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DONON Bas-Rhin, France.

Sanctuary of Mercury, ca. 737 m a.s.l. on a plateau (375 x 90 m) in the Vosges Mountains on the border between Alsace and Lorraine, 43 km W of Strasbourg. No trace remains of a circuit wall reported in 1692.

Near the entrance stands a column bearing a reconstruction, from fragments found in situ, of a Jupiter and giant group, peculiar to the Rhineland: the god, as horseman, rides down a giant symbolizing barbaric or chthonic forces. Beyond, a modern exedra displays casts of some of the 30-odd stelae dedicated to Mercury, found set in the living rock at the sanctuary's highest point. Within the precinct are the remains of three religious buildings, the earliest, pre-Roman, consisting of the post-holes of a primitive hut. A structure with the remains of windows, which may have been a priest's house, is dated by an inscription (CIL XIII, 4550) to Trajan's reign. The third building was roofed with stone slabs, like Trajan's trophy at Adamklisi in Romania. In front of it was found a statue of a syncretized god, wearing a lion-skin, like Hercules, but bearing fruit, like Silvanus, and carrying an ax, like Gallic Esus. He wears a sword, like Mars; the stag accompanying him is an attribute of Gallic Cernunnus. He may personify the Vosges Mountains. Northwest of the third temple a well-like cavity has been taken as the tomb of a hero worshiped here along with Mercury. A small museum formerly housed some of the finds; they are now divided between the museums of Epinal and Strasbourg.


O. Bechstein, “Der Donon und seine Denkmäler,” Jb. für Geschichte, Sprache und Litteratur Elsass-Lothringens 7 (1891) 1-82; E. Espérandieu-R. Lantier, Recueil général des bas-reliefs, statues et bustes de la Gaule romaine 6 (1915) 4570-4603I; 7 (1918) 7244-46; 11 (1938) 7813, 7816; R. Forrer, L'Alsace romaine (1935) 170-75; A. Grenier, Manuel d'archéologie gallo-romaine 4 (1960) 829-40PI; J.-J. Hatt, Inventaire des collections publiques françaises 9 (1964) “Strasbourg: sculptures antiques regionales,” nos. 19-22, 150-186I; P. MacKendrick, Roman France (1972) 165-67I.


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