Other Iberian gods

There are many more Iberian deities, but they appear to have been less popular, the information on them is even scarcer or they’ve only been analysed very briefly by modern scholars. There’s therefore very little to say about them. However, because the religions of pre-Christian Iberians weren’t restricted to a few greater deities, I constructed the following list to provide for a wider view of the local or regional pantheons and even if it’s only a sample of other gods and goddesses.

Aerno
This theonym is recorded on three votive inscriptions – two from Castro de Avelãs and one from Macedo de Cavaleiros – from the Portuguese district of Braganza, plus a fourth from the Galician region of Pontevedra (Blázquez Martínez 2010: 517). Leite de Vasconcelos admitted he had no way of uncovering this god’s nature, claiming the etymological analysis was difficult (1905: 340). Others, however, had less trouble with it and already in the 19th century there were suggestions that the theonym derived from air- (in movement, go) or air+ro (to take, choose) (Encarnação 2015: 81). Other possibilities included an aquatic nature, a patron god of the Zoelas – an ethnic group that inhabited the region – and also a vegetation deity. The latter was seen as valid by José d’ Encarnação considering, on one hand, a comparison with the Greek érnos (branches, plant, sprout) and, on the other, the iconographic elements on one of the altars, where what seems to be pine trees are depicted (Encarnação 2015: 81-5). Prósper proposed instead a connection to the concept of day, though she was unsure if in reference to the sun, the morning star or the sky itself (Blázquez Martínez 2006: 223). It has also been suggested that he could have been the tutelary god of a settlement (Olivares Pedreño 2002: 103.2).

As for the notion that Aerno was a god of winds, which circulates widely on the internet, I know of no study that suggests it, leading me to believe that it’s no more than a baseless idea that became popular simply because it’s been reproduced instantly and acritically online.

Andaieco
A theonym (or epithet?) known from a single altar found in Castelo de Vide, in the Portuguese district of Portalegre, and whose text suggests an oracular nature. Etymological proposals include *andh- (to flourish) or *andhos (flower) and Prósper’s hypothesis of an origin in a place or river name (Monteiro Teixeira 2014: 74-5).

Bormanico
Theonym (or epithet?) found on two altars from Caldas de Vizela. Already in the 19th century people noted the similarity to Bormanus, Bormo and Borvo (Encarnação 2015: 145), names of one or more Celtic gods of hot springs whose etymology is probably linked to the notion of bubbling water and were identified with Apollo or Hercules (Adkins 2000: 33). Thus, Leite de Vasconcelos presented him as a patron deity of the hot springs of Vizela (1905: 275) and Olivares Pedreño derived the named from borm- (to bubble), though he lists it as an epithet and not a theonym (2002: 78.1 and 138).

Broeneia
Goddess known only from the inscription from Arronches, in the Portuguese district of Portalegre, which says she received a sacrifice of ten sheep (Encarnação et al. 2008: 99). The etymology is unclear and initially there were suggestions that the root br- might be connected to the modern Portuguese broa (corn bread), placing under her influence the realms of bread, fermentation and fertility (Encarnação et al. 2008: 93). However, Prósper and Villar suggested the notions of boiling or bubbling, meaning Broeneia would be an aquatic goddess, or alternatively and as put forward by Prósper as well, a deity of storms through the hypothesis *bhroi-no or “rain” (Monteiro Teixeira 2014: 80). Finally, Cardim Ribeiro suggested a warrior function, even a virgin of bellic qualities, based on the Gaulish *brunia/bronia (chest) or the Old Irish bruinne (chest, breast) (2010: 48).

Caerno
Deity known thanks to two or perhaps three altars from Arraiolos, in the Portuguese district of Évora, where it features with the epithet Calantice(n)si. It may have been a god of boulders or cairns from the city or region of Calantica (Blázquez Martínez 2006: 214), a suggestion that was deepened by José d’ Encarnação via a possible etymology in the Greek kárneios (2015: 155-6). Caerno would thus be a god of flocks and shepherds, though Prósper preferred a connection to *kel(H) (to protect, hide), linking it with the notion of shelters, whereas Búa suggested *kar-no- (pile, rock, pile of rocks) (Monteiro Teixeira 2014: 81).

These various hypotheses are not irreconcilable, since the practice of erecting cairns and seeking shelter in boulders or caves would have been part of the daily life of shepherds.

