5) Sirona (‘the Heifer’ or ‘the Star’)

The goddess Sirona is known from thirty inscriptions discovered in Gaul (see below), Germany (Mainz, Alzey, Augsbourg, Gross-Bottwar, Ihn, Ihn-Niedaltorf, Mühlburg, S. Avaud and Baumburg),2146 Switzerland (Augst),2147 Italy (Rome),2148 Austria (Vienna),2149 and Romania (Bretea).2150 She is sometimes partnered with the Celtic god of healing springs Apollo Grannus, such as in Bitburg (Germany), in the territory of the Treveri; in Baumburg (Germany), in Noricum*; and in Rome (Italy).2151 His epithet is generally related to IE *gwher -, ‘warm’, ‘hot’ and attested as meaning ‘sun (god)’ or ‘(god of) thermal waters’,2152 but Lambert, Delamarre and Sergent consider this etymology* dubious and suggest rather that it should be linked to the Old Irish grend, ‘beard’ or ‘hair’ and the Old Welsh grann, ‘chin’, ‘beard’ or ‘hair’, derived from the IE root *ĝher(s)-, ‘to bristle’.2153 Grannus would thus be the ‘Bearded or Haired One’. Jürgen Zeidler, who has studied the various etymologies advanced for Grannus, concludes that the god is never represented with a beard in the iconography and that his name may be connected with IE *ĝher-, ‘shine’, ‘gleam’.2154 Sirona is also coupled with the Gallo-Roman Apollo, who usually replaced Celtic gods presiding over curative waters, such as in Großbootwar (Germany), Nierstein (Germany), Luxeuil (Haute-Saône), Mâlain (Côte d’Or) and Tranqueville-Graux (Vosges).2155 Finally, Sirona is sometimes honoured on her own, such as in Corseul (Côtes d’Armor), Bordeaux (Gironde), Sainte-Fontaine (Moselle), Trier, Mühlburg, Mainz and Wiesbaden (Germany). This proves that she was not a mere partner of Apollo (Grannus) and that she had her proper cult. The sites linked to the dedications tend to prove that she was mostly worshipped in relation to thermal waters, springs or fountains. A bronze group from Mâlain also represents her as Hygeia, the Roman goddess of health and medicine. A full study of the thirty inscriptions honouring her is beyond the scope of this research; thus only the epigraphic and iconographical devices from Gaul will be studied.


CIL XIII, 6753.; AE 1933, 140, 141 ; AE 1992, 1304 ; CIL XIII, 6458 ; AE 1994, 1256, 1257 ; CIL XIII, 4235c ; CIL XIII, 6327 ; CIL XIII, 4498 ; CIL III, 5588.


CIL XIII, 4129.


CIL VI, 36.


AE 1957, 114.


AE 1971, 376.


RDG, pp. 43-44 ; Lacroix, 2007, pp. 149-155 ; De Vries, 1963, pp. 82-83 ; Green, 1992a, p. 32. For the three inscriptions mentioned in the text, see CIL XIII, 4129 ; CIL III, 5588 ; CIL VI, 36.


Olmsted, 1994, p. 389 ; De Vries, 1963, pp. 82-83.


Lambert, 1995, p. 195 ; Delamarre, 2003, pp. 182-183 ; Sergent, 2000, p. 215.


Zeidler, 2003, pp. 77-92.


CIL XIII, 6458 ; CIL XIII, 6272 ; CIL XIII, 5424 ; CIL XIII, 4661.