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Who Were The Celts, What Was Their Reputation And Was It Justified?

1062 words - 5 pages

The Celts; to some of us these words conjure up thoughts of the Irish people and maybe even your favourite football team, but to those of you reading this who wish to be better educated, the ancient Celts were a culture; a group if you wish , of people who inhabited a vast area of ancient Europe. They spread from as far east as Galatia (modern-day turkey), to the western point of the British Isles. The Celts originated in central Europe and were believed to have spread out from there. The Celts were not an empire, or even a civilisation, no the Celts were a way of life, a culture. To be a Celt meant living the Celtic way of life but could these people ever give themselves a nationality could ...view middle of the document...

It is from the Greek 'Keltoi' that Celt is derived. All available written sources about the Celts were from Greek and roman sources who when they wrote about them were mainly hostile and prejudicial towards the Celts. Julius Cæser wrote of his encounter of the Celts particularly those from Gaul in his book 'The conquest of Gaul'.There were considered to be three main phases in the Celtic culture. These are Urnfield, Halstatt and the most well known LaTene. The LaTene phase began in c.500BC and by c.100BC it has spread all over Europe. During the span of these 300 years the LaTene Celts begin to trade and practice warfare within their own tribes and with the other nations of the European world.There was a definite hierarchal structure within the Celts. Celtic LaTene society was largely agricultural and tribal. Like most ancient societies, there were privileged families - aristocrats - in each tribe. There were also privileged groups such as priests and craftsmen. A writer, Strabo tells us there were three groups of men who were held in high esteem in each tribe - the bards, the vates and the druids. The bards were singers and poets, the vates were philosophers and the druids were religious men who carried out human and animal sacrifices (such as the wicker man) to the gods and dispensed justice. Craftsmen were considered especially important. The majority of the people in the tribe were the peasantry. But even among the peasants there was a system of hierarchy which usually consisted of the mad at the head of the household. There was a government in the tribes which was believed to consist of chieftains and kings. Julius Cæser in his writings in "The Conquest of Gaul" said 'In Gaul, not only every tribe, canton, subdivision of a canton, but almost every family is divided into rival factions. At the...

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