Crouga
This theonym is known with various spellings, namely Crougiai, Corougia, Crougae and perhaps Crugia (Blázquez Martínez 2006: 215), adding to a votive inscription that is not accepted by all scholars and where one can read Crougin (Olivares Pedreño 2002: 94.2). The pieces were found in several locations, from the Portuguese districts of Viseu and Braga to the Galician region of Ourense, and they include epithets that have been read differently, from originally placenames (like Toudadigoe and Nilaigui) to functional concepts (Vesuco, perharps “to flow”) (Blázquez Martínez 2006: 215). But etymological proposals regarding the theonym itself tend to focus on the idea of rocks, boulders, cairns or cliffs (Salinas de Frias 2010: 622; Blázquez Martinez 214-5), including a connection to the Irish cruach (mountain, hill) or Welsh crug (grave, mound) (Olivares Pedreño 2002: 94.2). However, it is unclear if that makes Crouga a god of shepherds, rocky hills or even a chthonic, if not infernal deity.

Durbedico
Theonym (or epithet?) known only from one altar found in Ronfe, in the Portuguese municipality of Guimarães. In the 19th century, it was proposed he was an aquatic god based on the theory that the name meant “dripper”, though there were also suggestions that it was linked to the Irish derb- (right, true) (Encarnação 2015: 177). But the watery possibility became extremely popular, especially thanks to Leite de Vasconcelos, who popularized the notion that the theonym comes from durb-, which he read as “water”, making Durbedico a god of a local fountain or the river Ave (1905: 330-1). From that point on, the interpretation of him as “the god who drips” never went way and is now repeated online ad nauseam. And that’s despite the fact that several scholars have pointed out that in the same region where the altar was found there’s record of a castellum Durbede (Olivares Pedreño 2002: 801.), suggesting he may actually have been either the local god of a fortified area or just an epithet derived from a placename (Villar 2010: 175).

Erbina
Goddess known from three altars found in the Portuguese inner Beira and the Spanish province of Caceres, the latter with the variant spelling of Aerbina. The epithets Iaidi and Iaeda Cantibidone appear to link her with the area of Idanha (Portugal), though perhaps not exclusively given the trace of her cult in modern-day Spain (Alarcão 2001: 317). Still, the title Cantibidone has been interpreted as meaning “limit” or “edge”, which may indicate a deity of borders (Alarcão 2001: 318), at least in the form signalled by that epithet. Prósper suggested instead “quarry”, “rocky region” or “rocky valley”, proposing an etymological connection to *ardûus (high place, elevated, heights, cliffs). Another possibility says she was the goddess of the crossing of the river Erges (Freitas Ferreira 2012: 65-6).

Frovida
Deity known only from one altar found in Braga and which alludes to a vision from a worshipper. It’s been speculated she may have been a goddess of local streams (Encarnação 2015: 185-6).

Iccona
Deity(?) mentioned only in the inscription from Cabeço de Fráguas. There are various theories regarding it, starting with one that doubts whether it’s a theonym at all, arguing that the text mentions just two deities – Reve and Trebaruna (Olivares Pedreño 2002: 32.1 and 246.1). This was rejected by Prósper, who proposed that Iccona is an Iberian version of Epona (1999: 154-6 and 170-2) and even though that theory can also be problematic (Freitas Ferreira 2012: 51). There’s a further hypothesis that derives the theonym from *yek, related to the Irish hicc (healing) and the Welsh iach (healthy), which was proposed by António Tovar (1985: 241), who agreed with Fernando Patrício Curado (Freitas Ferreira 2012: 51).

Laneana
Goddess known from two votive pieces, one found in the Portuguese municipality of Sabugal and another in the Spanish province of Caceres. In both cases, the inscription was carved on a granite boulder near a placename that alludes to a fountain, perhaps suggesting something on her nature (Olivares Pedreño 2002: 31.2 e 36.2).

Munis or Munidia
Goddess whose exact name is not entirely clear, but which is found in four inscriptions (Monteiro Teixeira 2014: 84), one of them carved on a granite boulder in Celorico da Beira (Olivares Pedreño 2002: 31.2). The theonym may derive from *men- or *mon- (head, hill), which would make her a goddess of high ground (Alarcão 2009: 117). Alternatively, it may have something to do with the Latin moneo and as such with the notions of “warning” or “adverting” (Monteiro Teixeira 2014: 84). Villar, however, sees her as a watery deity, perhaps even a nymph, though Freitas Ferreira points out that not all of the traces of her cult were found on high ground or near rivers (2012: 82). Another possibility is that she was a patron goddess (Monteiro Teixeira 2014: 84), though it’s unclear of what, and some have even proposed that the theonym was actually a common word for nymph or juno (Alarcão 2001: 317). Olivares Pedreño thinks she may have been coupled with Bandua, since that, in the region where she was worshipped, people also honoured Trebaruna (perhaps paired with Reve) and Arentia (paired with Arentio), leaving Bandua as the sole regional god without a known partner (2002: 246.2).

