>> Some scholars believe the opposite, however - that Sualtaim wasn't the
> original name of his father, but rather an epithet of Cu Chulainn's that
>> misinterpreted as a patronym.
> I've never heard that. Do any of these scholars offer an opinion as to its
I have seen it explained as "well-nurtured boy" (mac so-alte).
> I certainly agree it's a similar construction to Cunobelinus. However,
> are other legandary or semihistorical Irish figures with names beginning
> with Cú, two kings of Ulster called Cú Ulad and the Eóganacht ancestor
> Cú-cen-máthair spring to mind, which have clear meanings not associated
> any deity. Another I've found is a Dál nAraide king called Cú Chuarán,
> according to DIL could mean either "little crooked hound" or "hound of the
> shoes" - are you aware of any possible divine interpretation for this one?
No, I am not.
You are correct in suggesting that we need not expect every Cuno- + X name
to contain a theonym; in fact -belinos in the name Cunobelinos could be a
common noun. Other than Cunobelinus, I can't find any other examples of
compound Cuno- names that possibly contain a theonyms. There is a Cunomap-
listed in Delamarre's "Noms de personnes celtiques dans l'epigraphie
classsique", which I would love to read as *Cunomaponos, but obviously the
name is incomplete and this is just wishful thinking. There are two Welsh
names, Cynddylan and Cynfran, that might be relevant, but we can't be
absolutely sure that Dylan and Bran were in origin pagan gods (and, once
again, they might be common nouns in these two names).
> As for Culann, I'm definitely a minimalist when it comes to proposing
> deities. Does Culann (Culand, Cauland, or any other identifiable
> appear in any other context, or is there a cognate name from another
> region, that might lead us to suspect a god behind the character?
Hard to say - I don't think there are any inscriptions to a god named
anything like *Calunos or *Calu: (gen. *Calunos).
I searched for similar looking names in the Clauss-Slaby databse and found
some interesting (though fully mortal) results:
CIL 03, 06010,249
Wien / Vindobona
CIL 03, 11586 = ILLPRON 00275 = AEA 1999/00, +00070 = AEA 2004, +00019
Magdalensberg / Virunum
Postum[i]a P(ubli) l(iberta) / Adginna / P(ublius) Postumius Calon(is) /
l(ibertus) Donatus / sibi et suis v(ivi) f(ecerunt)
If the Proto-Irish form of Culann's name was nom. *Calu:, oblique *Calun-,
we might have cognates here (if these are indeed examples of a Gaulish
n-stem *Calu: Latinized as Calo:).
CIL 12, 01088 (p 821) = ILN-04, 00008
Apt / Apta
Minerv/ai [T]ull/a Auca/lonis / [f(ilia)] v(otum) s(olvit) [l(ibens)]
Perhaps a comound of *au- "away from/out of" (or *au- "desire/favor"?) +
AE 2004, 01145
Paty / Aquincum
Limarus / Cucalonis fil(ius) / an(norum) XVI
CIL 05, 05227 (p 1095) = D 04824
Transpadana / Regio XI
Matronis et / Geniis Ausuciatium / consacravit / Arvius Nigri f(ilius)
nomine / suo et C(ai) Semproni Nigri et / Banionis Cucalonis filiae /
CVCALI (potter's stamp from Lezoux)
If an exact, non-compound cognate of Cu Chulainn existed in Gaulish, I would
expect it to look something like nom. *Cu: Calunos (gen. *Cunos Calunos); am
I totally off-base in imagining that the name Cucalo: in these two
inscriptions could be somehow related? Of course, we could simply have here
derivatives of a root *cuco- (+ -alo- suffix).
AE 1975, 00516
Coria / Caurium
Amoeneae(?) / Cacalonis f(iliae) / [L]ucius Tal/[a]bi f(ilius) uxsori(!)
CIL 02, 00153 = IRCPacen 00565b
Cacalo / Avioli / lib(erto) / hic / sit(us)
Perhaps two more instances of the name above from Lusitania, if we accept
that it displays some sort of Iberian Celtic confusion of -u- and -a-
(compare instances of Camalo- from Iberia vs. Gaulish Camulo-).
- Chris Gwinn