Sirona

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In Celtic mythology, Sirona was a goddess worshipped predominantly in East Central Gaul and along the Danubian limes. A healing deity, she was associated with healing springs; her attributes were snakes and eggs. She was sometimes depicted with Apollo Grannus or Apollo Borvo. She was particularly worshipped by the Treveri in the Moselle Valley.

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Etymology of the name

The name of the goddess was written in various ways: Sirona, Đirona, Thirona [1], indicating some difficulty in capturing the initial sound in the Latin alphabet. The symbol Đ is used here to represent the Tau Gallicum, an additional letter used in Gaulish representing the cluster ts which was interchangeable with st- in word-initial position [2] [3] and it is not a form of the letter "D". The root is a long vowel Gaulish variant of proto-Celtic *ster- (*h2ster) meaning ‘star’[4]. The same root is found in Old Irish as ser, Welsh seren, Middle Cornish sterenn and Breton steren(n) [5]. The name Đirona consists of a long-vowel, o-grade stem tsīro- derived from the root *ster- and a -no- suffix forming adjectives of appurtenance in many Indo-European languages [6]. To this is suffixed the Gaulish feminine singular -a, the usual feminine variant of o-stem adjectives and nouns [7]. So *Tsīrona would seem to have meant ‘stellar’ or ‘astral’.

Evidence for Sirona

The evidence for Sirona is both epigraphic (inscriptions) and representational (sculptures and statues). As the map shows, it is primarily concentrated in east-central Gaul, up to the Germanic lines, and along the Danubian limes as far east as Budapest. A few outliers are seen in Aquitaine, Brittany, and one in Italy. There are no Sirona finds in Britannia, Hispania, or in any of the other Roman provinces.

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