Fontes Epigraphici Religionum Celticarum Antiquarum

Celtic Wheel-God from Gerling, Upper Austria (© Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum, photo: M. Hainzmann)

Ancient inscriptions containing names of gods and religious terms on monuments and small finds are of outstanding importance for knowledge of Celtic religion in its various forms. Equally revealing are the evidence of votive offerings, the groups of dedicators and their motives. So far, these sources have never been systematically documented and analysed; a research gap shall be closed through the F.E.R.C.AN. Project of the Austrian Academy of Sciences launched in 1998.

The aim of this major international project is the complete documentation, new edition and analysis of Greek, Latin and Celtic written records of religious content. As part of the edition, archaeological and historical findings, as well as linguistic-philological and religious studies, will be taken into account. For this reason, an interdisciplinary research advisory committee was established to support the epigraphic research.

Preliminary results of the F.E.R.C.AN. Project, which collaborated with the project studying ancient literary sources for the religion of the Celts’ supervised by Gerhard Dobesch (“Die antiken literarischen Quellen zur Religion der Kelten”):

1. A more sophisticated view of all the elements contained in the votive formulae (strings containing names and attributes of the deities).

2. A clarification of terminology and a formal transcription of the relevant facts.

3. The distinction between theonyms, epithets used as such, epithets that have become independent from the actual theonyms they referred to and further, rather classificatory elements.

4. The identification of several layers of theonyms.

5. The realization that divine names may vary according to number and gender.

6. The detection of theonymical synonyms, which, among other things, has led to a more nuanced view of the so-called interpretatio Romana.

The main goal of the project is the edition of the CORPUS-F.E.R.C.AN. It is intended to present a monograph comprising the epigraphic testimonies together with their translations and a commentary and an analysis of the deities in their linguistic and ritual context for every major find area. The following volumes are planned within the new publication series of the Austrian Academy of Sciences: Alpine provinces, Asia et Africa, Britannia, Dacia, Tres Galliae and Narbonensis, Germaniae, Hispaniae, Italia, Noricum, Pannonia, Raetia, Roma, as well as a separate volume on ancient Celtic religious inscriptions. Supplementary volumes with comprehensive analyses will follow. In the final phase of the project it will be possible to compile a comprehensive dictionary of ancient religious terms and divine names based on the respective analyses of the ‘numina’. A number of publications have been already produced as the result of the regularly scheduled F.E.R.C.AN. workshops, in which various data and methodological issues are discussed.

Proceedings of the F.E.R.C.AN. workshops

• J. Gorrochategui & P. De Bernardo Stempel (Hrsg.), Die Kelten und ihre Religion im Spiegel der epigraphischen Quellen. Akten des 3. F.E.R.C.AN.-Workshops / Los Celtas y su religión a través de la epigrafia (Actas del III Workshop F.E.R.C.AN., Vitoria-Gasteiz, 24–28 setiembre de 2000); Vitoria: Universidad del País Vasco 2004 (Anejos de Veleia, Series maior 11) Info

• W. Spickermann & R. Wiegels (Hrsg.), Keltische Götter im Römischen Reich. Akten des 4. Internationalen F.E.R.C.AN.-Workshops in Osnabrück vom 4.–6. Oktober 2002; Möhnesee: Bibliopolis 2005 (Osnabrücker Forschungen zu Altertum und Antike-Rezeption 9) Info

• M. Hainzmann (Hrsg.), Auf den Spuren keltischer Götterverehrung. Akten des 5. F.E.R.C.AN.-Workshop, Graz 9.–12. Oktober 2003; Wien: Verlag ÖAW 2007 (Mitteilungen der Prähistorischen Kommission 64) Info

• R. Haeussler & T. King (Hrsg.), Continuity and Innovation in Religion in the Roman West, Volume 1: Proceedings of the 6th International F.E.R.C.AN. Workshop (London, April 2004); Portsmouth 2007/2008 (Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 67). Info

• J. d’Encarnação (Hrsg.), Divindades indígenas em análise. Divinités pré-romaines – bilan et perspectives d’une recherche. Actas do VII workshop F.E.R.C.AN. (Cascais, 25–27.05.2006); Coimbra – Porto: Centro de Estudos Arqueológicos das Universidades de Coimbra e Porto 2008 Info

• A. Sartori (Hrsg.), Dedicanti e cultores nelle religioni celtiche, VIII Workshop F.E.R.C.AN. Gargnano di Garda (9–12 maggio 2007); Milano: Cisalpino 2008 (Quaderni di Acme 104) Info

• J. Arenas Esteban (Hrsg.), Celtic Religion across Space and Time: fontes epigraphici religionum celticarum antiquarum (IX Workshop F.E.R.C.AN. 17–20 de septiembre 2008); Molina de Aragón: Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha 2010 Info

• A. Hofeneder & P. de Bernardo Stempel (Hrsg), Théonymie celtique, cultes, interpretatio / Keltische Theonymie, Kulte, interpretatio. X. Workshop F.E.R.C.AN., Paris 24.–26. Mai 2010; Wien: Verlag der Österrechischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 2013 (Mitteilungen der Prähistorischen Kommission 79) Info

• W. Spickermann (Hrsg.), Keltische Götternamen als individuelle Option? Celtic Theonyms as an Individual Option? Akten des 11. Internationalen Workshops “Fontes Epigraphici Religionum Celticarum Antiquarum” vom 19.–21. Mai 2011 an der Universität Erfurt; Rahden: Marie Leidorf GmbH 2013 (Osnabrücker Forschungen zu Altertum und Antike-Rezeption Bd. 19) Info

• P. de Bernardo Stempel & M. Hainzmann (Hrsg.), Graekorömische und keltorömische Theonymik und Religion. XII. Workshop F.E.R.C.AN (Berlin 29.8.2012); Wien: Verlag ÖAW 2014 (Geistes, sozial- und kulturwissenschaftlicher Anzeiger 148) Info