Nehelannia- Spirit of Streams and Crossings
(May 11, 2023) This is another Nordic/Germanic feminine spirit whose name is Akkadian. She was honored around the year 200 CE, particularly in present-day Domburg and Colijnsplaat in the Netherlands. She is nowhere mentioned in Latin literature and was unknown prior to finding her shrines.
The Zeeland Delta
Zeeland was a delta into which a number of rivers, the Scheldt, the Rhine and the Maas, came out. Ships came here from France, Germany and even Switzerland. Everything that wanted to cross the North Sea came via the Scheldt delta. The seaports of Domburg and Colijnsplaat played an important role in traffic. They formed the connecting places with England.
The crossing was hard and risky. The ships used for the trip were derived from the type of ship used by the Romans, the “Navis Actuaria”, a kind of rowing boat on which a sail could be placed. Usually it was moved by 30 oarsmen, 15 on each side. They were short, narrow ships with a wider amidships. Their flat hull (flat bottom) allowed them to run aground without the risk of damage. The ships could be used for the transport of goods but also horses.
A Navis Actuaria could have a length of up to approx. 21 metres, and a width of approx. 6 ½ metres. The ship had a draft of 80 to 90 centimeters.
Akkadian Lexicon Entry (Upcoming 2023 edition)
- NḪL [Akkadian naḫlu, naḫallu, naḫalu, neḫlu] - stream (noun), streaming (participle), to stream, to pass over - by Roman times in northern Europe this had been personified into the goddess Nehalennia probably representing the power of passing through to the divine realm from the mortal realm.