Taranis

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In Celtic mythology Taranis was the god of thunder worshipped essentially in Gaul, the British Isles , but also in the Rhineland and Danube regions amongst others, and mentioned, along with Esus and Toutatis as part of a sacred triad, by the Roman poet Lucan in his epic poem Pharsalia as a Celtic deity to whom human sacrificial offerings were made .[1] He was associated, as was the cyclops Brontes ("thunder") in Greek mythology, with the wheel.

Many representations of a bearded god with a thunderbolt in one hand and a wheel in the other have been recovered from Gaul, where this deity apparently came to be syncretised with Jupiter.[2]

The name as recorded by Lucan is unattested epigraphically, but variants of the name occur in inscriptions, including the forms Tanarus, Taranucno-, Taranuo-, and Taraino-.[3] [4] The name is continued in Irish as Tuireann. His name is likely connected with that of the Germanic god of thunder, Norse Thor (Anglo-Saxon ├×unor, German Donar), Tiermes of the Nordic Sami people,[5]

Taranis is likely associated with the Gallic Ambisagrus (likely from Proto-Celtic *ambi-sagros = "about-strength"), and in the interpretatio romana with Mars.[citation needed]

Contents

Etymology

The reconstructed Proto-Celtic form of the name is *Toranos "thunder".[6] In present day Welsh taranu and taran means 'to thunder' and 'thunder' (tarani├▒ and taran in Breton), and in present day Irish Tarann means 'thunder'.

Taranis, as a personification of thunder, is often identified with similar deities found in other Indo-European pantheons. Of these, Thor/Thunor and the Hittite god Tarhun (see also Teshub) contain a comparable *torun- element. The Thracian deity names Zbel-thurdos, Zbel-Thiurdos also contain this element (Thracian thurd(a), "push, crash down").

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