Posted by Stella Clark

Mogons Cover
Mogons or Moguns was a god worshipped in Roman Britain and in Gaul. The main evidence is from altars dedicated to the god by Roman soldiers, but the deity is not a native Italic one. It appears to be Celtic. Inscriptional spellings include Mogetios, Mogounos, Mogti, Mounti, Mogont, Mogunt. Not all of these words are necessarily in the nominative case. For example, Mounti is a dative, probably *Mogunti, from a hypothetical nominative, *Moguns, of a back-formed Latin stem, *Mogunt-.

Etymologically the name can be seen to be the same as the English word Might personified. It has been translated by others as greatness or the great one. The fact that ordinary soldiers adopted him tends to support a "powerful" or "effective" interpretation rather than self-glorification.

Altar-stones raised to Mogons have been recovered in the United Kingdom, such as the stones found at the following locations. The number is the catalog number of the artifact and the name in parentheses is the word as it appears on the stone, not necessarily (and probably not) in the nominative case. Most are datives, to be translated as "to" the god:

* Voreda (Old Penrith): 921 (Mogti), 922 (Mounti)
* Castra Exploratorum (Netherby, Cumbria): 971 (Mogont Vitire)
* Habitancum (Risingham): 1225 (Mogonito, dative of *Mogonitus, adjective formed from *Mogons), 1226 (Mouno, *Moguno, dative of *Mogunus)
* Bremenium (High Rochester): 1269 (Mountibus, *Moguntibus, dative plural of *Moguns)
* Vindolanda (Chesterholm): 1722d (Mogunti et Genio Loci).

Modern Mainz takes its name from Castrum Moguntiacum, a Roman base placed there. It is hypothesized that Moguns gave his name to it. The inscription at Habitancum identifies the troops stationed at that location as being from the Vangiones, the Gaesati and Rhaetia; i.e., from Germania Superior. Mainz was in the territory of the Vangiones, who were Belgae.

The question of whether Moguns was Celtic or Germanic hinges to a large degree on the ethnicity of the Vangiones. As Belgae, they were considered Celts of Germanic origin. If they had still spoken Germanic, they would have been considered Germanic. Whether Celtic or Germanic, they were not the original population in the region, which had been purely Celtic, but must have been moved into it or allowed to settle there by the Romans. The Celts of Julius Caesar's time had evacuated the region through fear of the Suebi. The defense of the region against the latter is the main reason for the Roman base.

The Habitancum inscription contains also the expression Deo Mogonito Cad... with the letters following Cad missing. As the region is in the territory of the historic Scottish tribe called the Gadeni, centered around Jedburgh (Jed possibly from Cad), the Cad.. is interpreted as some case of Cadeni. One speculation is that the Cadeni were a section of the Vangiones. Some derive Cadeni from Gaedhal, or Gael. A third theory derives Cad from catu-, "battle", with a sense "to the battle god, Mogon...".

Considering that the gods worshipped in the future Alsace, then home of the Vangiones, were Celtic, such as Grannus, Moguns is currently taken to be Celtic.[citation needed] The -uns is a specifically Celtic suffix. As for the historic Gadeni, their origin is not known. They could been the remnants of the Vangiones or possibly among the indigenes. Perhaps the future discovery of additional inscriptions or the future publication of inscriptions already known but unpublished will shed further light on Mogons.

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This entry was posted on 25 September 2008 at Thursday, September 25, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .