Cernunus with putti & serpents.
1st-3rd c Roman Gallo-Roman Sculpture
(active 1st c BCE - 4th c CE)
Vendoeuvres. Indres. France.
Bourges. Musée du Berry.
The Celts of France, who were known as the Gauls, were conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BCE. They created a mixed culture in France known as the Gallo-Roman. As a result of greater contact with the Roman tradition, the Celtic gods did not disappear. Some merged with their Roman counterparts, while others, like Cernunnos, might be portrayed in the Greco-Roman style, but maintained their own distinctive personalities. While Cernunnos is flanked by two children who resemble Roman putti, he is represented with the horns that identify him with the creatures and the power of the wild, as do the serpents which are shown below the children on either side of Cernunnos.
Snakes apparently played an important role in the rituals of the DRUID priests. These Celtic priests officiated in a religion that venerated all of nature, particularly the sun. The idea that the Druids had built Stonehenge has been rejected because the monument predates them, but the Druids may have practiced their rituals in that ancient place.
The Druids had magical powers and served as medicine men like the shamans from other parts of the world. They also wielded great political power. The Christian missionaries and the Druids fought bitterly over the introduction of Christianity to the Celts. In fact, the story of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland may refer to Christianity's triumph over the Druids.
GALLO-ROMAN | Cernunus with putti & serpents. | 1-300 | Gallo-Roman |