1. Meaning of Name: In a rare burst of humor, Kondratiev writes that the name Maponus meant “Superboy, essentially!” Green is more pedestrian, translating the name as “Divine Youth”, or “Divine Son”. Mackillop gives us “Great Son”.1
2. Pronunciation: Map-AWN-us, with the “a” like the “u” in “Gus”, and the “u” like the “u” in “put”.
3. Other Names and Epithets: The Welsh Mabon ap Modron is a later reflection of him. In the Chamaliers Inscription, Maponus Arveriiatis is invoked.2
4. Interpretatio Romana: Apollo.3
5. Irish Equivalent: Angus mac Óg4
6. Indo-European Equivalent: None exactly.
7. Realm: Andernados/Underworld God
8. Iconography: He is shown in several guises. In one inscription, he appears as Apollo the cithera player. In another, he is shown with a hunting Goddess. He has some healing springs associated with him.5
9. Significance: Maponus is a God of youth, as his name suggests. He appears to have associations with hunting. The Chamaliers Inscription suggests that he is primarily an Underworld figure, who could be invoked for magic. The story of Mabon ap Modron gives us an elaborate story of his birth, in which he is born to a Goddess, probably Eponâ, but then disappears on the third day after his birth. The Gods search for him. During the search, they are advised by a stag, a boar, an eagle, and finally a salmon, who tells them where to find him in the Underworld. So he is rescued and returned to the Gods. Kondratiev regarded him as a Dying and Reborn God, who is born every year at the Winter Solstice, and dies every autumn, thus personifying the cycle of the year. In conversations in the Gaulish Polytheism Community, Christopher Scott Thompson suggested that Maponus may, by virtue of having been raised in the Underworld, serve as an intermediary between humans and the class of unpleasant Underworld spirits known as Anderoi.6

  1. Kondratiev, Basic Celtic Deity Types; Green, Dictionary, p. 140; Mackillop, 324
  2. Green, Dictionary, p. 140; Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, p. 184
  3. Green, Dictionary, p. 140
  4. Kondratiev, Basic Celtic Deity Types; and Apple Branch, p. 102
  5.  Green, Dictionary, p. 140; Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, p. 184
  6.  Green, Dictionary, p. 140; Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, p. 184; Kondratiev, Apple Branch, pp. 122-134, 155-168, 190-198

Recommended Article


One Comment


  1. Óengus Mac ind Óc’s role in certain Irish tales–especially, I’d suggest, Toruigheacht Dhiarmada ocus Ghráinne, is especially chthonic/underworldly in terms of his role in fostering certain people, and also being responsible for their afterlives to one extent or another, e.g. he puts an “aerial body” on Diarmuid so that he can speak with him after he has died, etc.