From hagiography to Celtic cosmology : Archaeostronomy and Christian landscape in Ourense (NW Spain)

Part of : Mediterranean archaeology & archaeometry : international journal ; Vol.16, No.4, 2016, pages 447-454

The cult of Santa Mariña is very popular in the region of Galicia, in northwest Spain. According to tradition, she was born and martyred in two sites at the heart of the modern-day province of Ourense: she was born and grew up around the lagoon of Antela, and was martyred in the parish of Santa Mariña de Augas Santas, where she performed miracles and where her tomb is still preserved. Both places are located in the territory of the Limici, a pre-Roman Celtic tribe, and contain a remarkable amount of archaeological material from the Iron Age and Roman times. An archaeoastronomical study has revealed that the most important archaeological sites have a number of significant solar and lunar relationships attributable to the Celtic tradition (lunistices, Celtic mid-season festivals, the cosmos divided into three levels). Christianity preserved these structures through the feast dates of the saints worshipped in different parishes and other places, and their arrangement in different local landscapes. Episodes of Mariña‟s life and her places of worship are important because they coincide with significant points in the astronomical alignments that have been detected. Hydatius of Chaves (c. 400-469) a Limici scholar, bishop and author of a Chronicle, is considered responsible for introducing the cult of Santa Mariña, and as the driving force behind the Christianization of a landscape/ skyscape that was previously defined by a Celtic worldview.
Subject (LC):
Galicia, Celtic cosmology, Romanization, hagiography, Christianization, landscape building, archaeoastronomy, Hydatius of Chaves
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References (1):
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