Moritasgus is a Celtic epithet for a healing god found in four inscriptions at Alesia. In two inscriptions, he is identified with the Greco-Roman god Apollo. His consort was the goddess Damona.
The name Moritasgus, shared by a 1st-century BC ruler of the Senones, has been analyzed variously. It probably means "Great Badger" or "Sea Badger." The European badger produced a secretion used in Gaulish medicaments, hence a possible connection with a healing god.
Alesia was an oppidum of the Celtic Mandubii in present-day Burgundy. A dedication to the gods alludes to the presence of a shrine at the curative spring, where sick pilgrims could bathe in a sacred pool. The sanctuary itself, located near the eastern gate of the town just outside the city wall, was impressive, with baths and a temple. In addition, there were porticoes, where the sick possibly slept, hoping for divine visions and cures.
Numerous votive objects were dedicated to Moritasgus. These were models of the pilgrims and the afflicted parts of their bodies: these included limbs, internal organs, genitals, breasts, and eyes. Surgeons' tools have also been found, suggesting that the priests also acted as surgeons.
- Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend. Miranda Green. Thames and Hudson Ltd. London. 1997.
- ^ Jacky Bénard et al., Les agglomérations antiques de Côte-d'Or (Annales Littéraires de l'Université de Besançon, 1994), p. 251 online.
- ^ CIL 13.11240 and 11241; Bernhard Maier, Dictionary of Celtic Religion and Culture (Alfred Kröner, 1994, 1997, translation Boydell & Brewer 1997), p. 198 online.
- ^ Julius Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico 5.54.
- ^ Gaulish mori "sea" + tasgos (also tascos or taxos), "badger". See Xavier Delamarre, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise (Éditions Errance, 2003), pp. 229, 292–293, and D. Ellis Evans, Gaulish personal names: a study of some Continental Celtic formations (University of Michigan Press, 1967), p. 103. For further discussion, see Tasgetius: Name and badger lore.
- ^ James Bromwich, The Roman Remains of Northern and Eastern France: A Guidebook (Routledge, 2003), pp. 49 and 133 online et passim.
- ^ See ex-voto and Milagro (votive) for analogous Christian practices.
- ^ The druids were the priesthood of the ancient Celts.