Esus

Etymology:
Likely originally Aisus, possibly from the PIE *eis- "passion", or *ais- "to respect". Thus the name means either "The Furious One" (like the Germanic Wodanaz, with whom Esus is often compared), or "The Respected One."

The god Esunertus/*Aisunertos may be a variaton on Esus, his name meaning "strong Esus," from nerto- "strength, power"

Gallic (Continental Celtic) god, part of the trinity of "Taranus, Esus, and Teutates" according to Roman historian Lucan:

And those who pacify with blood accursed
Savage Teutates, Hesus' horrid shrines,
And Taranis' altars cruel as were those
Loved by Diana, goddess of the north

According to the Berne commentary on Lucan, Esus' human victims were sacrificed by being tied to a tree and flailed.

Esus has been identified by some with Mercury, others with Apollo. However, a strict identification with a Graeco-Roman god is difficult, if not impossible. French folklorist Jean Markale identifies Esus instead with a type of god--the "horrible" sky god of magic, like Odin (whose victims were also tied to a tree and flailed), Math ap Mathonwy/Gwydion (lords of magic), and Uranus.

Esus has somtimes (namely in Lucan) been written as Hesus, which has lead to some "scholars" to call him "Hu-Hesus" and identify him with Jesus and Hu Gadarn (who has his own tortured history) together, a rather silly idea.

The two known depictions of Esus are of a man cutting (pruning?) a tree, and is usually in conjunction with Tarvos Trigaranos, "The Bull and Three Cranes".

NOTE
Probably the most detailed webpage on Esus is at Mike Dangler's Chronarcy website. I highly recommend it.

Back to "E" | Back to JCE
Home

Mary Jones 2004