The Celts are called tribes of Indo-European origin in antiquity and at the turn of the eras occupied vast areas in Western and Central Europe. It was a very militant people, who in 390 BC. even captured and plundered Rome. But internecine wars weakened the militant people. As a result, the Germans and Romans drove the Celts out of their lands. These tribes remained surrounded by numerous secrets, intrigues, and, therefore, myths. Let’s try to understand who they really were.
Celts lived in the territory of modern Britain and Ireland.
It is difficult to say anything definite about the origin of the Celts. Some historians believe that they inhabited Britain 3200 years ago, and others believe that long before that. But one thing is clear – the migration of the Celts began around 400 BC. from Central Europe. Tribes began to spread in all directions, but to the south they had to face strong Romans. It turned out that the bellicose, but scattered Celts were opposed by a single unified empire. The tribes constantly fought each other, not thinking about unification against a common enemy. As a result, some of the tribes were completely destroyed, others obeyed the Romans, adopting their culture, and still others went to remote corners of the world – to Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There still exist communities of modern Celts who even seek to preserve their culture. And in their travels the Celts reached even Greece and Egypt.
The Celts fought naked.
When mentioning the Celts, there will always be one who will mention their traditions to fight naked with a gold bandage around the neck, cervical hryvnia. This myth of the Celts is one of the most popular. But one has only to think about such an assertion, as his absurdity becomes immediately understandable. And there was this false assertion thanks to the Romans. Today, practically all the information we possess about these ancient tribes is derived from the records of historians of Rome. There is no doubt that they exaggerated their exploits, and described the enemy as absolutely primitive savages. In this case, history was created by the victors, whether it was worth expecting from it honesty in relation to the defeated? But there is another side to this story. Celts lived in the period of history, called the Iron Age. Then instead of bronze just started using iron. It went on the manufacture of armor, weapons and tools. Celts had the opportunity to arm themselves with swords, axes, hammers, create metal armor, chain mail, rivet skin. Given the existence of armor, it would be foolish to assume that the soldiers refused them and fought naked.
Druids were ancient wizards.
For that time, the Celtic druids were really powerful characters. They did not just wear white clothes and made human sacrifices, but did really incredible things. The Druids acted as advisers to tribal chiefs and even kings. With their help laws were born, just as today the English parliament “offers” the queen to sign acts. The Druids often acted as judges, monitoring compliance with the rules they had introduced. For the Celts, the Druids were the embodiment of wisdom. No wonder they were supposed to study for 20 years to earn such a title. Druids possessed knowledge in the field of astronomy, they kept folk traditions and cultivated natural philosophy. Celtic mudrayshins reported to villagers when they should start sowing works. The Druids even believed that they were able to predict the future.
Celtic traditions died with them.
Thanks to the Celtic druids, one interesting tradition has appeared and survived, which we know today. The fact is that at that time the oak was considered a sacred tree. The Druids believed that the gods lived in everything that surrounds us, including in rocks, water, plants. No less holy thing than oak, was the mistletoe, which on it just grew.Beliefs in virtue of these plants are still preserved today. It is no accident that in the English-speaking world there is a tradition for Christmas to kiss under the mistletoe.
Celtic women were moody.
Based on the assumption that the Celts were savages (thanks to the Romans!), It is logical and women to consider them morose and downtrodden. But this is a myth. In fact, Celtic women could be very powerful and powerful, own their own land and even divorce at will. For those times, such freedoms seem incredible. Roman women were essentially limited in rights, but in the Celts women could make a career, climbing the social ladder. High status could, as inheritance, and be acquired through merit. The Celts were followed by the landowners for the leader. If such a woman turned out to be, then she went to battle. In fact, among the Celts, female warriors even taught boys and girls martial arts. Women could even become druids, creating the laws of society. These norms protected everyone in the tribe of the Celts, including the elderly, sick and infirm, children. It was believed that the latter are still innocent, so they should be protected. But in Roman society, children were often thrown, leaving to die hungry in garbage dumps. So the Celts were not at all savages, as the Romans convince us.
The Celts did not build roads.
It is difficult to argue with the fact that it was thanks to the Roman engineers that a network of roads appeared that enveloped the whole of Europe. In fact, you can not agree with this. After all, long before the Romans, a whole network of wooden roads was built by the Celts, connecting the neighboring tribes. These ways of communication allowed the Celts to engage in trade with each other. Just the wooden roads were short-lived, from this material there was practically nothing left – it rotted. But today in the swamps of France, England and Ireland, there are still some wooden planks, parts of the road. Proceeding from the fact that the Romans could not conquer Ireland, we can safely assume that the old boards were created by the Celts, as part of the roadway. In the same Ireland there is the Corlea Trail, on which there are many parts of the old road. In some places it was even reconstructed, so that you could see the way in which the Celtic tribes moved in due time.
The Celts had strange, but monotonous helmets.
