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Belisama

Belisama

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In Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism
Celtic polytheism, commonly known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age peoples of Western Europe now known as the Celts, roughly between 500 BCE and 500 CE, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, and in the case of the Insular Celts...

, Belisama or (Bēlēsama) was a goddess
Goddess
A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

 worshipped in Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 and Britain. She was connected with lakes and rivers, fire, crafts and light. Belisama was identified with Minerva
Minerva
Minerva was the Roman goddess whom Romans from the 2nd century BC onwards equated with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic...

/Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

 and has been compared with Brigid
Brigid
In Irish mythology, Brigit or Brighid was the daughter of the Dagda and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She was the wife of Bres of the Fomorians, with whom she had a son, Ruadán....

. She has been claimed to be the consort of Belenus
Belenus
In Celtic mythology, Bel, Belenos was a deity worshipped in Gaul, Cisalpine Gaul, and Celtic areas of Austria, Britain and Spain. He is particularly associated with Cornwall, West Cornwall being anciently called Belerion, the place of Bel...

, with whom she shared certain attributes. Her name has been interpreted to mean "summer bright".


A Gaulish
Gaulish language
The Gaulish language is an extinct Celtic language that was spoken by the Gauls, a people who inhabited the region known as Gaul from the Iron Age through the Roman period...

 inscription found at Vaison-la-Romaine
Vaison-la-Romaine
Vaison-la-Romaine is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France....

 in Provence
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur or PACA is one of the 27 regions of France.It is made up of:* the former French province of Provence* the former papal territory of Avignon, known as Comtat Venaissin...

 shows that a nemeton
Nemeton
A nemeton was a sacred space of ancient Celtic religion. Nemeta appear to have been primarily situated in natural areas, and, as they often utilized trees, they are often interpreted as sacred groves. However, other evidence suggests that the word implied a wider variety of ritual spaces, such as...

was dedicated to her:
Segomaros Ouilloneos tooutious Namausatis eiōrou Bēlēsami sosin nemēton
"Segomarus Uilloneos, citizen [toutius] of Namausus
Nîmes
Nîmes is the capital of the Gard department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. Nîmes has a rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is a popular tourist destination.-History:...

, dedicated this sanctuary [nemeton
Nemeton
A nemeton was a sacred space of ancient Celtic religion. Nemeta appear to have been primarily situated in natural areas, and, as they often utilized trees, they are often interpreted as sacred groves. However, other evidence suggests that the word implied a wider variety of ritual spaces, such as...

] to Belesama"


A Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 inscription from Saint-Lizier
Saint-Lizier
Saint-Lizier is a commune in the Ariège department in southwestern France.-History:Saint-Lizier has a rich history stretching back to pre Gallo-Roman times. In 72 BC, Pompey, returning from his triumphs in Spain against Sertorius, stopped here. He gathered together the ancient tribes of the area...

, Aquitania
Aquitania
Aquitania may refer to:* the territory of the Aquitani, a people living in Roman times in what is now Aquitaine, France* Aquitaine, a region of France roughly between the Pyrenees, the Atlantic ocean and the Garonne, also a former kingdom and duchy...

 (in antiquity, Consoranni) associates her with Minerva
Minerva
Minerva was the Roman goddess whom Romans from the 2nd century BC onwards equated with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic...

:
Minervae / Belisamae / sacrum / Q(uintus) Valerius / Montan[us] / [e]x v[oto?]

Placenames


The River Ribble
River Ribble
The River Ribble is a river that runs through North Yorkshire and Lancashire, in northern England. The river's drainage basin also includes parts of Greater Manchester around Wigan.-Geography:...

 in England was known by the name Belisama in Roman
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

 times. Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 lists a Belisama estuary at coordinates which correspond to the mouth of the Ribble.
  • Beleymas
    Beleymas
    Beleymas is a commune in the Dordogne department in southwestern France.-Population:-References:*...

  • Bellême
    Bellême
    Bellême is a commune in the Orne department in north-western France.-Location:At the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional du Perche, two hours from Paris, Bellême, situated in the Department of the Orne, is a paradise for lovers of nature and tranquil countryside...


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