History Of The Celts
Famous for terrifying Roman Legions as they charged naked into Battle, the Celts were a collection of tribes with origins in central Europe.
Origins Of The Celts
The exact history and origins of the Celts is contested.
However, it seems that the Celtic Golden Age is generally agreed to have originated in Central Europe from around 1200 BC, with traces going back as far as the Hallstatt culture following the discovery of rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria.
Due to the migration of Germanic Tribes caused by Roman expansion, the Celts eventually settled mainly in Ireland, Wales and Scotland where they emerged as a distinct cultural group with a common linguistic, religious and artistic heritage.
Their existence was first documented in the seventh or eighth century B.C. by the Romans who referred to them as ‘Barbarians’, and it would be this encounter with the Roman Empire that would eventually lead to their demise.
Beginning with the reign of Julius Caesar in the first century B.C., the Romans launched the Gallic Wars, against the Celts. The Roman campaign can best be described as genocidal, killing them by the thousands and destroying their culture in much of mainland Europe.
Julius Ceasar finally triumphed after defeating the Gallic army under the charismatic Celtic Chieftain Vercingetorix despite his noble and valiant attempt to resist the Roman occupation.
Vercingetorix eventually surrendered only to be taken prisoner and paraded in Rome as part of Julius Ceasar’s famous triumph celebrations following his success in the Gallic Wars.
Although Caesar’s Roman armies attempted an invasion of Britain after the defeat of Vercingetorix, they were unsuccessful, and the Celts managed to preserve a homeland for themselves in Britain.
The Queen Boudicca Rebellion
Subdued, the Celts tried to make peace with the Roman occupation. However, following the death of the Iceni King, Prasutagus a revolt erupted.
The King had been an ally of Rome and hoped to ensure the survival of his Kingdom by dividing his Estate between his daughters and King Nero of Rome. When Prasutagus died, however, his lands were taken by Rome and the Iceni lost their status as allies.
His Kingdom was seized as a Roman prize of war, his widow Queen Boudicca flogged, and their daughters raped. Humiliated, the Iceni Queen Boudicca led a fierce revolt.
After a series of victories and fierce battles, Queen Boudicca was defeated and she is said to have committed suicide by poisoning herself after her defeat.
Her legacy nevertheless continues to be a source of pride and inspiration today.
Celtic Religion & Legacy
The Druids were a Priestly class of the Ancient Celts, acting as Priests at rituals and Judges in religious matters.
They were also responsible for passing on Celtic oral traditions.
Perhaps their most notable role was that of Ancient Astronomers, as keepers of the Ancient Stellar knowledge and Religion dating from Ancient Sumeria, Egypt and Babylon which they practiced at Stonehenge.
With the arrival of Christianity, Catholicism replaced the Ancient Celtic beliefs following the mass killing of the Druids. Nevertheless, elements of the Ancient Celtic Culture and Religion continue to survive with Stonehenge standing as a lasting monument to Celtic heritage.
Our featured documentary ‘The Celts’ is a remarkable History of this proud Warrior Nation.
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