Ocrimira
Theonym known from an altar discovered in Salvador de Aramenha, in the Portuguese municipality of Marvão. Etymological proposals range from the Celtic ocri- or “cold”, meaning she could have been the goddess of a cold stream, to Prósper’s suggestion of a connection to the placename Mira (Monteiro Teixeira 2014: 49).

Trebopala
Theonym (?) known only from the inscription from Cabeço de Fráguas, for which some have raised doubts on the divine status of Iccona (Olivares Pedreño 2002: 32.1 e 246.1). António Tovar read the name as a combination of tre- and -pala, the former meaning “house” or “village” and the latter “stone”, “rock” or even “tombstone”, arguing she was a goddess of the boulder that guards, protects or preserves the village (1985: 235-7). Daniele Maggi saw something similar through a comparison with the Vedic Vispálà and a connection to the Latin pales, which was equally suggested by Fernando Patricio Curado, for whom Trebapola was a protectress of flocks, shepherds, fields and fertility (Freitas Ferreira 2012: 59). Prósper, however, read the theonym as meaning “village puddle” (1999: 160), as did Francisco Villar, who saw -pal as a reference to a puddle or murky waters and thus linked Trebopala to the sustenance of cattle (Freitas Ferreira 2012: 60).

Works cited
ALARCÃO, Jorge de. 2009. “A religião de lusitanos e calaicos”, in Conimbriga, volume 48. Coimbra: Universidade de Coimbra, pages 81-121.

________. 2001. “Novas perspectivas sobre os Lusitanos (e outros mundos)”, in Revista Portuguesa de Arqueologia, volume 4, numver 2. Lisboa: Instituto Português de Arqueologia, pagess 293-349.

BLÁZQUEZ MARTÍNEZ, José María. 2010. “Teónimos hispanos. Addenda y corrigenda VII”, in Palaeohispanica, volume 10. Zaragoça: Institución «Fernando el Católico», pages 503-523.

________. 2006. “Últimas aportaciones a las religiones de Hispania. Teónimos II”, in Ilu: Revista de Ciencias de las Religiones, number 11. Madrid: Universidad Complutense, pages 205-235.

CARDIM RIBEIRO, José. 2010. “Algumas considerações sobre a inscrição em “Lusitano” descoberta em Arronches”, in Palaeohispanica, volume 10. Zaragoça: Institución «Fernando el Católico», pages 41-62.

ENCARNAÇÃO, José d’. 2015. Divindades indígenas sob o domínio romano em Portugal. Coimbra: Universidade de Coimbra.

________; OLIVEIRA, Jorge de; CARNEIRO, André; TEIXEIRA, Claúdia. 2008. “Inscrição votiva em língua lusitana (Arronches, Portalegre)”, in Conimbriga, volume 47. Coimbra: Universidade de Coimbra, pages 85-102.

FREITAS FERREIRA, Daniela Filipa de. 2012. Memória coletiva e formas representativas do (espaço) religioso. Master’s Dissertation in Archaeology, Porto: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto.

MONTEIRO TEIXEIRA, Sílvia. 2014. Cultos e cultuantes no Sul do território actualmente português em época romana (sécs. I a. C. – III d. C.). Master’s Dissertation in Archaeology, Lisboa: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa.

OLIVARES PEDREÑO, Juan Carlos. 2002. Los Dioses de la Hispania Céltica. Madrid: Real Academia de Historia; Universidad de Alicante.

PRÓSPER, Blanca María. 1999. “The inscription of Cabeço de Fráguas resited. Lusitanian and alteuropäisch populations in the west of the Iberian Peninsula”, in Transactions of the Philological Society, volume 97:2. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, pages 151-183.

TOVAR, António. 1985. “La inscripción del Cabeço das Fráguas y la lengua de los Lusitanos”, in Actas del III Coloquio sobre Lenguas y culturas paleohispánicas, ed. J. de Hoz. Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca, pages 227-253.

SALINAS DE FRIAS, Manuel. 2010. “Sobre algunas especies animales en el contexto de las religiones prerromanas de Hispania”, in Palaeohispanica, volume 10. Zaragoça: Institución «Fernando el Católico», pages 611-628.

VILLAR, Francisco. 2010. “Durbede, Deo Durbedico y el sufijo -éto”, in Palaeohispanica, volume 10. Zaragoça: Institución «Fernando el Católico», pages 173-184.

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