On the etymology of Grannus

Jürgen Zeidler 1
  • 1 FB III Ägyptologie, Universität Trier, D-54286 Trier

The name of the Gallo-Roman healing god (Apollo) Grannus has always been subject to some controversy. Three proposals concerning its etymology have been put forward: It has been associated with a word ‘beard, eyebrow’ derived from the Indo-European root *gher-/ghrē- ‘project, stand out’, meaning ‘(god) with (long, bushy) hair, beard or eyebrows’. It has been linked to IE *gwher- ‘warm, hot’ and alternatively explained as ‘sun (god)’, ‘(god of) thermal wells’ and the like. This is of further interest as it would be one of the few instances of initial *gwh- known at present in Continental Celtic. Recently, a connection with IE *ĝher- ‘shine, gleam’ has been suggested. I shall examine these proposals and contribute some arguments hitherto not taken into consideration, particularly from the field of Celtic archaeology.

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Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie (ZcP) was founded in 1897 by Kuno Meyer and Ludwig Christian Stern. It is thus the oldest significant journal of Celtic studies still in existence. In the early period, its focus was on Celtic (mainly Irish) philology and ‘linguistic monuments’ to Continental Celtic (mainly Gaulish) languages. Later, these areas were extended to include new Celtic languages and typological questions.