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Annotated Bibliography

This annotated bibliography provides suggested further reading about Epona and also the context, historical times, and people who honored her.

The quest for information about Epona has taken us on an international journey to libraries, museums, and archaeological sites. Likewise, much of the literature about Epona is in languages other than English. The last three artefact catalogs, for example, were published in French and German approximately 50 years apart. As far as we can tell, no catalog of Epona artefacts has ever been published in English.

Realising that some of the works cited below may be hard to obtain, a selection of them may be ordered here.


Artefact and inscription catalogs

Information about artefacts is found in several places: regional artefact catalogs like Esperandieu's volumes of Gaulish artefacts, collections of Latin inscriptions, and catalogs of Epona artefacts. Three artefact catalogs formed the basis for our own list: S. Reinach (French, 1895-1903), R. Magnen and E. Thévenot (French, 1953), and most recently that of M. Euskirchen (German, 1993).

Salomon Reinach's 1895 catalog of 60 Eponas is the earliest known catalog and the first to bring the concept of Epona to a general classical studies readership. Unusually for the time, each Epona depiction was illustrated by a line sketch to show the form of the depiction. Each entry was discussed and the work remains most valuable. It was originally published as a series of articles in Revue archéologique and reprinted as a standalone publication. Updates appeared in Revue archéologique through 1903. The text is in French.

Magnen and Thévenot 's 1953 catalog contains about 250 artefacts and is the best known of the three catalogs. Magnen wrote the explanatory introduction and Thévenot wrote the catalog, which is a summarised version of Reinach (with plates, but without the line drawings) expanded to include newly discovered Epona material. The text is again in French.

The monumental survey by Euskirchen updates Reinach to include the many finds of the last century and contains excellent cross references and indices listing Euskirchen's catalog numbers with Magnen and Thévenot 's as well as Esperandieu's. There is a careful stylistic analysis, the type of findspot is noted for each entry, and good dating information is provided where known or inferred. The text is in German.

  • Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL), 17+ volumes listing all known latin inscriptions.
  • Espérandieu, É. (1907) Recueil général des bas-reliefs de la Gaule romaine. Paris, Imprimerie nationale. Multiple volumes, updated through the 1960's.
  • Euskirchen, M. (1993) “Epona”. Bericht der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission Deutsches Archäologisches Institut., 74: 607-838.
  • Magnen, R. and E. Thévenot (1953). Épona: déesse Gauloise des chevaux protectrice des cavaliers. Bordeaux, Delmas.
  • Reinach, S. (1895) “Épona”. Revue archéologique 26(I): 163-195; 309-335.
  • Reinach, S. (1895) Épona la déesse Gauloise des chevaux. Paris, Leroux.
  • Reinach, S. (1898) “Encore Épona”. Revue archéologique 33(II): 187-200.
  • Reinach, S. (1899) “L'Épona de Mésie”. Revue archéologique 35(II): 61-70.
  • Reinach, S. (1902) “Divinities Équestres”. Revue archéologique 40(I): 227-238.
  • Reinach, S. (1903) “Nouvelles Éponas”. Revue archéologique (II): 348-350.
  • Sterckx, Claude (1986) Éléments de Cosmogonie Celtique. Editions de l'Université de Bruxelles. ISBN 2-8004-0900-2
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Articles about Epona


The seven-page article by Oaks remains, unfortunately, the best English-language survey of Epona in general. Johns reports on a small cast bronze imperial type Epona, thought to have been a chariot fitting and now in the British Museum.

  • Johns, C. M. (1971-2) “A Roman bronze statuette of Epona”. British Museum Quarterly 36(1-2): 37-41.
  • Linduff, K. (1979) “Epona: a Celt among the Romans”. Collection Latomus. 38: 817-837.
  • Oaks, L. S. (1986) “The Goddess Epona: concepts of sovereignty in a changing landscape”. Pagan Gods and Shrines of the Roman Empire. M. Henig and A. King, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology. Monograph no. 8: 77-84. ISBN 0-947816-08-9


As Epona is predominantly a Gaulish deity and since the territory of Gaul overlaps that of modern France, it is natural that there should be a substantial body of literature on Epona in French. Benoît is primarily known for advancing the theory that Epona was a funerary, psychopomp goddess. Drawing on a small number of funerary depictions, he then goes on to see other attributes in similar vein: a key is the key to the gates of death, etc. The analysis seems rather over done and prompted a short rebuttal, in French, at the end of Euskirchen. Laet and Renard show the perils of seeing the world through Epona-shaped glasses; small votive horse figures do not, of themselves, indicate Epona as horses were associated with other deities also. Most of the other works cited describe a single Epona find, or survey Epona finds in a small region. The work by Thévenot on the Aedui (éduens in French) is particularly worth studying.

