Prehistoric Wales part two The Celts The evidence suggests that by the first century AD, the language spoken in Wales - and throughout southern Britain - was Brythonic, a Celtic language closely related to the Gaulish of Gaul. Other aspects of British society, its class structure, for example, and the beliefs and practices of its priesthood, are also considered to have had links with Gaul.
The religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Celts. The Celts, an ancient Indo-European people, reached the apogee of their influence and territorial expansion during the 4th century BC, extending across the length of Europe from Britain to Asia Minor. From the 3rd century BC onward their history is one of decline and disintegration, and with Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul BC Celtic independence came to an end on the European continent.
In Britain and Ireland this decline moved more slowly, but traditional culture was gradually eroded through the pressures of political subjugation; today the Celtic languages are spoken only on the western periphery of Europe, in restricted areas of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany in this last instance largely as a result of immigration from Britain from the 4th to the 7th century AD.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the unsettled and uneven history of the Celts has affected the documentation of their culture and religion. Sources Two main types of sources provide information on Celtic religion: Both pose problems of interpretation.
Most of the monuments, and their accompanying inscriptions, belong to the Roman period and reflect a considerable degree of syncretism between Celtic and Roman gods; even where figures and motifs appear to derive from pre-Roman tradition, they are difficult to interpret in the absence of a preserved literature on mythology.
Only after the lapse of many centuries--beginning in the 7th century in Ireland, even later in Wales--was the mythological tradition consigned to writing, but by then Ireland and Wales had been Christianized and the scribes and redactors were monastic scholars.
The resulting literature is abundant and varied, but it is much removed in both time and location from its epigraphic and iconographic correlatives on the Continent and inevitably reflects the redactors' selectivity and something of their Christian learning.
Given these circumstances it is remarkable that there are so many points of agreement between the insular literatures and the continental evidence. This is particularly notable in the case of the Classical commentators from Poseidonius c. Mercury was the most honored of all the gods and many images of him were to be found.
Mercury was regarded as the inventor of all the arts, the patron of travelers and of merchants, and the most powerful god in matters of commerce and gain. Of these gods they held almost the same opinions as other peoples did: Apollo drives away diseases, Minerva promotes handicrafts, Jupiter rules the heavens, and Mars controls wars.
In characteristic Roman fashion, however, Caesar does not refer to these figures by their native names but by the names of the Roman gods with which he equated them, a procedure that greatly complicates the task of identifying his Gaulish deities with their counterparts in the insular literatures.
He also presents a neat schematic equation of god and function that is quite foreign to the vernacular literary testimony. Yet, given its limitations, his brief catalog is a valuable and essentially accurate witness. In comparing his account with the vernacular literatures, or even with the continental iconography, it is well to recall their disparate contexts and motivations.
As has been noted, Caesar's commentary and the iconography refer to quite different stages in the history of Gaulish religion; the iconography of the Roman period belongs to an environment of profound cultural and political change, and the religion it represents may in fact have been less clearly structured than that maintained by the druids the priestly order in the time of Gaulish independence.
On the other hand, the lack of structure is sometimes more apparent than real. It has, for instance, been noted that of the several hundred names containing a Celtic element attested in Gaul the majority occur only once, which has led some scholars to conclude that the Celtic gods and their cults were local and tribal rather than national.
Supporters of this view cite Lucan's mention of a god Teutates, which they interpret as "god of the tribe" it is thought that teuta meant "tribe" in Celtic. The seeming multiplicity of deity names may, however, be explained otherwise--for example, many are simply epithets applied to major deities by widely extended cults.
The notion of the Celtic pantheon as merely a proliferation of local gods is contradicted by the several well-attested deities whose cults were observed virtually throughout the areas of Celtic settlement. According to Caesar the god most honored by the Gauls was "Mercury," and this is confirmed by numerous images and inscriptions.
His Celtic name is not explicitly stated, but it is clearly implied in the place-name Lugudunon "the fort or dwelling of the god Lugus" by which his numerous cult centers were known and from which the modern Lyon, Laon, and Loudun in France, Leiden in The Netherlands, and Legnica in Poland derive.
The Irish and Welsh cognates of Lugus are Lugh and Lleu, respectively, and the traditions concerning these figures mesh neatly with those of the Gaulish god.
