The Anathemata

Mabinog’s Liturgy


Two centuries

since Rhine-progeny1 

became dying Galatae

in Pergamon bronze2 

and four caliga’d3 other ranks

torque- wearersa 

off parade

started a fox

on Nile bank.b 

David Jones notes

1 The country between the Middle Rhine and the Upper Danube is the European fatherland of the Celts; it was from South-West Germany that the Celtic Iron-Age culture sprang.

Viridomar (the leader of the combined Celtic armies defeated by ‘the great Marcellus’ at Clastidium in 223 BC) called himself ‘the son of the Rhine’.

2 The sculpture known as the Dying Gaul is in fact a copy in stone of one of the bronzes from the groups of figures of defeated Celts which decorated the acropolis at Pergamon in the second century BC.

3 Although the word caliga denotes, for us now, an essentially Roman thing, the field-boot of the Roman Army, both word and thing are said to derive from a Celtic source, together with certain other articles of military use including the sagum, and, it seems, the word gladius itself.

additional notes

The original text has an image facing this page: Merlin-land. Drawing in pencil and body-colour, 1931, originally entitled Merlin appears in the Form of a Young Child to Arthur Sleeping. I have not been able to find an adequate reproduction.

DJ note 3: sagum, a traditional woollen garment worn as a formal item of dress by noted military men on top of their armour; gladius, a sword.

a A torque was a military medal worn as a neck band. The word also refers to Celtic item of decoration worn round the neck (torc).

b  See note 4 to next paragraph.


The dates on these first three paragraphs –the ‘Dying Gaul’, the attack launched by the Cimbri across the Alps and checked by Marius, the Celtic soldiers in Egypt, and the arrival of the Celts in Britain– all point to a date around 15-20 CE, i.e. during the life of Jesus.

semantic structures