Alcis (gods)

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Alcis were a pair of young male brothers worshipped by the Naharvali, a tribe of ancient Germanic peoples.


According to Tacitus (ch.43) the Alcis were a deity of the Naharvali.[1]

Apud Nahanarvalos antiquae religionis lucus ostenditur. Praesidet sacerdos muliebri ornatu, sed deos interpretatione Romana Castorem Pollucemque memorant. Ea vis numini, nomen Alcis. Nulla simulacra, nullum peregrinae superstitionis vestigium; ut fratres tamen, ut iuvenes venerantur.

— Tacitus. Ch.43.[2]

Tacitus states that the worship of Alcis by the Naharvali took place in a sacred grove, with a priest dressed in woman's clothing presiding - the god(s) were given the name Alcis, and venerated as young men and brothers, but no images of the gods were used. A similarity with Castor and Pollux is noted by Tacitus - though he states the cult was indigenous, not derived from an outside influence.[3]

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  1. ^ Smith 1880, p. 104  [text] A deity among the Naharvali, and ancient tribe. Grimm (Deutsche Mythol. p.39) considers Alcis in the passage of Tacitus to be the genitive of Alx, which, according to him, signifies a sacred grove, and is connected with the Greek άλσοε. Another Alcis occurs in Apollodorus, ii, 1 § 5. [L. S.] (Leonhard Schmitz)
  2. ^ Tacitus 1916, p. 22.
  3. ^ Tacitus 1916, p. 22, 125.


  • Tacitus, Cornelius (1916), Reed Staurt, Duane, ed., Tacitus - The Germania, with introduction and notes (in Latin and English), Macmillan

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