An episode in the Irish tale of the Battle of Magh Tuiredh is a dramatic exposition of Lugh's claim to be master of all the arts and crafts, and dedicatory inscriptions in Spain and Switzerland, one of them from a guild of shoemakers, commemorate Lugus, or Lugoves, the plural perhaps referring to the god conceived in triple form.
An episode in the Middle Welsh collection of tales called the Mabinogion, or Mabinogiseems to echo the connection with shoemaking, for it represents Lleu as working briefly as a skilled exponent of the craft. In Ireland Lugh was the youthful victor over the demonic Balar "of the venomous eye.
His proper festival, called Lughnasadh "Festival of Lugh" in Ireland, was celebrated--and still is at several locations--in August; at least two of the early festival sites, Carmun and Tailtiu, were the reputed burial places of goddesses associated with the fertility of the earth as was, evidently, the consort Maia--or Rosmerta ["the Provider"]--who accompanies "Mercury" on many Gaulish monuments.
The Gaulish god "Mars" illustrates vividly the difficulty of equating individual Roman and Celtic deities. A famous passage in Lucan's Bellum civile mentions the bloody sacrifices offered to the three Celtic gods Teutates, Esus, and Taranis; of two later commentators on Lucan's text, one identifies Teutates with Mercury, the other with Mars.
The probable explanation of this apparent confusion, which is paralleled elsewhere, is that the Celtic gods are not rigidly compartmentalized in terms of function.
Thus "Mercury" as the god of sovereignty may function as a warrior, while "Mars" may function as protector of the tribe, so that either one may plausibly be equated with Teutates.
The problem of identification is still more pronounced in the case of the Gaulish "Apollo," for some of his 15 or more epithets may refer to separate deities.
The solar connotations of Belenus from Celtic: Several of his epithets, such as Grannus and Borvo which are associated etymologically with the notions of "boiling" and "heat," respectivelyconnect him with healing and especially with the therapeutic powers of thermal and other springs, an area of religious belief that retained much of its ancient vigour in Celtic lands throughout the Middle Ages and even to the present time.
He appears in medieval Welsh literature as Mabon, son of Modron that is, of Matrona, "Divine Mother"and he evidently figured in a myth of the infant god carried off from his mother when three nights old. His name survives in Arthurian romance under the forms Mabon, Mabuz, and Mabonagrain.
He was the son of Dagda or Daghdachief god of the Irish, and of Boann, the personified sacred river of Irish tradition. In the literature the Divine Son tends to figure in the role of trickster and lover.
There are dedications to "Minerva" in Britain and throughout the Celtic areas of the Continent.This History Learning web site features a series of essays on dozens of Medieval era topics, including the Battle of Hastings, the Bayeux Tapestry, castles, feudalism, the lifestyle of the medieval peasant, the Domesday Book, the medieval church, the Magna Carta, the Black Death, the Crusades, and much more.
The Celts/Gaul's. Many modern scholars describe the historical Celts as a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age Europe. Proto-Celtic culture formed in the Early Iron Age in Central Europe (the Hallstatt period, named for the site in present-day Austria).
Medieval fare. The study of Medieval culture and cuisine is a complicated and facinating topic. There is plenty of information available, from comprehensive academic sources to simple children's books. The Early Slavs: Culture and Society in Early Medieval Eastern Europe [Paul M.
Celts: The Celts - In The - Iron Age. Celtic Origins, History & Mythology - The Druids & Medieval Europe [Michael Hector] on pfmlures.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Celtic influence started during the Iron Age and continued to survive through the time of the Roman EmpireReviews: 6. Only on the fringe of Europe did the Celts manage to keep their distinctive traits and languages--in Brittany, the Isle of Man, Wales, Ireland, and the Scottish Highlands. There traces of Celtic culture still survive in folklore and in the Breton, Manx, Welsh, Erse, and Gaelic languages. Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2, years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern.
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Celtic Origins, History & Mythology - The Druids & Medieval Europe (Enya, Romans, Celtic Gods, History, Xinjiang, Vikings, Saxons Book 1) - Kindle edition by Michael Hector. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or pfmlures.coms: 6. The Book of Kells: Medieval Europe’s greatest treasure?
Monks created an illuminated Bible of astonishing beauty sometime between the 6th and 8th centuries. It’s one of the most cherished.