(Plate b)

Plate (b) shows a male deity holding two sea horses or dragons. These two animals have the mixed characters of horse and dragon; they have a long, serpentine body of a dragon and a horse-like head and two front legs. Their ribs are prominently fluted and the tails and wings are swirled. Below the god is a double-headed monster attacking small figures of fallen men. This double headed creature has been given a special interest by many scholars. Jacobsthal associates it with the Early La Tène beast from Cuperly and a two headed beast on a coin from the Jersey hoard. This monstrous figure, which continued to appear until late in the Middle Ages, is also said to be an animated fire-dog, representing the metal frame set frontally across the fire on an open hearth, with bull or ram heads at either end.(Davidson: 498) A number of such fire-dogs have been recovered from rich Celtic graves in England and on the Continent. Based on this interpretation, Ellis Davidson assumes that the men reclining beside it are feasting beside the hearth and that this iconography may indicate a possible link between this deity and the Other World in the feast of which the dead join their ancestors. On the other hand, as early as 1913, Hubert suggested that this scene should be related to the sea or water since the god holds the sea horses. As for the central god, he drew parallel to the Welsh and Irish god of the sea and the other world: Manawydan and Manannan. As an extension of Hubert's interpretation, Olmsted relates the god to the Irish character Froech who fights with water monster in Táin Bó Fraích.


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