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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, two Celtae.
Celtic design on the
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
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 -
Herodotus, who lived 484-425 BC,
spelled the Celts Keltoi.
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
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,
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.
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 Celtici (Celtae)
Here are more maps
Britain - Tribes in Ancient Britain
1st Century BC - Celtic Britain and Northern
Gaul - Tribes
AD 117 Roman Empire
And here is more on the
Stone Age / Bronze Age / Iron Age.