A New Hypothesis Concerning the Origin of Deus Saromandus Cover Image
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O nouă ipoteză despre originea lui Deus Saromandus
A New Hypothesis Concerning the Origin of Deus Saromandus

Author(s): Coriolan Horaţiu Opreanu
Subject(s): Archaeology
Published by: Editura Universitatii LUCIAN BLAGA din Sibiu
Keywords: Dacia; epigraphy; tribal god; Celtic names; Germanic mythology

Summary/Abstract: The author is reopening the discussion on CIL III, 964 an inscription discovered in the 18th century at Micăsasa (Sibiu county). The text attests a god, Deus Saromandus, unknown in any other written source from the Roman Empire. During the time it was considered of Dacian origin, or a god from Minor Asia. The new approach of the author starts from the Celtic environment of the Roman rural settlement at Micăsasa and from the linguistic origin of the name Saromandus. He discusses the root „searo” from Beowulf’s poem and other old Germanic relative words, having the meaning of „weapons”, „armour”, or „chainmail shirt”. The second part of the name „-mandus” comes from Celtic, having the meaning of „little horse”, „ponney”. There are several Roman inscriptions mentioning the Celtic name Mandus, till the 7th century AD, when king Cadfan from Gwynedd is attested as Catamanus. There are also some Germanic names ending in „-mundus”, as Conimundus, Cunimundus. In final conclusion the idea of the author is that Saromandus is a tribal god, having some warrior traces. Its probable home land could be the Lower Rhine region, where the Celts and the Germans were living mixed together. A possible confirmation of this judgement is a funerary inscription from Britain mentioning a soldier whose name was finished in „…mandus”, who was a member of the cuneus Frisiorum, a small irregular cavalry unit from the 3rd century. The unit was recruited from the Germanic tribe of the Frisi, mentioned by Tacitus as living on the Lower Rhine. The ancient author stories that their bands were named cunei in Latin, being composed of clans and families. That is the reason it is very probable that this soldier, „-mandus” to be still a member of the tribe, even he was recruited much later than the beginnings of the unit. When some try to separate the Celts from the Germans, the language was not considered a relevant element. Finally, the author is mentioning the evolution of the name in Late Roman time and in the Early Middle Ages, being attested as Sarmanna, or Saremannus, proposing also the comparation between the Germanic name Herman and the French Armand (both with the meaning of „soldier’, „warrior”), the latter being considered as derived from Saromandus.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: VII
  • Page Range: 57-63
  • Page Count: 7
  • Language: Romanian