Taranis is a Celtic god worshipped in Gaul; his name means “thunder” or “thunderer” and he is thus identified as a god of storm and thunder. The Romans often equated him with their god Jupiter by way of the interpretatio romana. (Lucan identified him as being one of three major Gaulish gods (along with Teutates and Esus) but this seems unlikely given how rarely he is found in the archaeological record.) He may be depicted as a bearded man, and shown carrying the sun-wheel.


Taranis received votive and dedicatory offerings from his worshippers; seven altars have been found dedicated to him across Gaul.

According to Lucan human sacrifice was made to him in which victims were burned alive in wooden vessels.

Taranis’ name is related to the word for “thunder” in several Celtic tongues, including the Irish torann and the Welsh taran.

Taranis was worshipped at a number of sites in Gaul and may have been widely known.

Literary evidence
In his Pharsalia the Roman poet Lucan referred to three great Gaulish gods: Taranis, Teutates and Esus. He remarked particularly on the cruelty of Taranis’ cult.

Archaeological evidence
Chester, England; Orgon, France; Strasbourg, France; Thauron, France; Tours, France; Bockingen, Germany; Godramstein, Germany; Scardona, Croatia