Wine Mythology II

June 8, 2007

You might remember my entry about the Celtic god of wine and the vintners in the Mosel river valley, Sucellus (the good striker: the prefix “Su” meaning “good”, and the Celtic word “cellus/cellos” meaning “striker”). In Jakarta we have very talented stone masons. They usually work with soft white stones. Well, I showed them my picture of Sucellus (from Kinsheim) and they produced a replica. Unfortunately, I did not explain to them who Sucellus was. I did not explain to them how powerful he was and how he was loved by the Celts and how he was worshipped in the Southern and the Eastern parts of Gaul. – Traces of him are found from Geneva to Lausanne, from the Mosel river to places in Alsace and even in York in England. He was also part of Lusitanian mythology which was heavily influenced by it’s Celtic and Roman invaders.

My beardless Sucellus

So instead of a middle-aged man with a curly beard, I got back a handsome young Sucellus without these insignia of the Celtic forest god. Fortunately, the long-handled hammer (or mallet) was depicted rightly. He also holds grapes as in the original. The only un-bearded Sucellus in this world is now in my possession and I will put him up in my small winery on Two Hills vineyard to remind me of my Celtic heritage and all the many people before me who enjoyed growing grapes and making wines.

I try to imagine 10.000 years from now when to some archaeologists’ surprise, a statue of the Celtic god is found far from Europe in the rolling hills of Two Hills vineyard near Glenburn, Victoria. Then finally also Australia will be on the map of the Celtic god searchers of the universe.


Wine Mythology

January 11, 2007

There are various mythical stories about the god of wine in different cultures. For the Greeks it was Dionysos, for the Romans Bacchus and for the Celtic Treverer in the Mosel river valley it was Sucellus. Sucellus was not the god of the wine consumer as were Bacchus and Dionysos, but the god of the grape and wine producers, the vintner, the cooper, and the winemaker.

The picture below shows this Celtic god as he is usually depicted, with a sledge (or long-shafted hammer), grapes and some barrels. The statue was found in 1976 in a Roman villa near Kinheim in the district of Bernkastel-Kues, 50 km from Trier downriver on the Mosel (www.bernkastel-kues.de). You can see it in a wonderful book by Karl-Josef Gilles with the title “Bacchus and Sucellus” . The book gives a wonderful insight into grape and wine cultivation along the Mosel river during Roman times.

Sucellus