Rectifying a shocking omission

Screengrab of the new Epona page!

So I was up to my elbows working on another project concerning Epona, which I will blog about here in due course (probably on March 18), when I realized that on my own website,, the page on Epona remained unwritten. Now, I’m keenly aware that, all these years after I started the site, there are still significant gaps (particularly on the English side of the site—I’ve done a bit more on the French side). However, there really couldn’t be any justification in my not having a page for Epona, surely. Then I started to think about it, and I realized that I had said to myself early on, Epona is the deity for whom there’s the least urgency for me to create a page, because elsewhere on the interwebs, there is, and is fantastic.

Now, if you’ve never visited, giddy up and go do so, because the site’s creators—Nantonos Aedui and Ceffyl—did a thorough, visually appealing, and amply referenced job of it there. In fact, looking back, the major inspiration for me to create was how impressed I was with what Nantonos and Ceffyl achieved with This being the case, my 2009 self pretty much said, “What’s the point of having an Epona page on It would just say, ‘Go check out’.”

And thus began my reticence to work on a page that, eight and a half years later, remained conspicuous by its absence. At some time or other, I did start a skeleton page with a brief outline for eponae.html on my site (as I have for many of the others I haven’t gotten around to finishing yet). And this last week I finally decided I would get to work and flesh it all out and see if it amounted to anything.

I therefore unveil to the world the English version and the French version of my Epona pages. Some 25,000 4,500 words later, it turns out I had things to say. This is actually the longest page I’ve yet written for (apart from the imperial cult page which I ended up splitting into three)—but part of the reason is that, unusually, I dwell at some length on Irish and Welsh mythology because in Epona’s case, just as unusually, there are legit parallels with Macha and Rhiannon, respectively, that I think are worth exploring. In addition, there are more literary references to Epona than I at first knew about (Minucius Felix not being my bedside reading!), and I tried to say something about each such reference. By contrast, when putting together the page on Mercury or Juno, I would just highlight a small sample of literary or mythological incidents out of the many possible; for Rosmerta or the Suleviæ, there were simply no such literary references at all. To my surprise, I even found myself making some hay with the Fulvius Stellus fatherhood story that, in the form in which it has come down to us, is frankly absurd. I also rather enjoyed the opportunity, however gently, to satirize the satirist Juvenal.

Please let me know if you spot any glaring mistakes on the page, or mystifying gaps or whatever. I was going to draw in some of the toponomic evidence from Lacroix’s book, but it turns out I must have returned it to the library (grrr!) so I didn’t have it to hand. However, I don’t think there are a ton of place-names referring to Epona out there (though I suppose I won’t know until I check it out of the library again!).

PS: Might I just mention in passing how much I wish there were a good English equivalent of complémentarité? I had the use the most elaborate circumlocution to convey the idea.

PPS: No relevance to the above post at all, but fly, Eagles, fly! Seriously, flea-flicker to Foles for the touchdown? Brilliant stuff.

About DeoMercurio

I’m a Gaulish polytheist, now back living in lands ceded by the Council of Three Fires after several years’ sojourn in Anatolia and in the land of the Senecas, with frequent travels to Gaul along the way. My grandfather’s family came from the area around Trier, and I identify closely with the Treveri in my religious practice.
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8 Responses to Rectifying a shocking omission

  1. Exciting! Can’t wait to delve further into your new page! Epona is one of my favorite Gaulish Goddesses, and She doesn’t get enough attention on December 18th as She should, in my very jaded and biased opinion. 😉

    (You’ve got me beat…the longest blog posts I ever did were in the neighborhood of 10-14,000 words…!?!)

  2. BTW: any chance you might want to write some piece for the next issue of Walking the Worlds, which is going to have the theme of “Miscellany,” and thus can accommodate nearly anything having to do with any form of polytheism? (Please say “yes”!)

    • DeoMercurio says:

      Oho! Well I guess I could (thank you for asking!). When you say “anything”, what sort of anything would you have in mind? Also, it’s peer reviewed, isn’t it?

      • Anything that is more than just a bloggish rant or thought-piece; something with substance, and preferably something with footnotes/references/a bibliography, in a more formal style. (While almost the entire editorial board is professional academics, we do understand that this is not necessarily for an academic audience, and appreciate erudition when tempered with accessibility very much indeed!) So, yeah, anything you might like to contribute would be great…

        I’m kind of wracking my brain at the moment attempting to figure out what I might contribute (if anything)…nothing like an open topic to throw one into a tizzy! Now I know how my students feel…!?! 😉

  3. So, a few further thoughts on reading your page (which is excellent!):

    1. With the Epona and Isis implied syncretism in Apuleius, I wonder if another Goddess might emerge in that syncretistic context that could explain some of that: namely, Demeter. If we take the “Mystery” aspects of Demeter and transfer them to Isis, and the idea of Demeter (if I remember correctly) who was attested in Arcadia as having been raped by Poseidon while She was in horse-form, and gave birth to the horse Areion as well as a daughter, Despoina. Hmm…

    2. What would you make of Roéch (genitive Roích), the mother of Fergus and Sualtaim? Her name appears to mean “super-horse,” and both of her attested sons likewise have horse associations in their attested narratives. (This is something I’ll be elaborating upon in one of my upcoming academic articles, which disputes the Giraldus information by providing a more direct parallel to the Asvamedha which does not require any gender-changing on the part of the horses involved, and matches far more details to the Indian ritual than Giraldus’ account ever could…! Happy to discuss this further in private e-mail if you are interested!)

    • DeoMercurio says:

      Exciting! Answered via email. However, I also wanted to point out that, being apparently incapable of reading, I mistook the word count, 10,000 referring instead to characters (hehe!). I’m going to correct this in the blog post.

  4. I have been very busy, so my apologies for not writing back to your e-mail meanwhile…

    But, I had to share this with you!

    After a near-total-loss of sleep last night, I tried to sleep for another hour before getting up to do everything today. I did sleep, and had a dream, and woke up before my alarm. In that dream, I wrote a limerick–the second time I’ve done such a thing–and remembered it pretty well when I woke up. Here it is, and you’ll know why I’m sharing it here…! 🙂

    An old Abbot of Verona
    had learned how to mount Epona;
    with a shout of glee
    and mane, flying free,
    was cursed to turn all to stone-a.

    [Yes, I think that final line’s rhyme was pinched from Steve Martin’s “King Tut,” for good or ill!]

    It may not be feckin’ Shakespeare, but hey–even in the dream, when someone I know who is also a poet was objecting to me writing a limerick, I said it is good practice to see if one can do it periodically and without any preparation to see if one’s skills with rhyme, meter, and vocabulary/grammar selection are still sound…and if I can do that in my sleep with so little sleep, there’s hope for today turning out better than I had hoped! 😉

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