Myths and Folklore Wiki
Myths and Folklore Wiki


Dīs Pater (/ˌdɪs ˈpeɪtər/Latin[diːs ˈpatɛr]; genitive Dītis Patris) was a Roman god of the underworld. Dis was originally associated with fertile agricultural land and mineral wealth, and since those minerals came from underground, he was later equated with the chthonic deities Pluto and Orcus.

Dīs Pater was commonly shortened to simply Dīs and this name has since become an alternative name for the underworld or a part of the underworld, such as the City of Dis of Dante's the Divine Comedy, which comprises Lower Hell.

It is often thought that Dīs Pater was also a Celtic god. This confusion arises from the second-hand citation of one of Julius Caesar's comments in his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars (VI:18), where he says that the Gauls all claimed descent from Dīs Pater. However, Caesar's remark is a clear example of interpretatio Romana: what Caesar meant was that the Gauls all claimed descent from a Gaulish god that reminded him of the Roman Dīs Pater, a scholia on the Pharsalia equates Dis Pater with Taranis, the chief sky deity in the Gaulish religion. Different possible candidates exist for this role in Celtic religion, such as Gaulish Sucellus, Irish Donn and Welsh Beli Mawr, among others.

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