Ogmios (known as Ogmia
) was the Celtic
god of eloquence
. Although he was a very powerful god to most Celts - and certainly within the Irish pantheon
- he did not seem the part at first glance
. Ogmios was generally depicted as an old, balding man with sun-burnt skin, often wielding a club
but never shown as one who would appear to be a powerful warrior
. However, he was also depicted with fine chains running from the tip of his tongue. These chains were attached to happy mortal
s, who were "drawn along by his power." That power, far from the brute strength
of any weapon, was his skill with words in conversation
, and storytelling
. When the Roman
s learned of Ogmios, they equated him with Hercules
, for despite the fact that he was not a being of great physical strength, he was nonetheless an extremely powerful deity
in the eyes of his worshippers
Ogmios is also credited with creating the Irish writing system known as Ogham, which in turn is viewed in legend as a magical form of writing, which could be used not only for binding others but as a form of creation.
Eloquence was an important trait to the Celtic people of pre-Roman times, and hints of its importance remain today in Irish and Welsh literary traditions. Themes, particularly in earlier Celtic literature, connected to Ogmios' powers occur fairly frequently: the images of chains, bondage and freedom associated with words occur often in the stories of the day, often connected with heroes or gods.
Source: Stewart, R.J. Celtic Gods, Celtic Goddesses. London: Blandford 1990.