Below is shown a facial reconstruction of the famous Lindow Man, who was nicknamed "Pete Marsh," and is Britain’s best known and best preserved Iron Age bog body. He was pulled from the peat on Lindow Moss near Mobberley. About 25 years of age when he died, he was approximately 5 foot 7 inches tall.
The Other Side Of
The Story - Part 4
by Piotr Kronenberger
Archeological evidence from the 1st century A.D. only reaffirms Greek and Roman reports about Celtic human sacrifices. In the village of Alverstone, Isle of Wight, Great Britain, a burial shaft full of human skulls was uncovered. Nice tie-in to Halloween, as skulls are among the symbols of this festival.
The Holy Trinity is almost universally associated with Christianity. Records left by Julius Caesar and Roman poet Lucan suggest, however, that the Celts may have venerated a “holy trinity” all their own before Christ’s time. It consisted of the gods Taranis, Teutates and Esus.
Taranis was the lord of sky and thunder, hence Caesar likened him to Jupiter. People sacrificed to him were burned in order to appease the elements of Fire and Air.
Perhaps this deity is the source of the “Wicker Man” legends – about a gigantic human-like construction inside which people and animals were locked and burned.
Teutates was one of the oldest and most terrible gods, perhaps borrowed by my brothers from the Germanic tribes. He was the lord of Water, and he delighted in sacrificial drownings. His sacred animal was the bull.
He was also known to his worshipers as “Albiorix” – the Lord of All, or “Teutorix”, Lord of the Tribe. The Romans saw in him a combination of Mars and Mercury.
Esus liked his sacrifices to be either hung or buried alive. This appeased the element of Earth and was thought to be connected with the growth of plants.
To some, he was an incarnation of the horned god Cernunnos – guardian of the Wild and lord of the Underworld. Others venerated him as the god of plenty. In that form, Esus was commonly depicted with a sack full of coins.
Another perfect example of sacrificial practices among the Celts is “The Lindow Moss Man”, found in 1984 in the peatbogs of Central England – a very well-preserved corpse of a Celtic aristocrat from the turn of the centuries.
From the looks of the Lindow Man it can be deduced he was a victim of a three-fold murder. First consecrated by the Druids, he was then struck in the parietal lobe from behind, stabbed in the abdomen and finally strangled. The mark from the garrote is still visible on the Celt’s neck.
The Greek geographer Strabo (or historian Herodotus, I am unsure which) mentions a similar tactic, in which death is associated with fortune-telling. First a victim is chosen. He is then stripped naked and consecrated to the gods. Next a warrior stabs this person in the abdomen. From the victim’s death-throws and the flow of blood, the Druids were able to foretell the outcome of an imminent battle…
In Part Two, I mentioned sacrificial altars discovered in Normandy and Brittany. The evidence gathered there shocked scientists – it is probable that the Celts practiced ritualistic cannibalism!
They took the bones of their dead and ate the marrow, believing that the spirit of their kinsman would guide and protect the living this way. This concept may have given rise to “head-hunting”, which we shall examine closer in the last part of this column…
To Be Continued.
Editor's Note: I will try to get all five parts of Piotr's series loaded at some point, but for now, this is a great story for the Halloween season.