Based on the fact that the Celts had metal armor, it is logical to assume the existence and the corresponding helmets. They were often unusual – the Celts did not hesitate to experiment with the design. One such piece of equipment was found in the Romanian village of Chumeşti, where these tribes also climbed. Here, archaeologists have found an old cemetery dating back to the Iron Age. Among 34 graves there was one that belonged to the Celtic leader. He was buried along with numerous items, among which were bronze axes and rich armor. It was believed that they were supposed to help the deceased in the afterlife. But stood out among all the vestments of an unusual helmet. On it an unknown master forged a large bird of prey, spreading its bronze wings. The design of this decoration looks unusual – the bird’s wings were suspended on hinges, so when the helmet owner walked, the creature seemed to fly. Historians believe that the fluttering helmet in battle was still quite impractical and the leader wore it only in special cases. But the helmet became one of the most famous and copied masterpieces of Celtic art. Even Asterisk and Obelix have something similar.
The Celts only thought about who to fight with.
This people became famous not only for their travels, but also for the love of battles. However, the Celts fought though on anyone’s side, but not for free. These soldiers took even mercenaries King Ptolemy II, a representative of the glorious Egyptian dynasty. And the European tribes turned out to be so cool soldiers that the king was afraid that they could seize his country.Ptolemy therefore ordered the Celts to be landed on an uninhabited island in the Nile. Met with the Celts and the Greeks. In those days, the tribes were expanding their territories. Those events are known in history as the Gallic invasion of the Balkans. Its culmination was the Delphic battle, which ended in the defeat of uninvited guests. The matter is that once again the scattered Celts were opposed by the trained combined armies. So in 270 BC. The Celts were expelled from Delphi.
The Celts cut off their heads to their enemies.
This fact is almost the most famous about the Celts, it is still truthful. Indeed, the tribes led a very real bounty hunt. It was this part of the body of the defeated enemy that was considered the coveted trophy for the Celts. That is the reason – the religion that claimed the existence of spirits in all things. So the human head seemed to be the place where the souls of defeated enemies live. The warrior who had such a collection was honored. And the heads of the enemies around gave the Celts self-confidence, a sense of significance. It was customary to decorate the severed heads of enemies and saddles, and the doors of houses. It was something about owning a collection of luxury expensive cars in the modern world. Today people brag about a new stylish car, and then they boasted of the head of a powerful hostile leader who appeared in the collection.
The Celts were a poor people.
To debunk this myth, it’s a little worth to plunge into history. For the time being, the Celts and Romans peacefully coexisted side by side. But then Julius Caesar appeared on the stage. His political career was not developing, and he was burdened with burdensome debts. It seemed obvious that a small victorious war against primitive barbarians, the Celts, could correct the situation. The Gallic wars are often considered the most important military manifestation of the genius of Julius Caesar. Thanks to that campaign, the border of the empire began to expand rapidly. Together with this, Caesar, one by one, was defeated by the Celtic tribes and captured their territories. This victory changed the fate of the area known in the ancient world, like Gallia, with the Celtic tribes living on it. Caesar himself gained fame and influence. But why did he attack Gaul? The Roman himself wrote that he tried to throw back the barbarian tribes that threatened Rome. But historians see the reasons somewhat differently. One of these predatory tribes was the Helvetians who lived near the Alps. Caesar promised them protection when moving to Gaul. But then Rome changed his mind, and the barbarians decided to act independently. Caesar said that it is necessary to protect the Celts who lived in Gaul. As a result, the Romans exterminated more than a quarter of a million “invaders”, in the process of protecting the territories were destroyed, and almost all of the Celts. Gaul herself became part of a powerful empire. And this has most direct relation to wealth. Caesar needed money to pay off his debts and gain influence for his career. Not only that Gallia brought him the glory of the commander, this territory was very rich in gold deposits. It was known that the Celts have gold coins and ornaments, but it was believed that they were obtained during the course of the trade. But Caesar did not believe this. It turned out that there were more than four hundred gold mines in the territory of Gaul. This indicated the incredible wealth of the Celts, which was the reason for Caesar’s interest in them. It is interesting that Rome began to mint his gold coins just after the conquest of Gaul.
Celts were poorly educated.
Again, it is worthwhile to understand that the Romans tried in every possible way to expose their rivals in the most evil light. In fact, this people was not at all as simple as it is represented. Moreover, the Celts owned something that even the Romans did not have – an accurate calendar. Yes, there was the Julian calendar, but the Celts had their own calendar from Coligny. He was found in this French city in 1897, which gave the name of the discovery.Not only does he have an unusual appearance, so the calendar was made of mysterious metal plates with numerous markings: holes, numbers, lines, a set of Greek and Roman letters. For a hundred years, scientists could only understand that they are dealing with a calendar, but the principle of his work remained a mystery. Only in 1989 the invention of the Celts could be deciphered. It turned out that the find was a solar-lunar calendar, which on the basis of the cycles of the appearance of heavenly bodies was calculated by the time of the year. For that state of civilization, the calendar was very accurate, being an advanced invention. With the help of it, the Celts could predict where the sun would be in the sky in the coming months. This finding clearly demonstrated that the Celts had developed scientific and mathematical thinking. It would be curious to compare the invention of the “barbarians” with the calendar used by the Romans. It was also considered quite accurate for its time, having an error with a real solar calendar of only 11.5 minutes a year. But over the centuries this error quickly accumulates. As a result, in our time, the Romans would have celebrated the beginning of spring when we had August in our yard. But the Celtic calendar, even today, could correctly predict the time of year. So the Romans had much to learn from the “uneducated” barbarians.