The username that I chose for this blog – vellaunos – is a rendering of a name of a Celtic Deity, more usually rendered as Vellaunus. This name appears on two inscriptions, one in Britain (Wales) and the other in southern Gaul. In the first inscription, the compound name Ocelus Vellaunus appears as an alternate name of Mars Lenus. In the second inscription, the God Mercury is surnamed “(the) Victor Macniacus Vellaunus”.

The name also appears as part of the name of the Celtic Goddess Icovellauna; as part of the name of the British ruler Cassivellaunus (Welsh Caswallawn) who famously confronted Caesar in 54 BC; and as part of the name of the Catuvellauni tribe of Britain which may have been led by Cassivellaunus and was definitely led by the famous British king Cunobelinus (rendered as Cymbeline by Shakespeare).

The name of the God Vellaunus – *Wellaunos in Celtic – has been compared to the Old Irish follamnaigid ‘rule’ which is derived from *wollamnagje/o– (the change of –mn– to –un– is usual in Celtic, and in Brittonic as well, but is not found in Gaelic). The name of the God would therefore mean “Ruler”. Here are some further etymological connections that I came up with many years ago:

Celtic *wellaunos < *wellamnos < *werl-ṃnos “ruler”; Germanic *weruldiz (Old Saxon werold, worold & Old English weorold, worold, woruld > English world) < *werḷ-tis “dominion” (not *weraldiz < *weraz + *aldiz i.e. “man-age”); Greek Hellēnes “Greeks” < *wellānes < *wellamn– < *werl-ṃn– “rulers”; Sanskrit Varuṇa < *werl-ṃnos “ruler” (Varuṇa being the original supreme God in the Indo-Aryan (Vedic) religion).

All these terms are derived from a Proto-Indo-European root *werl– which apparently meant “rule, command”. I have wondered if this *werl– was not somehow connected with the root *welh1– “choose, want” which is reflected in words like Latin velle (volō) “wish, want” and English will (from Proto-Germanic *wiljô, *wiljaną) – “to rule/command” being essentially “to impose one’s will/wishes” on others. I might even suggest that the root *welh1– was really *werl– (which usually became *well-)…

[NB: The name of the Greek God Ouranos is usually considered to be cognate with Sanskrit Varuṇa. But in fact, Ouranos is from *osuranos, a derivative of *onsuros which became asura in Sanskrit and ahura in Avestan (*onsuros in turn being a derivative of *onsus which became *ansuz in Germanic (Old English ōs “a God” found in names such as Oscar and Oswald, and Old Norse Áss “a God” (plural Æsir “The Gods”).]