Artio was an obscure Gaulish goddess whose cult flourished in Switzerland and the Rhineland Germany during the Iron Age and Roman era. The goddess, Artio, was the divine protector of wild bears in the alpine regions of Central Europe.
Artio means “bear goddess” in Gaulish and probably revered by followers in the form of a divine bear. The spirit of Artio manifested itself as a she-bear wandering over the wilderness of mountains and forests
The Helvetti paid homage to Artio as a goddess of bears, hunters, fertility, wild animals and nature in the alpine regions of Switzerland.
The centre of the cult of Artio was in Bern, Switzerland. Bern, meaning “bear”, was the site of an oppidum belonging to the Helvetti tribe.
The Helvetti migrated to Switzerland from Gaul in the final centuries BC
Julius Caesar subdued the Helvetti in 52 BC. Emperor Tiberius incorporated the alpine regions of northern…
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