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Smertrius


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Latin title rather than name for a Gaulish divinity sometimes linked to both Hercules and Mars, for whom Smertrius is an occasional epithet. Representations of the god were found in 1711 under Notre-Dame cathedral, along with figures of Esus, Cernunnos, and Tarvos trigaranus; here he is a muscular god confronting a rearing snake while brandishing a club or firebrand. Near Trier, Germany, an enormous enclosure around a sacred spring provides him with the cult-partner Ancamna; coins at the site imply it was in use before the Roman conquest. The word Smertrius is philologically related to Rosmerta. A tribe known as the Smertae inhabited the northernmost Highlands of Scotland, in what used to be Sutherlandshire. See E. M. Wightman, Roman Trier and the Treveri (London, 1970), 223–4.

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