Who Were Celts?
The Celts were a group of tribes with origins in central Europe who shared a similar language, religious beliefs, traditions, and culture. The name ‘Celts’ was given by ancient writers who stated that these tribes often migrated and eventually occupied territories from Portugal to Turkey. It is said that the Celtic culture started to evolve in the early 1200 B.C. The Celts escalated through Western Europe – including Britain, Ireland, France, and Spain by migrating.
Existence And Discovery
The existence of the Celts was first discovered in the seventh or eighth century B.C. The Celts were referred to as “Galli”, which meant barbarians, by the Roman Empire who ruled most of southern Europe. However, the Celts were anything but barbarians. By the third century B.C., the Celts ran much of the European continent, north of the Alps mountain range, including present-day Great Britain and Ireland.
The Celtic culture was allowed to survive and thrive in these islands that were situated off Europe’s western coast, as the Roman Empire spread across the European continent. The Romans launched a military campaign against the Celts under the order of Julius Caesar in the first century B.C., killing them in huge numbers and demolishing their culture in much of mainland Europe.
During this time, Caesar’s Roman armies aimed to invade Britain, but all their methods went in vain and thus the Celtic people established their homeland there. Due to this, many of their cultural heritages remain noticeable in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, even now.
Scotland, for example, has a football team based in Glasgow called ‘Celtic F.C.’. The name itself spotlights Scotland’s acknowledgment of their origins and past history. There is also a musical group based in Europe called ‘Celtic Thunder’ which also reflects this connection to their history.
Historical Evidence For Celtic Civilization
Historical evidence supporting the discovery of Celts is a very interesting one. Polybius, a Greek historian, published a history of Rome about 150 B.C., in which he describes the Celts of Italy and their conflict with Rome. Pausanias, a Greek traveller, and geographer, in the second century AD, says that the Celts “live on the remotest region of Europe on the coast of an enormous tidal sea”. Posidonius, a Greek Stoic philosopher described the southern Celts about 100 BC.
Celtic coin type “Divyanka” from Divyanka in Slovakia. A coincidental discovery of an ancient Celtic shield in a field in Leicestershire has proved to be a catalyst for archaeologists to understand prehistoric warfare. It has been indicated that the European warriors were able to fight in an even more fluid and fast-moving fashion than previously contemplated. Until now, the archaeologists have found equipment around Europe that suggests that the heaviest of them all that was used by the warriors- their shield- were mainly made of metal or solid timber.
However, the new Midlands uncovering, described by the British Museum as being of international significance, reveals that some of their shields were invented in a particularly sophisticated way to make sure that they were especially light. It is said that they were around three kilos. The archaeologists have unearthed a 2400 years old Celtic shield in the field of Leicestershire which is made from ultra-light bark. They described the Celtics as sharp-witted and quick thinkers who knew from the very beginning how to fight.
Across Europe, the Celts have been ascribed with many artistic alterations, including intricate stone carving and fine metalworking. Therefore, as a result, elaborate Celtic designs in artefacts crafted from gold, silver, and precious gemstones are a crucial part of museum collections across Europe and North America.
In Wales, called Cymru by the Celts, the native tongue- Welsh- is a Celtic language, and it is still broadly spoken in the region. In Cornwall (the westernmost country in England, and near Wales), some speak Cornish, which is very similar to Welsh and Breton.
Also, in Scotland, the Celtic language Scots Gaelic is still spoken, although by a splinter group, and the local affiliate of the British Broadcasting Company is known as BBC Alba, the Celtic name for the province!
Given below are a few interesting facts about Celts:
1. The Celts did not leave behind written accounts.
2. The Celts created a road network before the Romans.
3. The Celts were wealthy.
4. The Celts were groomed.
5. Celtic women often fought alongside the men. A brave warrior on the battlefield, the most renowned was Boudicca – Warrior Queen of the Iceni.
Celtic Civilization is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. People think of them as barbarians which they are not. On the very contrary, they were brave warriors, thinkers, inventors, creators, and builders. The Celts were a strong pack of the tribe; they knew which lands to conquer and worked strategically and meticulously. Their traces are still found in so many parts of Britain, Scotland which shows their power and strength as an alpha tribe in their time.
Also check out 5 Strange Viking Rituals That You Didn’t Know!