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Maponos alias Mabon
Celtic God of Youth

The name Maponos or Mabon means 'Divine Son'. He was the son of Modron, the 'Divine Mother,' but a father is never mentioned. He was stolen from his mother at the age of only three days and imprisoned in Caer-Gloiu (Gloucester), until eventually rsecued by King Arthur. Perhaps the city was sacred to Maponos. For he was not a mortal, but the Celtic God of the Young & Youthful Pursuits, particularly hunting. He appears in the tale of Culhwch & Olwen, helping the former fulfil his quest by slaying the great magical boar, Twrch Trwyth.

Maponos may be identified with the Welsh mythical character, Pryderi, who was similarly kidnapped in his youth; or, possibly, he is the Irish God of Love, Oenghus, known as 'Mac Oc' meaning the 'Young Son'. He certainly had a popular following in Northern Britain as still to be noted by Lochmaben, west of Lockerbie in Scotland. This may be the Locus Maponi mentioned in the Roman Ravenna Cosmography. A silver plaque from the Roman fort at Vindolanda (Chesterholm) has been discovered inscribed "Deo Mapono". Elsewhere - at Corbridge for example - he is identified with the Roman God, Apollo. At Ribchester, Maponos shares a stone with a hunter-goddess - perhaps Apollo's sister, Diana. At Hexham, however, his musical and poetic attributes are emphasised more. His worship was widespread throughout the Celtic World though and his name has been found in several places on the Continent.

 

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