Dis Pater in the Gallic Wars
Commentarii de Bello Gallico
that theGauls considered Dis Pater to be an ancestor.
All the Gauls assert that they are descended from the god Dis, and say that this tradition has been handed down by the Druids. For that reason they compute thedivisions of every season, not by the number of days,but of nights; they keep birthdays and the beginnings of months and years in such an order that the day followsthe night.
In thus interpreting the Gauls' god as Dis, Caesar offers one of his many examples of interpretatio Romana
, the re-identification of foreign divinities as their closest Romancounterparts. The choice of Dis to translate whatever Celticdivinity Caesar has in mind - most likely Cernunnos, as the twoare both associated with both the Underworld and prosperity -may in part be due to confusion between Dis Pater and theProto-Indo-European deity *
who would have beenaddressed as *
("Sky Father"). This name is also thelikely origin of the name of many Indo-European gods,including Zeus and Jupiter, though the name's similarity to
may be in part coincidental.Dis Pater was originally a god of wealth, much like the Romangod Pluto (from Greek Πλούτων,
, meaning "wealthy"),who was later equated with Dis Pater.
is contracted fromthe Latin
meaning "rich"), and
("father"),the literal meaning of
being "Wealthy Father" or "Father of Riches".