and its region developed strongly in the times of Roman Gaul. Immigrants
from the Southern France of Gaul, from the Rhone Valley and more especially
from Lugdunum (Lyons) mixed with the autochthonous population .
Langensoultzbach owns its fanum (Gallo-Roman temple)
dedicated to Mercury. Abandoned during the Christianisation of the
territory, steles and other vestiges from the sanctuary take their
place in the choir and the nave of the parochial church.
It is there that Jean - Daniel SCHOEPFLIN " historiographer of
the King of France Louis the 15th " discovered them. He described
a Mercury and a Mercury - Rosermerta association in his famous work
'Alsatia Illustrata' published in 1751.
Just after the demolition of the church in 1844, we
can find " an altar with four Gods at the top
of the fence's wall of the cemetery and bas-reliefs
sealed in the wall above the altar " according to the historical
and statistical topographic Dictionary of the Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin
published in 1865. At the same time the author regrets that a Venus
who was " the more perfect " was missing.
Five steles are embedded in the retaining wall below
the church. Inclemency and saltpetre threatened them and, in 1986,
they were sheltered from the bad weather.
Searching for equivalences of functions, the Gallic assimilated some
Gallic gods to the Roman divinities. Mercury is the more honoured.
The archaeological finds have been listed on a map, what permits to
realize the importance of the religions practised in Northern Vosges.
The old Catholic chapel, restored and well appointed, welcome now these
treated and restored steles (mineral deficiency), and the base of Jupiter's
column as well.
To these vestiges, all listed as Historical Monuments
in 1979, are added the archaeological elements views discovered in Langensoultzbach
and preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Strasbourg.
Together, these witnesses are part of the present permanent
exhibition of Langensoultzbach intended to evoke a faraway period, where
cohabited in our region and in pax romana, Gods and Goddesses...
||In a Roman Gaul which didn't
let us any written material concerning life and beliefs of men,
it is to shapes " sprung of the deep loves of matter and
intelligence " that we owe the secret of the past.
representing structural Mercury wearing on his head
the 'petase' (hat with large sides decorated with wings), around the
neck a torque (necklace), on a shoulder a mantelletta, on an arm a purse
and in a hand a caduceus (stick surmounted of two wings and around which
two snakes curl up).
Mercury, the god the more represented in Gaul,
is shoed of winged sandals.
He carries the purse in the right hand, the left hand leans on a caduceus.
of a god, maybe the God of the Hell, Eribante.
He holds a sceptre. On his head he wears a crown.
Gallic house model (farm of the 2nd century), evocation
of a part of the archaeological site of the Wasserwald where visitors
can discover bases of farms and enclosures of this time (above Stambach
- Saverne), with the column of Jupiter
of Gundestrup :
Faces present outside busts of God and Goddesses, inside scenes in which
Gods and Goddesses have the main part. Some see Cernunnos, Taranis or
The caldron is made with repousse vermeil and the patterns are the expression
of a Celtic culture, specifically Gallic.
Caldron made probably in the North of Gaul, maybe in one of the religious
centres, in the 1st century before J.C. (National museum of Copenhagen.
Figuration of a bearded masculine god in a niche, full face, wearing
a crown with 3 spikes. He wears a tunic and a coat stapled on the
right side. In his hand the God carries a shaft with an iron spear.
On his left there was an object identifiable with difficulty which
could be a bow or a shield.
This Tribanti God, as we can read the name with difficulty,
could be an original figuration of Mars. This stele is unique in Gaul.
representing the divinities couple of Mercury and Rosermerta
(or Maia), standing, fullface, in an oblong niche. Mercury
is wearing the petase. He wears a coat on the shoulder and the left
arm. Maia wears a tunic and a coat. Each holds a very full purse and
a caduceus, main attributes of Mercury as God of the trade and wealth.
Maia is a very old Celtic goddess called Rosermerta by the Médiomatriques,
the Trévires and the Lingons, on the other side of the Vosges.
Named Maia in Alsace and in Palatinate she is also a divinity of the
She is often represented with a peg (cup), a horn of abundance or
a basket of fruits.
The stele of the 4 gods:
The block constituted the base of a column presenting in its top the
Jupiter God riding and waving the thunderbolt to throw it on earth in
order to make it productive, and trample a giant anguipède underfoot.
On the column base we can see: Juno, Hercules, Mercury and Minerve.
The complete monument is evoked by a beautiful reconstitution made with
In the Northern Vosges columns of Jupiter constitute, with steles
of Mercury, the main religious monuments.
These monuments are placed in general in important crossroads and close
Bearded God, a skin of lion on the left shoulder, he probably leaned
the right hand on a mass.
The God is covered of the winged "pétase", a coat
on the left shoulder. In the right hand he holds a purse and of
the other hand a caduceus.
The goddess is standing, draped and veiled. She sacrifices with
the right hand on an altar of which it only remains traces. On the
left shoulder we can see a peacock.
The Goddess is helmeted and draped. With the right hand she holds
a spear, with the other hand, a shield. To the height of hers left
shoulder we can guess an owl.
forest god and hunter:
Vosegus is in Antiquity at the same time the name of the Vosges and
the name of the tutelary God of these mountains.
Here the God wears a tunic and a coat stapled on the right shoulder. He
is shoed with ankle boots.
his left arm he carries a boar which could represent the young god Celtic
Teutatès; an association being a matter for a myth of conciliation
instituted by the Gallic clergy. The God carries in sling a bow and a
quiver. At his feet we can guess a dog on the right, like Silvanus. He
has got a small altar.
inscription of the end of the 2nd century:
«To, Attius Silvinus named Eglectus to Attiola his wife and to
Silvestre his son who lived 16 years and to Léa his daughter-in-law,
to the deceased Lanus, their grandson Silvinus Victor for himself and
his family (built this monument). »
Silvinus Victor was probably a Roman legion officer.