01 мая 2013

So, who were the Celts and where are they from?

The Celts were an ancient people reputed to be of Indo-European origin who dwelled in Western Europe. Eventually they were driven to the fringes of Western Europe by the powerful Romans and many of the Germanic tribes of the time. 

The Celts probably came from the distant steppes beyond the Caspian Sea. By 500 BC they were living in northeastern France, southwestern Germany, and Bohemia. The Celts, who were also called Gauls, continued to migrate in all directions. About 400 BC Celtic tribes crossed the Swiss Alps into northern Italy. After capturing the fertile Po Valley region, they laid siege to Rome. At the same time other groups of Celts pushed down into France and Spain, eastward to Asia Minor, and westward to the British Isles. To what is now France they gave the ancient name of Gaul.

The name "Celt" was made by the ancient Greeks, who called the barbarian peoples of central Europe "Keltoi". The Celts were not a broad cultural genetic race, they were a broad cultural-linguistic group. The area where they lived became a constantly changing collection of tribal 'nations.' The Celts were never an 'empire' ruled by one government.

The oldest archaeological evidence of the Celts comes from Hallstatt, Austria, near Salzburg. Excavated graves of chieftains there, dating from about 700 BC, exhibit an Iron Age culture (one of the first in Europe), which received in Greek trade such luxury items as bronze and pottery vessels. It would appear that these wealthy Celts, based from Bavaria to Bohemia, controlled trade routes along the river systems of the Rhône, Seine, Rhine, and Danube and were the predominant and unifying element among the Celts.

The name 'Iron Age' comes from the discovery of a new metal called iron. We can find out a lot about the Celts through looking at objects made of iron and other materials which have survived over time, such as the Tal-y-Llyn plaque.
The brass plaque was found in 1963 on Cadair Idris in north Wales. The pair of plaques are decorated with human faces. The faces have staring eyes, and straight hair. Archaeologists believe that the head was greatly respected by the Celts.