Lugus is a Celtic god worshipped in Gaul and Britain; he was often identified by the Romans with their own god Mercury, and it is likely that a number of the Roman references to “Gaulish Mercury” refer to Lugus. According to Julius Caesar, he was a god of many crafts. In the Iberian peninsula he was particularly worshipped by shoemakers.
Caesar said also of Gaulish Mercury that he was the most widely worshipped Gaulish deity, which could speak either to Lugus’ popularity or possibly to Caesar’s inclusion of a variety of different local Gaulish gods under the name of Gaulish Mercury. In other words, scholars differ on whether in all cases Gaulish Mercury necessarily means Lugus; on the other hand, his imagery includes a spear, which may point to a connection with the Irish Lugh and thus to Lugus.
Linguistically, Lugus is connected with his fellow Celtic gods, Lugh from Ireland and Lleu from Wales, both of whom are also associated with skills in many areas, including music, crafting and battle. There are survivals of the name in various place-names, including Lyon in France.
As Gaulish Mercury he is often accompanied by a consort, Rosmerta, a goddess of abundance and prosperity.
Lugus received votive and dedicatory offerings from his worshippers; otherwise little is known of the specifics of his cult.
Some believe that Lugus’ name is derived from the Proto-Indo-European *leuk- or “light,” leading some to connect him with the sun. It has also been said to derive from the Proto-Celtic *lug- or “oath.”
Tribal and other associations
Lugus was widely worshipped throughout Gaul and did not “belong” to any one tribe.
Lugus was worshipped widely throughout Gaul, often under the name of Mercury, although a number of inscriptions found in the Iberian peninsula were to Lugus himself.
Julius Caesar’s reference to the Gaulish Mercury in Gallic Wars is believed by many to refer to Lugus (see above).
The name Lugus is attested at the following sites (blue map markers): Nimes, France; Lugo, Spain; Outeiro de Rei, Spain; Peñalba de Villastar, Spain; Sober, Galicia, Spain; Uxama, Spain; Avenches, Switzerland
Inscriptions to Gaulish Mercury and Rosmerta (red map markers): Rainbach, Austria; Grand, France; Hettange-Grande, France; Langres, France; Magny-Lambert, France; Metz, France; Saxon-Sion, France; Soulosse-sous-Saint-Elophe, France; Alzey, Germany; Andernach, Germany; Eisenberg, Germany; Ihn-Niedaltdorf, Germany; Kleinich, Germany; Niederemmel, Germany; Spechbach, Germany; Uess, Germany; Wasserbillig, Germany; Worms, Germany; Sarmizegetusa, Romania