Brogdos

Etymology:

Brogdos has the esteemed honor of being the only Celtic deity attested in an actual Celtic inscription within Noricum, from a funerary vase inscribed with “ARTEBUDZ BROGDUI”. His name is interpreted as coming from celtic *brog(i)-[1], meaning ‘territory, region, frontier, border’.[2]

Function:

Brogdos’ role has been interpreted, first and foremost, as that of a liminal deity and a psychopomp. Based on His invocation on a funerary vase, He is closely associated with borders, guarding the boundary between the mortal world and the underworld, and the protection of property when entering the next life.[3][4]

In Practice:

On-top of his psychopomp nature, it is possible to see a more nuanced role for Brogdos by comparing Him with other psychopomp-liminal deities. By taking into account the importance of trade/travel within Noricum[5], it is likely that Brogdos also served as the protector of trade, travel, merchants, as well as the crossing of borders, despite their nature.

Interpretatio:

Mercury/Hermes

Iconography:

Finding iconography for Brogdos will be more of a guessing-game than anything, as He is attested in a single inscription without image. The best that can be done, in this case, is to find symbolism related to other liminal-psychopomp deities, like Mercury or Hermes. These include: the Caduceus (or simply dual snakes), the winged helmet, the tortoise, and the rooster.[6][7]

Sources

  1. Ein romerzeitliches Keramikgefäß aus Ptuj (Pettau, Poetovio) in Slowenien mit Inschrift in unbekanntem Alphabet und epichorischer (vermutlich keltischer) Sprache by Heiner EICHNER, Janka ISTENIČ und Milan LOVENJAK, 1994, p. 137

  2. Dictionnaire de la Langue Gauloise by Xavier Delamarre, 2003, p. 91

  3. Ein romerzeitliches Keramikgefäß aus Ptuj (Pettau, Poetovio) in Slowenien mit Inschrift in unbekanntem Alphabet und epichorischer (vermutlich keltischer) Sprache by Heiner EICHNER, Janka ISTENIČ und Milan LOVENJAK, 1994, p. 137

  4. Graffiti on Cermaic Vessels from the Western Cemetary at Poetovio by Mariana Egri, 2007, p. 45

  5. Noricum by Géza Alföldy, 1974, pp. 43-44

  6. Mercury (mythology) on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia by Wikipedia contributors, 2019, available online here

  7. Hermes on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia by Wikipedia contributors, 2019, available online here