Latobius

Etymology:

The most recent satisfactory etymology of Latobius comes from Wolfgang Meid, and his interpretation faces next to no criticism. Meid interprets the divine name in full as “He who strikes with fury”, from Celtic *lāto-biyos with a literal meaning closer to “in fighting fury”.[1][2] This interpretation is supported by de Bernardo Stempel in 2003[3], and again in 2005.[4]

Function:

It is possible that Latobius is the titular tribal god of the Latobici.[5] This, however, does not alter interpretation of His function much; it simply may help to frame it. De Bernardo Stempel calls Him a war god, specifically.[6] Šašel Kos assumes that his function was primarily related to welfare-bringing and to healing.[6] She also makes note that His sanctuaries were called navale in inscriptions. She elaborates that this may have meant a.) a kind of sun-boat, portraying Latobius as a solar-deity; b.) to stress the importance of water in the cult of Latobius; c.) that Latobius is related to ferrying the dead; or d.) that the word navale simply implied a “specially constructed (sacral) building”.[7] If one of these interpretations can be believed, then they all certainly can if one factors in the interpretation of Jack Lindsay, which places all of these functions firmly in the purview of Celtic tribal deities.[8]

In Practice:

In Bessus Noricon, Latobius will be a god similar to Belinos, of particualr interest to the Latobici. He will oversee elements of healing, the solar cult, the water cult, of a psychopomp, and of combat. In this interpretation, he will be of particular interest for Nertobessus Noricon or Norican athletic cult.

Interpretatio:

Latobius is almost universally equated with Mars.

Iconography:

In a reconstructed marble statue from the sanctuary at Sankt Margarethen, He is portrayed with a crested helmet, a spear, and a shield.[9]

Sources

  1. Mars Latobius by Wolfgang Meid, 1995, p. 126

  2. Keltische Religion im Zeugnis der Sprache by Wolfgang Meid, 2003, pp. 21 & 38

  3. Die sprachliche Analyse keltischer Theonyme by Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, 2003, p. 44

  4. Die in Noricum belegten Gottheiten by Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, 2005, p. 22

  5. Pre-Roman Divinities of the Eastern Alps and Adriatic by Marjeta Šašel Kos, 1999, p. 29

  6. Die in Noricum belegten Gottheiten by Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, 2005, p. 22

  7. Pre-Roman Divinities of the Eastern Alps and Adriatic by Marjeta Šašel Kos, 1999, pp. 28-29

  8. Camulos and Belenos by Jack Lindsay, 1961, in Latomus, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 731–743

  9. Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani Virunum 20