  • Benoît, F. (1950). Les mythes de l'outre-tombe. Le cavalier à l'anguipède et l'écuyère Épona. Bruxelles, Latomus Revue d'études latines.
  • Boucher, S. (1999) “Notes sur Épona.” Signa deorum : L'iconographie divine en Gaule romaine. Communications présentées au colloque organisé par le Centre Albert Grenier d'antiquité nationale de l'Université de Nancy II et la direction d'études d'antiquités de la Gaule romaine de la IVe section de l'Ecole pratique des hautes études. Y. Burnand and H. Lavagne. Paris, De Boccard: pp. 13-22. ISBN 2701801230
  • Hanoteau, M.-T. (1979) “Sur les traces d'Épona dans le centre de la France”. Revue archéologique du centre de la France. G. Lintz, J. PERRIER, J.-Y. AUTEXIER et al. Vichy, France, R.A.C.F. XVIII: 157-159.
  • Laet, S. J. D. (1951) “Survivances du culte d'Épona dans le folklore brabacon ?” Latomus. Bruxelles, Editions Latomus: 171-176.
  • Lambrechts, P. (1950) “Épone et les Matres”. L'Antiquité classique 19: 103-112
  • Renard, M. (1951) Les figurines d'Asse-Elewijt et le culte d'Épona. Latomus. Bruxelles, Editions Latomus: 171-176.
  • Thévenard, J.-J. (1994) “Un sanctuaire d'Épona”. Archéologia 302: 6-7.
  • Thévenot , É. (1949) “Les monuments et le culte d'Épona chez les éduens”. L'Antiqueté Classique 18: 385-400.
  • Thévenot , É. (1964) “Une figuration nouvelle d'Épona”. Revue archéologique de l'est et du centre-est 15(1): 103-112.

Other languages

The earliest review of Epona evidence that we are aware of is contained in the discussion in Cattaneo (in Italian). Elorza Y Guinea discusses Epona in Spain; there are only three Eponas known in Spain, odd for provinces famous for horse rearing. Jordan describes and illustrates a wall painting of Epona from Pompei; the 19th century work is written in Latin. Timoc discusses Epona in Dacia (in Romanian).

  • Cattaneo, G. (1819). Equejade, monumento antico de bronzo del Museo nazionale ungherese considerato ne' suoi rapporti coll' antichità figurata. Milano, Imp. Regia stamperia.
  • Elorza Y Guinea, J. C. (1970) “Un posible centro de culto a Epona en la provincia de Álava”. Estudios de arqueología alavesa. Alava (Spain). Diputación Foral. Consejo de Cultura. Sección de Arqueología. and Instituto Alavés de Arqueología. Vitoria, La Consejo. 4: 275-281.
  • Elorza Y Guinea, J. C. (1970) “Estelas decoradas romanas en la provincia de Álava”. Estudios de Arqueología Alavesa. Alava (Spain). Diputación Foral. Consejo de Cultura. Sección de Arqueología and Instituto Alavés de Arqueología. Vitoria, La Consejo. 4: 235-274.
  • Jordan, H. (1872) De genii et Eponae picturis pompeianis nuper detectis. Romae, typis Salviucci.
  • Timoc, C. (1997). "Observaii cu privire la cultul zeiei Epona in Dacia roman/ Remarques à propos du culte de la déesse Epona en Dacie romaine". Satu Mare: studii si comunicari (Muzeni de Istorie Satu Mare. 14: 114-118.
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Roman horse-related occupations

Epona, from the evidence, is primarily a goddess of the Roman cavalry and of others in the Empire whose livelihood was intimately associated with transport by horse, or the well being of horses, or horse breeding.

  • Arbogast, R.-M., B. Clavel, et al. (2002) Archéologie du cheval : des origines á la période moderne en France. Paris, Errance. ISBN 2-87772-211-2
  • Hyland, A. and J. Mann (1990) Equus: the Horse in the Roman World. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04770-3


  • Cheesman, G. L. (1971) The auxilia of the Roman Imperial Army. Hildesheim, G. Olms.
  • Connolly, P. (1988) Tiberius Claudius Maximus, The Cavalryman. Oxford, Oxford University Press.ISBN 0199104247
  • Dixon, K. R. and P. Southern (1992) Roman Cavalry : from the first to the third century AD. London, Batsford. ISBN 0713463961
  • Hyland, A. (1993) Training the Roman cavalry : from Arrian's Ars Tactica. Dover, NH, Alan Sutton. ISBN 0862999847
  • Kemkes, M. and J. Scheurbrandt (1997) Zwischen Patrouille und Parade: die Römische Reiterei am Limes. Stuttgart, Theiss. ISBN 3-8067-1440-9
  • Le Bohec, Y. (2000) The imperial Roman army. London, Routledge. ISBN 0-415-22295-8
  • MacDowall, S. and C. Hook (1995) Late Roman Cavalryman, 236-565AD. Oxford, Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1841762601
  • Spaul, J. (1994) ALA² The auxiliary cavalry units of the pre-Diocletianic Imperial Roman army. Andover, Nectoreca Press. ISBN 0952506203
  • Speidel, M. P. (1994) Riding for Caesar: the Roman Emperors' Horse Guards. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-76897-3
  • Webster, G. (1998) The Roman Imperial Army of the first and second centuries A.D. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press. Third edition. ISBN 0806130008

