Cicolluis  

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Cicolluis or Cicoluis (also known as Cicollus, Cicolus, Cicollui, and Cichol) is a god in Celtic mythology worshiped by the ancient Gaulish and Irish peoples. The name is Gallic and Irish and means "All-Breast" or "Great-Breasted" and is probably used to signify strength. In the Gallo-Roman religion, Cicolluis is thought to be a common epithet for Gaulish Mars. A Latin dedicatory inscription from Narbonne (which was in the far south of Gaul), France, bears the words ("Mars Cicolluis and Litavis"). "Mars Cicolluis" has dedications in Xanten, Germany, and Aignay-le-Duc (where his consort is given as Litavis) and M^alain (where his consorts are given as Litavis and Bellona, Roman goddess and personification of war) of the C^ote-d'Or, France. "Cicolluis" is named alone (not as an epithet of Mars) in an inscription at Chassey, C^ote-d'Or, Franche-Comt'e, France, and a partial inscription from Ruffey-l`es-Echirey, C^ote-d'Or, France, may be dedicated to Cicolluis. In Windisch, Switzerland, he is known as "Cicollus," and in Dijon, C^ote-d'Or, France, he is known as "Mars Cicoluis. " Cicolluis may also be identified with Cichol or C'iocal Gricenchos, the earliest-mentioned leader of the Fomorians or Fom'oiri (the semi-divine initial inhabitants of Ireland) in Irish mythology. According to the seventeenth-century Irish historian Seathr'un C'eitinn (also known by the English name Geoffrey Keating), Cichol arrived in Ireland with fifty men and fifty women on six boats a hundred years after the Flood. There, his people lived on fish and fowl for two hundred years until Parthol'on and his people (who brought the plough and oxen) invaded and defeated the Fomorians in the Battle of Magh Ithe. Cicolluis's name is most likely derived from the reconstructed proto-Celtic roots *k-kf ("breast," but also yields the insular Celtic words for "meat," such as Irish cich.

Cocidius is known from both inscriptional and image evidence mainly clustered around the area of Hadrian's wall. The main inscriptions come from Bewcastle, Cumberland where two silver plaques bearing images of the god and dedicated to him were discovered. A selection of the Bewcastle inscriptions follow: DEO SANCTO COCIDIO ANNIVS VICTOR CENTVR LEGIONIS E (To the divine god Cocidius, Annius Victor, centurion of the legions, recalled to service), DEO MARTI COCID SANCTO ALIVS VITALIANVS D D L M (To the divine god Mars Cocidius, Aelius Vitalianus, presented and dedicated (this) willingly and deservedly); DEO DO COCDIO AVNTINVS F (For the house of the god Cocidius, Auntinus made this). Other alters to Cocidius have been found at Netherby in Cumbria, Chesterholm in Northumberland, Birdoswald in Cumbria, a second inscription at Birdoswald where he is equated with Jupiter, Risingham in Northumberland where he is equated with Silvanus, to Mars Cocidius at Lancaster, to Vernostonus Cocidius at Ebchester in Durham, to Cocidius and the Genius of the Stronghold (Genium Praesidi) at Housesteads on Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, to Cocidius and Silvanus also at Housesteads, and to Jupiter, Cocidius and the Genium Loci at Housesteads. A further inscription to Mars Toutates Cocidius was discovered at Carlisle. In addition to these several inscriptions have been found along Hadrian's wall eg: from Mile Castle-37, between Housesteads and Greatchesters DEO COCIDIO VABRIVS VSLM (To the god Cocidius, Vabrius willingly and deservedly fulfilled his vow); from the Wall between Birdowald and Castlesteads DEO COCIDIO MILITES LEG II AVG VSLM (To the god Cocidius, the soldiers of the Second Augustan Legion, willingly and deservedly fulfilled their vow), DEO COCIDIO VEXIL LEG VI VIC VSLM (To the god Cocidius, a detachment of the Sixth Victorious Legion, willingly and deservedly fulfilled their vow); from the Castlesteads to Stanwix section of the Wall DEO MARTI COCIDIO.. MARTIVS > COH I BAT ET GENIO (To the god Cocidius, and to the Genius (of this place), [...] Martius, centurion in the First Cohort of Batavians, (set this up)) and DEO COCIDIO MILITES LEG VI VIC P F (For the god Cocidius, the soldiers of the Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful (made this)). A further inscription on a sandstone altar [RIB 1017] comes from the Cumberland Quarries, Cumberland and states: RIOCALAT ET TOVTAT MAR COCIDO VOTO FECIT VITALIS ([to] Riocalatis and Toutatis, Mars Cocidius, Vitalis made this vow) and again names equates Cocidius with Roman Mars and Celtic Toutates but this time also names another native deity, Riocalatis.

The image shown above on the left is an amalgam of the images from the two silver Cocidius plaques discovered at Bewcastle, Cumberland. The main image is taken from the best of the plaques, though the knob-terminated horns are taken from the second plaque. In both, however the god Cocidius holds a shield in his left hand and a spear or staff in his right. The composite image represents what's been termed the 'horned warrior god of the north'. Similar images, though without accompanying dedications have been found at (Alauna) Maryport and Burgh by Sands and in Cumberland, as well as Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire and it may be that they represent the same deity.

The image on the right comes from an intaglio found at Risingham. This and the Housesteads inscription equate Cocidius with the Roman deity Silvanus. It would seem therefore that in the western part of his sphere of influenc he is seen as a warrior deity whilst in the eastern part he is equated with Silvanus and therefore seen as an arboreal deity, protector of both the hunter and the hunted. It should not be forgotten, though, that the horned himself is a hunter deity thus the horned Mars aspect of this god embodies both military and hunter aspects. The greatest concentration of inscriptions seem to derive from the area of the Irthing Valley. It is tempting to conclude that the fanum (shrine) of Cocidius, mentioned as the Fanocodi in the seventh century Ravenna Cosmography (a compilation of all known towns in the Roman Empire) , which occurs between MAIA (Bowness on Solway, Cumbria) and BROCAVVM (Brougham, Cumbria) is in fact Bewcastle on the basis that out of the nine known Roman altars recovered from the site, six are dedicated to Cocidius.

The etymology of Cocidius is in doubt though some have postulated that the name derives from the root coch or red. However, the sound -ch- would normally be expected to produce the geminative -cc- in a name such as Cocidius giving us Coccidius instead. Despite this an interpretation of Cocidius as 'The Red One' does make some sense in terms of his being a warrior deity and the Irish deity Da Coca 'The Red God' may be equated with Cocidius. Other deities with containing the word 'red' in their names, such as the Gaulish Rudiobus are also equated with Roman Mars.

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This entry was posted on 13 December 2009 at Sunday, December 13, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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