VI) Mother-Goddesses with Roman epithets

It has been observed that the epithets of the Matres and Matronae were mainly of Celtic and Germanic origin. Nonetheless, their generic name is sometimes associated with Roman epithets or goddess names in the inscriptions. This phenomenon reflects the process of interpretatio Romana, which consisted in attributing Roman epithets or divine names to gods who did not belong to the Roman pantheon and juxtaposing their names in the dedications. The Matres and Matronae are associated with six different Roman goddess names or epithets in the inscriptions from Gaul and Britain: the Junones, who were protectresses of childbirth and women; the Parcae or Fatae, who symbolized destiny; the Nymphs, who were personifications of natural elements, and were more particularly linked to healing springs in Gaul; the Proxsumae, who were protective goddesses probably possessing similar functions to the Domesticae, an epithet pertaining to the protection of the household; and the Campestres, who were related to the battlefield and the protection of the cavalry. The Celtic (Matres) Suleviae, honoured in twenty different inscriptions from the Continent and Britain, are a good example of this epigraphic interpretatio Romana. They indeed bear the epithet Domesticae in a dedication from Cologne (Germany),436 the epithet Junones in Marquis, near Calais (Pas-de-Calais, France),437 and are associated with the Campestres in Rome (Italy).438 As will be demonstrated, the link between the Matres/Matronae and these Roman goddesses could be demonstrated because they had various attributes in common, such as fertility, motherhood, fate and protection in every aspect of life.


CIL XIII, 12056: Sule[v]is Domest[i]cis suis Fab[i] Ianarius [et] Bellator [et] Iullus l[l]m.


CIL XIII, 3561: Sulevis Iunonibus sacr(um) L(ucius) Cas(sius) Nigrin[.


CIL VI, 768: Sulevis et Campestribus Sacrum L Aurelius Quintus Leg VII Geminae votum solvit laetus libens dedicavit VIIII K septembre bradva et varo cos.