Horse rearing

  • Malrain F, V. Matterne, P. Méniel (2002) Les paysans gaulois. Paris, Editions Errance. ISBN 2877722295
  • Méniel, P. (2001) Les Gaulois et les animaux: Elevage, repas et sacrifice. Paris, Editions Errance. ISBN 2877722015

Postal service, intelligence and communications

Not all dedications were military. Austin covers the overall intelligence apparatus of the Roman empire in considerable detail, and illuminates the duties of the beneficiari consularis and exploratores, some of whom made dedications to Epona; the topic is expanded upon by Dise. Chevallier describes all types of movements and means of transport, and reasons for people to make journeys.

  • Austin, N.J.E. and N.B. Rankov (1995) Exploratio: Military and Political Intelligence in the Roman Worlds from the Second Punic War to the Battle of Adrianople. London & New York, Routledge. ISBN 0415049458
  • Chevallier, Raymond (1998) Voyages et Déplacements dans l'Empire Romain, Armand Collin, Paris. ISBN 2200371497
  • Dise, R. L., Jr. (1996). "The Beneficiarii Procuratoris of Celeia and the Development of the Statio Network". Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 113: 286-292.
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The study of Epona in a religious context is essentially a study of Roman religion, as modified and adapted in the Celtic and Germanic provinces of Gaul, Britannia, Germania and Pannonia. It is also useful to study what is known of pre-conquest Gaulish religion. Woodward covers the 'Gallo-Roman' Celtic-style temple from a British perspective, drawing on continental examples as appropriate, and in some ways is an English-language equivalent to Faudet. Green considers the Epona and other Romano-British and Gallo-Roman deities associated with animals.

  • Aldrete, G. S. (1999) Gestures and acclamations in ancient Rome. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801861322
  • Brunaux, J.-L. (1998) The Celtic Gauls: Gods, Rites, and Sanctuaries. London, Seaby. ISBN 1-85264-009-X
  • Brunaux, J.-L. (2004) Guerre et Religion en Gaule: essai d'anthropologie Celtique. Paris, Editions Errance. ISBN 2-87772-259-7
  • Deyts, S. (1992) Images des Dieux de la Gaule. Paris, Editions Errance. ISBN 2877720675
  • Deyts, S., Ed. (1998) A la rencontre des Dieux gaulois, un défi à César. Paris, Réunion des Musées Nationaux. ISBN 271183851X
  • Faudet, I. (1993) Les Temples de Tradition Celtique en Gaule Romaine Paris, Editions Errance. ISBN 2877720748
  • Green, M. (1992) Animals in Celtic Life and Myth. London; New York, Routledge Press. ISBN 0415050308
  • Irby-Massie, G. L. (1999) Military religion in Roman Britain. Leiden ; Boston, Brill.ISBN 9004108483
  • Jufer, N. and T. Luginbühl (2001) Répertoire des dieux gaulois. Paris, Editions Errance. ISBN 2-87772-200-7
  • Rendić-Mioċević, A. and M. Šegvić (1988) Religions and Cults in South Pannonian Regions. Religions and Cults in Pannonia. F. Jenő (ed). Székesfehérvár, Museums of County Fejér. ISBN 963-7390-83-9
  • Woodward, A. (1992) Shrines and Sacrifice Bath, English Heritage. ISBN 0-7134-6084-9
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Linguistic resources

For further study of Gaulish, the standard works are Delmarre (for a dictionary) and Lambert (for grammar and inscriptions). Both have recently been published in second editions less than five years after the first editions, a measure of the rate of progress in the field. To penetrate the dense abbreviations of Latin inscriptions, Keppie is a helpful guide. Mallory gives an overview of how Italic, Celtic, Germanic and other Indo-European language groups fit together and reviews the various proto-IndoEuropean homeland hypotheses.

  • Delamarre, X. (2003) Dictionaire de la Langue Gauloise: une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental. Paris, Editions Errance. 2nd edition. ISBN 2-87772-237-6
  • Keppie, Lawrence (1991) Understanding Roman Inscriptions. Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0907764223
  • Lambert, P.-Y. (2003) La Langue Gauloise. Paris, Editions Errance. 2nd edition. ISBN 2-87772-224-4
  • Mallory, J. P. (1991) In Search of the Indo-Europeans: languages, archaeology and myth. London, Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27616-1
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Roman Provinces


The literature on Roman Britain is abundant; some of it pertains to Epona or is useful to fill in the background. Davies and Jones give information on Epona and possible connection with the the early mediæval Welsh Rhiannon. Goodall is handy for breed information; most of the horses in Roman times would count as ponies today, and some British pony breeds go back to Roman times. Room is occasionally useful when finding the older Roman or British names of modern places.

