Celtic Culture

 

 

Celtic History

The Merging OF Cultures

Here we have a general overview of how the Celtic cultures have risen through the ages. It includes the many nations that have been, or have influenced, by the Celtic culture we see today.

 Castle Ruins

 
Early_Medivial_Sculpture_Stone_Scotland

Many of us believe that our nations are separate from each other. However, as we go back through history we find that we are more related than many might think.

The pre-Christian Celts were made up of a well-organized social structure. It was based on both class and kinship with the religion we now call Celtic polytheism. Elected Kings led the tribes and society was divided into three groups:

  • A warrior aristocracy
  • An intellectual class which included Druids, poets, and jurists,
  • And everyone else.

Women participated in both warfare and in kingship. All the offices of high and low kings were filled by election under the system of tanistry. Both of these factors confused Norman writers who expected the feudal principle of primogeniture - where the crown succession would always go to the first born son.

Little is known of family structure, but Athenaeus in his Deipnosophists, 13.603, claims that "the Celts, in spite of the fact that their women are very beautiful, preferred boys as sexual partners. There are some who will regularly go to bed - on those animal skins of theirs with a pair of lovers," implying they were with a woman AND a boy.

I feel it is only fair to show how the Celtic tribes merged together over time. This should give you a general insight into the Celtic path through Europe and on to Britain and Ireland.

On the web you will find many representations of this information. In the following pages I will attempt to give you Celtic history at a glance in the form of a story. Rather than an in depth date specific format and I have provided many links, for those of you who wish to study the history of the Celts in more depth.

View the historical maps here that show the timeline's of the Celtic expansion.

The Celtic culture is one that has touched the hearts of most nations. They were touched either by war, through trade and/or artistic beauty.

A small example of these cultures would be: Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France (i.e. Gaul), Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Russia and the United States.

In my research into the rise of the Celts, I have found many opinions as to the original homeland of the Celts. Dr Proinseas MacCana Suggests, the original homeland was regions of southern Germany and Bohemia and, the author Frank Delainy tells us, Celts lived in the area of Eastern France. If we look at Bohemia we see that its name means (home of the Boii). The Boii were a Celtic people that lived in that area.

The Celts first known homeland was actually in Central Asia - East and West Turkestan, which is N/NW of Tibet. Celtic remains, relics and burial sites have been found by British Archaeological expeditions dating back to the 1920's and still continuing today (with the permission of the Chinese governement).

These finds have been carbon dated back over 25,000 years B.C. Among the many findings are kilts, tartan woolen clothing, typicall(of the Celts) engraved knives and swords and even blonde and red hair on the skulls they have found.

The Celts were even the first known ancients to domesticate the horse and use them (OVER 20,000 years ago). Most assuredly the great Genghis Kahn was of direct Celtic heritage, based on all this historical eveidence. This should help explain his many successes during his reign!

NOTE: In fact British archeologists have been working in digs in that region for decades. They have proven, through the artifacts and skeletons they have found, that Celt inhabited the aerea over 20,000 years ago. They have even uncovered several "red haired" corpse's.

In another revelation eveidence has been found of the Celtic race in North America dating back over 50,000 years! So I gues Christopher Columbus DIDN'T discover America...

More on these new revelations coming soon so check back often.

The Celtic culture became very well established throughout Europe - including most of Spain. Then around 400 B.C the Celtic tribes merged on Northern Italy and dominated its lands to form what was known as, Gallia Cisalpina.

Next they laid siege to the Great City of Rome. Following what must have been a great battle, they took over and occupied Rome for their very own. The Romans paid them a ransom of 1,000 pounds pure gold to leave their fair sity and not return. Being the warrior tribes they were this suited them just fine as they were NOT into city living! 

Meanwhile In the east the Celts continued to conquer lands in which many decided to settle. A section of these Celts entered into the lands of Greece and plundered the famous shrine of Apollo, at Delphi.

Later there became a unification of three different tribes known as, Galatae or in Greek (keltoi) who eventually settled in Galatia. By this time most of Britain was well within the Celtic realm.

The Celts then entered a period of decline as they where pushed from several sides. In time even Gaul (France) was conquered by Caesar and incorporated into the Roman Empire.

In the fifth century most of Britain was also a part of the Roman Empire. Throughout all these periods Ireland suffered no major incursions. That is until ninth century when the Vikings first arrived. It is far these reasons that Ireland's language, then known as Geodelic (Gaelic), was kept intact.

The social structure of the Iron Age Celtic society was very, very highly developed. In fact it was several hundred years ahead of other cultures in existence at the time!

It was a tribal society bonded together by a complex system of laws and social customs. The established body of Law was known as 'Fenechas' - the law of the Feine (Freemen). It is more commonly called the Brehon Laws. This body served the Celtics for centuries.

The most common collection of the Brehon Laws was codified in 438 A.D. by the order of Laighaire - one of the High Kings of Ireland. The proceedings by which this codification work was done was by three Kings, three Brehona (the Recitors of the Law) and by three Christian missionaries.

By this act the Pagan "FilĂ­" and Christian monks came together and worked out a complete set of workable laws for peoples of both religions. The body of that law has been transmitted to us in the volumes known as the "Senchus Mor".

Senchus Mor Sample

The body of Law known as Brehon Law, as contained in the Senchus Mor is the body of the national law. However, in the Celtic societies national law was secondary to local law. Whether local or national it was the Brehons who acted as the recitors of the Law.

 

There has also been confusion about who acted as the "judge". Actually it was the nobility who acted as such. As stated the Brehons were the recitors of the Law.

NOTE: Acccording to all historical information the Celtics had NO written language. Therefore, all knowledge, history, laws, etc. had to be memorized and passed down verbally from one generation to the next. The "barbs" would then recite that knowledge back to the clan as required.

After the Brehon would recite the Law then, only then, could the King or Queen render a decision. This is why lore is replete with examples of the Kings or Queens Druid, actually the Ard-Fili, having the right to speak before the King.

If the Brehon, who was a member of the intellectual/skilled caste, recited the law incorrectly they were expected to forfeit their fee and pay damage costs. The Brehon laws were responsible for regulating how people would interact. Hospitality, etiquette and other things were set out in ways that left very, VERY little room for any doubt. The codes of behavior, established in the Law, were such that ALL members of a family were bound by it and had to adhere to it.

There were also codes of behavior and levels of responsibility that were spelled out in the laws for each of the social groups. The more responsibility a social group might have meant the more restrictions that were placed on them. Status was determined by the ownership of cattle and a very few other things. In the early Celtic society there was no concept of land ownership. This stands in sharp contrast to the Roman and Anglo patterns of measuring wealth.

The Druids carried out sacrifices of crops, animals, and during specific festivals, even humans. In Celtic society, people were never executed for their crimes except during these festivals. Depending on what god the execution was dedicated to the executions were varied. Among the most famous is the human sacrifices practiced in the course of Essus worship.

Join with me as we journey through the ancestral homes of Ireland and Scotland and the treasures of the Celtic culture throughout the world.

Lost Treasures Of The Ancient World - The Celts 1

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Lost Treasures Of The Ancient World - The Celts 2

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