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The goddess Artio as depicted in the Muri statuette group, presumably in bear and in human form.

Artio (Dea Artio in the Gallo-Roman religion) was a Celtic bear goddess. Evidence of her worship has notably been found at Bern (Switzerland) whose name according to legend is derived from the word Bär, "bear".


Representations and inscriptions

A bronze sculpture from Muri, near Berne in Switzerland shows a large bear facing a woman seated in a chair, with a small tree behind the bear. The woman seems to hold fruit in her lap, perhaps feeding the bear. (Deyts p.48, Green pp.217-218). The sculpture has a large rectangular bronze base, which bears an inscription. (CIL 13, 05160)

Deae Artioni / Licinia Sabinilla

To the Goddess Artio (or Artionis), from Licinia Sabinilla. If the name is Gaulish but the syntax is Latin, a dative Artioni would give an i-stem nominative *Artionis or an n-stem nominative *Artio. That would perhap correspond to a Gaulish n-stem nominative *Artiu.

Other inscription to the goddess have been discovered in Daun (CIL 13, 4203), Weilerbach (CIL 13, 4113), Heddernheim (CIL 13, 7375 [4, p 125]), and Stockstadt (CIL 13, 11789).


Her name is derived from the Gaulish word artos, bear (Delamarre 2003 p. 55-56). Other Celtic languages have similar words, such as Old Irish art, Welsh arth - which may also be the source for the modern name Arthur.

See also



  • Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL) vol XIII, Inscriptiones trium Galliarum et Germaniarum
  • Delamarre, X. (2003). Dictionnaire de la Langue Gauloise (2nd ed.). Paris: Editions Errance. ISBN 2-87772-237-6
  • Deyts, Simone (1992) Images des Dieux de la Gaule. Paris, Editions Errance. ISBN 2-87772-067-5.
  • Green, Miranda (1992) Animals in Celtic Life and Myth. London, Routledge. ISBN 0-415-18588-2
  • Wightman, E.M. (1970) Roman Trier and the Treveri London, Hart-Davis. ISBN 0-246-63980-6


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