  • Davies, S. and N. A. Jones, Eds. (1997) The Horse in Celtic Culture. Cardiff, University of Wales Press. ISBN 0708314147
  • Goodall, D. M. and A. Dent (1998) A history of British native ponies : from the Bronze Age to the present day. London, J.A. Allen. ISBN 0851314368
  • Room, A. (1988) Dictionary of place-names in the British Isles. London, Bloomsbury. ISBN 074750170X
  • Wilson, R. J. A., M. G. Jarrett, et al. (1997). Roman Maryport and its setting : essays in memory of Michael G. Jarrett. Penrith, England, Published on behalf of the Trustees of the Senhouse Roman Museum Maryport by the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archæological Society. ISBN 1873124228
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The Gauls

  • Bedon, R. (1999) Les villes des trois Gaules, de César à Néron Paris, Picard. ISBN 2-7084-0563-2
  • Chevallier, Raymond (1998) Voyages et Déplacements dans l'Empire Romain. Paris, Armand Collin. ISBN 2200371497
  • Espérandieu, É. (1907) Recueil général des bas-reliefs de la Gaule romaine. Paris, Imprimerie Nationale.
  • Thévenot , É. (1968) Divinités et sanctuaires de la Gaule. Paris, A. Fayard.
  • Thévenot , É. (1951) “Le cheval sacre dans la Gaule de l'Est”. Revue Archeologique de l'Est et du Centre-Est. 2: 129-141.
  • Woolf, G. (1998) Becoming Roman : the origins of provincial civilization in Gaul. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521414458 (hardback) 0521789826 (paperback)
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  • Carroll, M. (2001) Romans, Celts and Germans: the German Provinces of Rome. Stroud, Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-1912-9
  • Cunliffe, B. W. (1988) Greeks, Romans, and barbarians : spheres of interaction. New York, Methuen. ISBN 0416019919
  • Schleiermacher, W. (1933) Studien an Göttertypen der römischen Rheinprovinzen. Bericht der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission Deutsches Archäologisches Institut., 23.
  • Wells, P. S. (1999) The barbarians speak : how the conquered peoples shaped Roman Europe. Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691058717
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Other Roman Provinces

Hajnóczi gives an overview, in English, of Hungarian Roman sites, roughly corresponding to the province of Pannonia.

  • Hajnóczi, G. M., Tamás; Nagy, Mihály; Visy, Zsolt (1998) Itinarium Hungaricum: Pannonia Hungarica Antiqua. Archaeolingua, Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences: 121. ISBN 963-8046-112
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Roman empire

A background knowledge of the Roman Empire is essential to a study of Epona; so that those things which are general to any Roman worship can be distinguished from those things that are unique to Epona, and to give much needed context to the individual finds. The literature is vast; only a tiny selection of works is given here. Hornblower is a good general work in a single volume. Croom, Allason-Jones and Roche-Bernard are useful for details of hairstyle and clothing changes, which aid in placing a date on Epona representations. Scarre gives the dates and principal features of each emperor, and usefully notes when particular titles such as Pater Patriae were given; this helps in narrowing date ranges of inscriptions.

  • Allason-Jones, L. (1989) Women in Roman Britain. London, British Museum Publications. ISBN 0-7141-1392-1
  • Croom, A.T. (2002) Roman Clothing and Fashion Stroud, Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2512-0
  • Hornblower, S. S., Anthony, Ed. (2003) The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198606419
  • Roche-Bernard, G. (1993) Costumes et Textiles en Gaule Romaine. Paris, Editions Errance. ISBN 2877720799
  • Scarre, C. (1995) Chronicle of the Roman emperors : the reign-by-reign record of the rulers of Imperial Rome. London; New York, Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0500050775
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Classical authors

The Golden Ass is a useful work, available in several translations. The two listed here are good. The older and more well known translation by Graves is best avoided, as it takes some liberties with the text. In particular the phrase 'Epona, the mare-headed mother' is pure Graves and does not appear in the original Latin; it seems to indicate a confusion by Graves between Epona and Demeter. Mangoubi presents an interesting analysis of themes (French text).

  • Walsh, P.G (trans) (1999) The Golden Ass. Oxford, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0500050775
  • Kenney, E. J. (trans) (1999) The golden ass: or metamorphoses. London, Penguin. ISBN 0140435905
  • Mangoubi, S. (2001) “La structure litéraire des Métamorphoses d'Apulée. Études des jeux de miroirs”. Folia Electronica Classica 2.
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