The Ancient Celts

Interesting facts about the ancient Celts
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Who were the Celts?

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Please enter a valid password. Keep me logged in. Want an ad-free experience? Subscribe to Independent Premium. The Roman historian Tacitus recorded their version of the events:. All around, the Druids, lifting up their hands to heaven, and pouring forth dreadful imprecations, scared our soldiers by the unfamiliar sight, so that, as if their limbs were paralysed, they stood motionless, and exposed to wounds. It is said that the Roman soldiers, ordered on by their Generals, went on to kill many of the Druids, and destroyed the oak groves. While the Roman army was in North Wales, something very dramatic was happening in the south east of Britain.

The Iceni chieftain, Prasutagus, had made a will bequeathing half his wealth to his family and half to the Roman Emperor.

When he died a company of Roman soldiers came to collect, and ignoring the will of Prasutagus, decided to take control of all the lands and assets. Boudicca was justifiably enraged, and sent messages to her neighbouring tribes, asking them to join her in rising up. With Boudicca chosen as their leader, they went to Camulodunum, destroyed the temple of Claudius and killed the local people and Roman soldiers.

Next they descended on Londinium London and burnt down the town. By this time Suetonius Paulinus had gathered Roman reinforcements as he journeyed south, eventually leading an army of almost 10, men. We can envisage their route if we think about the present-day A5 road. Meanwhile Boudicca must have been told that they were coming, and led her army north to meet them. Tacitus recorded a speech that Boudicca allegedly gave before the battle, some of which is presented below:.

Beginning with the reign of Julius Caesar in the first century B.

Complete Guide to Celtic Mythology

In the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar reported that the people known to the Romans as Gauls (Latin: Galli) called themselves. The Celts were a collection of tribes with origins in central Europe that shared Descendants of the Galatians still participate in ancient outdoor.

As a result, many of their cultural traditions remain evident in present-day Ireland, Scotland and Wales, even now. Several tribes made up the larger population of the Celtic people. The Galatians occupied much of the Asturias region of what is now northern Spain, and they successfully fought off attempted invasions by both the Romans and the Moors, the latter ruling much of present-day southern Spain. Evidence of Galatian tradition remains in the region today. Descendants of the Galatians still participate in ancient outdoor dances, accompanied by bagpipes, an instrument that is often associated with more well-known Celtic regions such as Scotland and Ireland.

Britons and Gauls settled in the northwestern corner of present-day France, the region known today as Brittany. Celtic tradition survived in the region as it was geographically isolated from the rest of France, and many festivals and events can trace their origins to Celtic times. This incursion effectively pushed the Britons on the island west to Wales and Cornwall and north to Scotland.

The wall was designed to protect the conquering Roman settlers from the Celts who had fled north. In Wales, called Cymru by the Celts, the native tongue—Welsh—is a Celtic language, and it is still widely spoken in the region. Similarly, in Cornwall the westernmost county in England, and near Wales , many residents still speak Cornish, which is similar to Welsh and Breton. Of course, the bagpipes, the musical instrument for which Scotland is arguably best known, can also trace their origin to Celtic times. This enabled the Celtic tribes that had settled there—namely, the Gaels and the Irish—to survive, and allowed their culture to flourish.

When Christianity arrived in Ireland with St. Patrick in A. In addition, many Celtic folklore stories, such as the legend of Cu Chulainn, are still told in Ireland. Like Welsh, the Irish language of Gaelic is a Celtic language. Gaelic largely disappeared in the 19th century, when the English colonized Ireland, but the language is still spoken in the western part of the country. Across Europe, the Celts have been credited with many artistic innovations, including intricate stone carving and fine metalworking.

As a result, elaborate Celtic designs in artifacts crafted from gold, silver and precious gemstones are a major part of museum collections throughout Europe and North America.