Wednesday, 18 April 2012


The Celts, the ancient European people were called Keltoi by the Greeks and Galli (Goul or Galatinians) by the Romans. The Celts were courageous, flamboyant and warriors.
The Celts first settled most properly in the south of Germany and the Czech Republic. They were farmers, warriors and traders. They produced iron weaponry for conquest and crafted iron tools to work the land.
Around 400 BC, Celtic tribes were living in Britain, Spain, France and northern Italy. In 390 BC a Celtic army plundered Rome. Other Celts were moving into the Balkans and in 276 BC a Celtic tribe moved into Asia Minor (Turkey).
It looked at that time and for some time, the Celts take over Europe. However, the Celts were not inclined to built an empire or even unify their territory. From the beginning of 200 BC they lost their territory to the Germans in the north, the Dacians in the east and the Roman in the south. The Roman army conquered the last of the Celts territory in France, around 50 BC.




Celtic-speaking people arrived in the British Isle around 700BC and kept arriving till the 1st century BC. They lived in hillforts which are fortified villages on high ground. The builders of hillforts made clever entrance like a small maze. The enemy have to twist and turn between high walls to reach the entrance. Warriors would use slings to hurl round stones which are aimed perfectly. They could easily kill with a well-aimed stone as far away as 60m.


The Romans arrived and forced the Celts out of there hilltop towns. Roman artillery was too powerful against the Celtic sling-throwers of the Iron Age.
Celtic craftsmanship is unbelievable sophisticated. They traded goods with southern Europe. Their most knowledgeable people were the Druids. The Druids were chiefs and holy men. They did not fight but sometimes made human sacrifices for warriors close to death.
Celts worshipped dozens of gods and spirits as well as the sun and the moon. Some were friendly and good spirits they looked after the babies and blessed the crops. Some were fierce. The belief of the Celts was that if these gods were not given warm blood before a battle, they would side with the enemies.
Number one of their gods was Dagda. He is the father figure. He was huge, had a fat belly and was ugly. His club was very heavy and he dragged behind in a cart. It mad furrows as big as river Valley.
The second important god was Lug. He changed constantly into any form and shape. He was able to do all the human skill like harp-playing, stone masonry, poetry and fighting. He had a spear and sling to be used on giants and making war.
Furthermore, there were war-goddesses called Macha, Morrigan and Badb. Sometime, one of them took on the shape of crow and landed on a warrior's head. It was a sign that his hour of death has come.
A well know Celtic hero was Cuchulainn, 'the hound of Ulster'. He was an Irish Prince. He had great power and abilities. It is said, that he could run so fast that if he hit a small ball, as far as he could, with a hurling stick he was able to catch it before it hit the ground.
After the Roman invasion in 43 AD the British Celts became influenced by the Romans. The Roman occupation ended 400 years later. The new invader was the Anglo-Saxons and when they established settlement they pushed the Celts further and further to the west.
However, the Celtic culture stayed in Cornwall, Brittany and in the highlands of Wales and Scotland.   Ireland was never invaded by Romans and Saxons and therefore the Celtic culture survived there most strongly. The raids of the Vikings changed a lot in Ireland in the 9th century. When Elizabeth I in the 16th century established plantations in Ireland it had a devastating effect on the national Celtic culture.
Irish is a 'Goidelic' Gaelic type of language. The same with Scots Gaelic and Manx. A second type of language is Brythoric (Briton), included Welsh, Cornish and Breton. Goidelic was probably spoken by early Celts, while Brythonic was used by later arriving Celts.
Many Europeans are descended from the Celts. Also name of places like London, Paris, Rhine, Danube and Thames are still from the Celts.

No comments:

Post a Comment