Whenever you describe the Celts to many people, they think of Celtic warriors who passionately protected their homeland while simultaneously trying to expand and conquer new territory. This is the picture that comes to mind when you discuss the Celts. However, this is just a small portion of what the Celts were all about since, in actuality, they had a highly complicated culture that requires more research. In this article, we will present you with an in-depth look at ten facts about the Celts that you most likely did not know before reading this.
There is no evidence that the Celts kept written records of their history.
There is no evidence of any writing system that was used in Celtic culture; while there are occasional text fragments, there is no true record of events that occurred in the past. Caesar said in De Bello Gallico that the Druids did not want to commit their knowledge to write, despite the fact that they did utilize Greek script for the majority of their other works.
Rather than writing down their knowledge, the Celts kept alive an oral legacy of learning that was passed down via the druids and academics for hundreds of years. In the culture of the Celts, having a good memory and being able to learn things by heart were considered to be quite admirable traits.
On the other hand, archaeologists have discovered relics of inscriptions written in languages such as Greek and Latin in Celtic communities. The majority of documented records of the Celts were from Greek and Roman sources. These sources were inevitably prejudiced since the Greeks and Romans saw the Celts as their adversary. Since this is the reason why we have so many papers that suggest the Celts were barbarians, we need to take these assertions with a grain of salt considering the origin of the material included in these documents. The artwork of the Celts provides us with more insight into their culture and lifestyle.
The Celtic language survived to be spoken after the Roman occupation.
At one point in history, people believed that as the Romans invaded Celtic countries, their native languages died out along with them. Even though Manx and Cornish are no longer spoken, contemporary versions of Celtic languages are still used today. For instance, Manx was deemed to be extinct as a first language in 1974, yet modern forms of Celtic languages are still used today.
Ancient Celtic languages such as Pictish, Lusitanian, Celtiberian, and Lepontic are no longer spoken today but may have lasted for several hundred years after Celtic tribes were “Romanized.” Examples of these languages are Pictish, Lusitanian, Celtiberian, and Lepontic. In point of fact, Celtic languages were widely used up until the Middle Ages, but after that, their usage started to wane as a direct result of the lack of unity that existed among Celtic people. There were several different groups, all of which engaged in conflict with one another. While the Celts were busy fighting among themselves, the Anglo-Saxons managed to spread their civilization among the various Celtic tribes.
There is No Evidence That the Celts Lived in a Primitive or Savage State.
The Romans, the Greeks, and other sources represented the Celts as primitive savages. This portrayal of the Celts is essentially a blatant falsehood, as we indicated earlier. As was just said, the Celts were successful in establishing a complex and highly developed network of trade long before the Romans themselves managed to accomplish this objective.
The Romans used something called the Julian calendar, but the Celts used something called the Coligny calendar. This calendar got its name because it was discovered at Coligny, which is located in France, in the year 1897. It is made up of several different pieces of metal, all of which are engraved with various marks, such as numerals, lines, and holes. Around a century was necessary for the most knowledgeable people in the world to decipher the meaning of the symbols on this Celtic calendar.
In 1989, it was found that the discovery was a lunar-solar calendar that estimated the time of the year based on the cycles of the moon and the sun. A very precise clock, the calendar was able to forecast the location of the sun up to many months in advance. In point of fact, it is even more accurate than its Roman equivalent, which is “incorrect” by an average of 11.5 minutes every year.
The Celts were renowned for their skill as warriors.
We already know that the Celts enjoyed a good battle, but it is a common misconception that they lacked discipline in comparison to their Roman contemporaries. Despite this, the Celts were very well-trained and were then capable of competing on equal footing with any army they encountered. Because of their stellar reputation as fighters, King Ptolemy II of Egypt recruited Celtic mercenaries in the third century B.C. to assist him in his military campaigns. Ptolemy, on the other hand, thought that they were a little bit too excellent for his tastes; since he was afraid that they might turn against him, he had them exiled to an uninhabited island in the Nile!
As opposed to a deficiency in military preparation, the Celtic people’s lack of cohesion was one of the primary contributors to their defeat at the hands of the Romans. It was customary for Celtic tribes to battle among themselves, which provided the Romans with an opportunity to unite together and vanquish a formidable adversary.
By the way, the Celts did NOT engage in combat while nude. As a matter of fact, they protected themselves with metal plates, chain mail, and leather padding.
Women Celt warriors were a sight to behold. Women in Celtic culture often battled alongside their male counterparts. Boudicca, the Warrior Queen of the Iceni, and her valiant soldiers were the most famous of the Iceni’s brave warriors on the battlefield.
The Celts Enjoyed Tremendous Wealth.
Julius Caesar’s desire to amass wealth was a significant motivating factor in his decision to engage in the Gallic Wars. Historians think that the mythical general’s primary objective was to seize control of the magnificent gold riches that were located in Celtic Gaul, despite the fact that he claimed that he was only pushing back barbarous bounds.
There is No Evidence That the Celts Originated in Ireland or Scotland.
In spite of the fact that the name “Celtic” has become associated with people of Scottish or Irish heritage, the Celts were really from an entirely other section of Europe in their original homeland. Although the Greeks had contact with them in the century before, the Celts do not appear in the historical record until the 5th century BC. This is despite the fact that the Greeks had met them in the century before.
By the time they are recorded in historical sources, the Celts had already expanded out throughout a number of nations in Europe’s ‘Alpine’ area, including Spain, France, and a number of others (Austria and Switzerland among others). However, many academics believe that the Celts came from Western Mid-Europe as a part of the Urnfield Culture, which started about 1300 BC.
The Celts were not only fearless warriors but also brilliant philosophers, inventors, builders, and makers of art and architecture. The lack of cohesiveness among them was the primary flaw in their organization, and it would eventually lead to their demise.