Interesting Facts About Sulis Minerva By Brian Qi

Fact 1

Sulis, the great British Celtic healer Goddess, was originally a solar and fertility deity. Sulis’ shrine was located at Bath, England, where her power was strongest. Some scholars say she was a “Solar” divinity; her name is a derivative of the Celtic word “Sul” for “sun” and “eye,” and Suilead, meaning wisdom. She is also a Goddess of healing waters. Symbols on her shrine are antlers, which symbolize the sun’s rays, and eyes, which signify the sun. The Roman God Mars Loucetius (light) also was invoked at Sulis’ shrine. The Sun is associated with hot springs, connecting hot water with healing.

Fact 2

Perpetual fires burned at her shrines, which were natural mineral hot springs. The Romans called her “Minerva Medica” (healing). Statues show Minerva Medica as matronly, with a hat made out of a bear’s head, and her foot resting on an owl. She was also referred to as “Sulis Minerva” by the Romans. Minerva was a virgin warrior dedicated to women’s rights and freedom. The owl was her sacred bird, and healing and medicine were her themes.

Fact 3

Sulis is one of the few female goddesses to have been fully syncretised with a Roman goddess. Generally, the syncretisation process happens with Celtic male gods.

Fact 4

Lenus Mars was an example of females crossing over most often as merely the wife of a Roman God. In the Celtic pantheon, Lenus was a God of healing in the Celtic pantheon. He was merged with Mars despite the fact that the Roman god was considered as a war god. In the faith of Gallo Roman's, Lenus Mars became the healer of infected wounds, fighting outbreaks of diseases rather than war

Fact 5

Sulis is the exception to this rule; this is evidently displayed by the solid bronze head of a statue of Sulis Minerva remaking at the temple, erected to her at the bathing complex. Celts did not depict their gods or goddesses in human form, so the Roman's gave Sulis the same face as Minerva, blending their attributes so one became identified with the other at Aquae Sulis. Sulis became the goddess of wisdom for the Celtics, adopting one of Minerva's primary affiliations, just as the spring itself came to adopt Roman ideals by its expansive healing nature.

By Brian Qi

Created with images by Tim√ - "Gorgons Head"

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