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The Celts


The Celts

The Celts were ancient Europeans who had their glory days roughly from 700 - 100 BC.

The term Celt, which you can also spell Kelt, stems from the Latin word Celta. One Celta, two Celtae.


Image Above

Celtic design on the Battersea Shield.
Length: 77 cm or 30 in. Iron Age, 350-50 BC. Found in the River Thames at Battersea Bridge, London, England. Scroll down for a photograph of the entire shield.

The British Museum, London.


The History of the Celts

The earliest Celtic civilizations known are the Hallstatt Culture (located in today's Austria) and the La Tène Culture (located in today's Switzerland.)

From central Europe, the Celts migrated into all directions.

Here is the map

Ancient Europe - Celtic Tribes
Ancient Europe - Celtic Tribes



Herodotus, who lived 484-425 BC, spelled the Celts Keltoi.

Lookie here.


But for the Greeks, the term Keltoi generally referred to all northern foreigners.

The British Museum tells us that,

Often all Iron Age people are called ‘Celts’, but in fact many different sorts of people lived in different parts of Britain and Europe at this time.


Celtic Shield - The Battersea Shield - British Museum London
Celtic Shield — The Battersea Shield
British Museum, London



To the Romans, the Celtic tribes were known as Gauls. Or so tells us Julius Caesar in The Gallic Wars, Book 1, Chapter 1:

All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in our Gauls, the third.

All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws.

The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae.



Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest, because they are furthest from the civilization and refinement of [our] Province, and merchants least frequently resort to them, and import those things which tend to effeminate the mind; and they are the nearest to the Germans, who dwell beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually waging war; for which reason the Helvetii also surpass the rest of the Gauls in valor, as they contend with the Germans in almost daily battles, when they either repel them from their own territories, or themselves wage war on their frontiers.

One part of these, which it has been said that the Gauls occupy, takes its beginning at the river Rhone; it is bounded by the river Garonne, the ocean, and the territories of the Belgae; it borders, too, on the side of the Sequani and the Helvetii, upon the river Rhine, and stretches toward the north. The Belgae rises from the extreme frontier of Gaul, extend to the lower part of the river Rhine; and look toward the north and the rising sun.

Aquitania extends from the river Garonne to the Pyrenaean mountains and to that part of the ocean which is near Spain: it looks between the setting of the sun, and the north star.



The Celts, or Gauls, sacked Milan in 396 BC and Rome in 390 BC and only left after having received a truckload of money from the locals in order to leave them alone.


Celtic Bracelet - British Museum London
Celtic Bracelet
These and other absolutely amazing Celtic designs can be explored at the British Museum, London.


The Celtic Tribes

Here is a list of the major Celtic tribes:

The Aedui
The Allobroges
The Aquitani
The Arverni
The Atrebates

The Belgae
The Bituriges
The Boii

The Carnutes
The Celtiberi
The Celtici (Celtae)

The Dardani
The Dumnonii

The Gallaeci
The Galli

The Helvetii

The Iceni
The Insubres

The Lingones
The Lusitani

The Nori

The Parisii
The Pictones

The Scordisci
The Senones
The Sequani
The Siturii

The Tectosages
The Treveri

The Veneti
The Vocontii
The Volcae




Here are more maps

Ancient Britain - Tribes
Britain - Tribes in Ancient Britain


1st Century BC - Celtic Britain and Northern Gaul - Tribes


Roman Empire 117 AD
AD 117 Roman Empire (Shepherd)


And here is more on the Stone Age / Bronze Age / Iron Age.


See also Roman Britain






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