Belenus

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In Celtic mythology, Belenus (also Belenos) was a deity worshipped in Gaul, Britain and Celtic areas of Austria and Spain. He was the Celtic sun god and had shrines from Aquileia on the Adriatic to Kirkby Lonsdale in England.[1][2]

The etymology of the name is unclear. Suggestions include "shining one,"[3] "the bright one"[4] and "henbane god".[5]

He may be the same deity as Belatu-Cadros.[citation needed] In the Roman period he was identified with Apollo.[1] There are currently 51 known inscriptions dedicated to Belenus, mainly concentrated in Aquileia and Cisalpine Gaul, but also extend into Gallia Narbonensis, Noricum, and far beyond.[4] Images of Belenus sometimes show him to be accompanied by a female, thought to be the Gaulish deity Belisama.[4]

In ancient Gaul and Britain, Apollo may have been equated with fifteen or more different Celtic names and epithets (notably Grannos, Borvo, Maponus, Moritasgus and others).[1]

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Other proposed identifications

The Welsh ancestor-deity Beli Mawr may be derived from Belenus, although his character and attributes are different.[citation needed] The Irish festival of Beltaine may also be connected, or may derive from the same Celtic root, *bel-, "shining".[citation needed] The Irish mythical figure Bile ("sacred tree") is sometimes linked with Belenus.[6]

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