Fa b r i c i o   a t t o s

Classical Guitarist, Music Producer & Entrepeneur


Celtic Altar | Susa, Italy

Posted on September 11, 2018 at 4:30 AM

The city of Susa is located in Northwest Italy, close to the borders with France, in a geographical location known as Val di Susa. It's an important part of the world in both historical and geographical terms, as it has been an active protagonist in events of diplomatic and political nature, as well as warfare.  

The town of Susa. Photo: Fabricio Mattos

Apart from its political importance Susa also played a historical role in the development of Celtic culture in Europe. Being a passageway through the Alps for many centuries, it served as settlement for many tribes as well as a strategic outpost in Roman times. 

The Celts were a major driving force in the cultural development of great part of Europe for many centuries, and their traces can still be observed particularly in the British Islands as well as in the continent. Celts were widely known for their shamanistic practices conducted by the druids, special ritual leaders with functions spanning from medical advisors to oracle readers. 

Celtic expansion through the centuries.

Source: www.thejournal.ie/celts-europe-map-967353-Jun2013/ 

Is Susa we are able to witness a great example of the Celtic cultural development and ritual practices of great importance for the development of ritual performance. The Celtic altar, dating back to VII BC, provides an exciting example of such developments, and nothing better to understand the performative aspects of it than through some picture I've made on site last April. It's interesting to note tha the Romans, who subsequently occupied the territory, also recognized the importance of this altar, opting for not destroying it and placing and acqueduct millimetrically calculated to keep the essential features of this important ritual space.

Complex of Celtic altar in Susa, Italy. Photo: Fabricio Mattos

Steps leading up to the sacrificial area. Photo: Fabricio Mattos

Holes used to place sacrificial organs. The direction of blood flow in the grooves was used by Druids for oracular readings. Photo: Fabricio Mattos 

Opening for blood flow. Photo: Fabricio Mattos

Hole originally used for oblations after sacrificial rituals. Photo: Fabricio Mattos

Further reading:

Celtic altar in Susa (in Italian): https://goo.gl/tu1X3W

Celtic Druidism: https://goo.gl/H83tZE

Categories: Performance Spaces

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