wear which runs its course largely within County Durham. Condatis is known from several inscriptions in Britain and a single inscription found at Alonnes, Sarthe, France. In each case he is equated with the Roman god Mars.

In 1886, a Roman altar was discovered near the Roman station at Chester-le-Street, where the Cong Burn joins the River Wear. The altar was buried six feet deep in soil of an alluvial character. The inscription, which was to DEO marti CONDATI, was formed by a series of punctures. The altar probably belonged to the end of the second or the beginning of the third century. A fragmentary altar bearing the Inscription MARTI CONDATI has been found in Bowes, near Barnard Castle in County Durham and another in Piercebridge, the site of a Roman fort, also in County Durham. Recently a new inscription to Condatis has been discovered at Cramond in the Lothian region of Scotland (AE 1978, 451; dedicated to d(eo) M(arti) Con[dati]).

In Roman times he was equated with Mars, probably in his healing function. The association with the confluence of waters would tend to link this deity with the prevalent Celtic cult of thermal waters rather than solely with war. Again, this may reflect the origins of Condatis as a protector of aberau (the confluence of waters) with his martial aspect only being predominant in the Roman world.

The name Condatis is derived from condate and means 'God of the Confluence'. Names with the root 'condate' are found in place-names such as Condé sur Itan and Condat Cantal in France as well as the ancient name of Northwich in Cheshire Condate. Condate was also the Celtic name of Rennes, then the city of the Redones and now the capital of the region of Brittany.

References[edit]

  1. ^ L'Arbre Celtique. "Condatis"