Visucius/Cissonius

Meaning of name: Delamarre suggests a couple of meanings for Visucius, ranging from ‘Crow’ or ‘Raven’[1] from *uisuco or *uesākos[2] to ‘who knows’, ‘who foretells’’ or ‘who sees’[3], possibly derived from *witsu[4]. Olmstead however argues that it could mean ‘the Worthy’[5], coming from *Wesu[6]. 

Cissonius is suggested to mean ‘carriage-driver’ by Van Andringa and J. Hatt from the word Cissium[7]. This is backed briefly by Matasovic who states that ‘Cissium’ is a car with two wheels, and may be a loanword from Gaul into Latin[8]. 

Pronunciation: Wi-SUK-yus and Kis-SAHN-yus

Function: 

As Visucius – Because of His interpretatio of Mercury and possible meanings to His name, it might be safe to say He could be a psychopomp and a deity of eloquence, trade, traveling, knowledge, oaths, magic. However, Miranda Green points out from epigraphy (recorded by Jan de Vries[9]) that He was also interpretatio paired with Mars[10]. This association, along with the possibility of His name relating to crows or ravens, might point to more martial or psychopomp functions. Mercury was also associated with the Gallic god Lugus, which would also point to the qualities listed above. If Visucius is similar or identical to Lugus, we may be able to assume that He is also similar to Woden of Anglo-Saxon religion and Odin of Norse Religion[11][12]. The author doesn’t find this too far fetched, as Gallia Beligica had Celtic and Germanic tribes in very close proximity with each other. He is also accompanied at times by a counter-part goddess called Visucia in some inscriptions. She retains the title of ‘Sancta’ or sacred/venerable in one inscription along with Visucius[13]. 

Not much is to be said for Cissionius, other than the name is almost as common as Visucius in Belgic regions.  According to Miranda Green, Cissionius also had a doublet goddesss by the name of Cissionia[14]. For these reasons, Senobessus Bolgon will treat both Visucius and Cissionius as the same being. 

Iconography: Possibly corvids, a spear, an eye, shoes, and a sack. As Cissionius, a carriage would be appropriate. 

Attested Sources: Visucius by Himself has three inscriptions from Germany (Heidelberg, Pfalsbourg and Herapel), but has around ten inscriptions total[15]. Along with being in the area of the Treveri and Mediomatrici, Olmstead identifies Him as being worshiped by the Nemetes[16]. Cissionius has around 17 inscriptions ranging from Germany, Switzerland and France[17].

Interpretatio Romana: Classically Mercury for both Visucius and Cissionius, but also Mars for Visucius. 

Senobessus Bolgon interpretation: He is the traveling god of trade, eloquence, and oaths. As Cissionius, he would be the protector of travelers and tradesmen. As Visucius, He leads souls of the dead to their next journey, and determines the warrior’s destiny. As a god who uses magic, he would also be a patron of those who deal with the esoteric. It would not be far off to say that Visucius/Cissionius is the Belgic version of Lugus and Woden. 

Visucius_Cissionius
Artwork by Selgowiros Caranticnos. Vectoring by Wōdgār Inguing.

 

Resources:

1. Dictionnaire de la langue Gauloise (2003) by Xavier Delamarre P. 322

2. An etymological lexicon of Proto-Celtic by Ranko Matasovic P. 415

3. Dictionnaire de la langue Gauloise (2003) by Xavier Delamarre P. 318-319

4. An etymological lexicon of Proto-Celtic (2008) by Ranko Matasovic P. 415-416

5. The Gods of the Celts and the Indo-Europeans by Garret Olmstead P. 324

6. An etymological lexicon of Proto-Celtic by Ranko Matasovic P. 418

7. La religion en Gaule romaine : Piété et politique by William van Andringa (2002) P.135, 155

8. An etymological lexicon of Proto-Celtic by Ranko Matasovic P. 204

9. Keltische Religion (1963) by Jan de Vries P. 150

10. The Celtic World Edited by Miranda Green P. 474

11. Nemeton Segomâros, Lugus, by Segomâros Widugeni http://polytheist.com/segomaros/2015/07/13/lugus/

12. Lady with a Mead Cup by Michael Enright P. 276-277

13. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum XIII, 6384

14. Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend by Miranda Green (1997) 

15. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum XIII, 6404, 5991, 4478

16. Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans by Garret Olmstead P. 330-331

17. Les dieux gaulois : répertoire des noms de divinités celtiques connus par l’épigraphie, les textes antiques et la toponymie P. 34-35