Smertrios

Etymology:

De Bernardo Stempel, following Vendryes and Duval, gives the etymological form *smer-ter-yo-s, from the root *smer-, meaning something to the tune of “the idea of foresight and provision, the preparations that need to be made and the precautions that need to be taken, regarding destiny ordained by Providence.” From this, the full meaning of His name is interpreted as “the Predictor” or “the Provider”.[1]

Function:

It is worth being honest about the divided nature of interpretations of Smertrios. It even seems that, in this istance, scholars who usually agree see Smertrios quite differently. De Bernardo Stempel, whose etymology is used here, calls Him a “caring God”.[2] Ralph Haeussler, who collaborates with de Bernardo Stempel in several works related to F.E.R.C.A.N., relates Him to Herakles in multiple works.[3][4] Green does also mention this association with Herakles, but also goes on to draw connections between Him and Mars Lenus.[5] This association may make more sense in light of His association with Herakles, when understanding that Celtic deities conflated with Mars are not necessarily always ‘martial’ in nature, as skillfully shown by Selgowiros Caranticnos.[6] This association with the “hero cult” is reinforced again by Olmsted, whose thorough analysis of the Pillar of the Boatmen relates Smertrios to Cú Chulainn. Although Olmsted must certainly be taken with a grain of salt.[7] Šašel Kos says, “he would have been a god who warded off evil, or else a god who is a master of fate.”[8]

In Practice:

In light of these analyses, a larger picture of Smertrios seems to emerge. In Bessus Noricon, Smertrios is a hero-God. He is closely associated with protecting and providing for the people, as well as ensuring new heroes fulfill their destiny as ordained by providence. In this sense, Smertrios is probably more important that any other Norican deity in the Nertobessus Noricon.

Interpretatio:

Smertrios is interpreted epigraphically as Mars and by historians with Herakles.

Iconography:

Smertrios is depicted in the Pillar of the Boatmen with a beard and club in hand, wrestling a serpent.[9]

Sources

  1. Die in Noricum Belegten Gottheiten by Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, 2005, p. 21

  2. Die in Noricum Belegten Gottheiten by Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, 2005, p. 21

  3. Hero Cults between Iron Age and Principate by Ralph Haeussler, 2012, p. 257

  4. Interpretatio Indigena. Re-Inventing local cults in a global world by Ralph Haeussler, 2012, p. 148

  5. Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend by Miranda Green, 1997, p. 193

  6. Lenus by Selgowiros Caranticnos on Senobessus Bolgon

  7. The Gods of the Celts and the Indo-Europeans (Revised 2019) by Garrett Olmsted, 2019, p. 339-340

  8. Pre-Roman Divinities of the Eastern Alps and Adriatic by Marjeta Šašel Kos, 1999, p. 44

  9. The Gods of the Celts and the Indo-Europeans (Revised 2019) by Garrett Olmsted, 2019, p. 339-340