3) Some Celtic dedicators

With regards to the dedicators honouring the Mothers in Gaul, many of these have Latin names, but it is noteworthy that some have typical Celtic names. This can be considered evidence that people of Celtic stock still payed homage to their deities in Gallo-Roman times. In four different inscriptions, individuals called Casuna, Mastonia, Sappiena and Oxia,167 respectively pay their vow to the ‘Mothers’, in Brienne, near Brignon (Gard), in Lyons (Rhône) and in Besançon (Doubs): Casuna v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito) Mat(ribus), ‘Casuna paid her vow willingly and deservedly, to the Mothers’;168 Matris aug(ustis) Mastonia Bella v.s.l.m., ‘To the August Mothers, Mastonia Bella paid her vow willingly and deservedly’;169 Sappiena Lychnis matris v.s.l.m., ‘To the Mothers Sappiena Lychnis paid her vow willingly and deservedly’ ;170 Matrabus sacrum, Oxia Messori filia v.s.l.m., ‘Sacred to the Mothers, Oxia daughter of Messorus paid her vow willingly and deservedly’.171

Similarly, in the inscriptions from Vaison-la-Romaine (Vaucluse) and Sahune (Drôme), the names of the dedicators’ fathers, Vassedo and Solimutus, are Gaulish: Matribus Adcultus, Vassedonis f(ilius) v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito), ‘To the Mothers, Adcultus, son of Vassedo, paid his vow willingly and deservedly’ and Ingenua Solimuti (filia) Matris v.s.l.m., ‘Ingenua, daughter of Solimutus, paid her vow willingly and deservedly to the Mothers’.172 It is interesting to note that women’s names stand out in the dedications to the Mothers, for it illustrates their close connection to these deities. The Mothers must have helped and protected the dedicators in their everyday lives.


Delamarre, 2007, pp. 60, 215: Casuna is based on the Celtic root casu-, the significance of which is unknown; pp. 127, 226: Mastonia is derived from massa-, mast-, the significance of which is unknown. Delamarre, 2007, p.160 and Delamarre, 2003, pp. 267-268: Sappiena from sap- ‘fir tree’, cf. the ancient name of Savoy, which is Sap-audia, meaning ‘the country of the fir trees’. Delamarre, 2007, pp. 147, 229: his analysis of Oxia, derived from oxi-, oxso(n)-, ‘ox, cow’ is doubtful. It must come from *ouxi, ‘above, superior’.


CIL XII, 2915.


CIL XIII, 1760.


CIL XIII, 1763.


CIL XIII, 5370.


CIL XII, 1304, 1310 ; Delamarre, 2007, pp. 190, 235 (Vassedo, ‘Servant’ or ‘Submitted’). Delamarre’s analysis of Solimutus as meaning ‘Sight’ is doubtful, 2007, pp. 170, 227 ; Delamarre, 2003, pp. 287, 307. Sahune is situated between Nyons and Remuzat, about 30 kilometres from Vaison.