Who Were The Celts?
The Celtic peoples, including some of their customs.
Ancestors of Anglo-Sacon peoples, the Celts first emerged around the year 1000 B.C. as a separate identifiable
people in an area near the source of the Danube. The arrival of the Celtic peole into the British isles is estimated to be near
800 B.C. There has been renewed interest recently, in all things Celtic.
A Celtic warrior often gained the advantage in battle by using his frightful appearance as an effective weapon. He
would go into combat naked, with his hair matted with lime and war paint on his body and face. The enemy would lose heart
at the sight of such a demonic image.
Heroes of Celtic Society followed strict rules of martial conduct. Their behavior became the role model for the
Medieval code of chivalry.
Feasting was the yard stick for measuring a man's status. A good host was judged (not unlike today) by the size of
the feast, the quality of the food and the number of important guests present. Important matters were discussed and decided
at the feast.
Music was very significant in Celtic society. It's believed the Celts may have assigned certain modes of music to
different seasons and time of the day. They believed music had healing qualities and could calm a savage. This great love for
song and story nearly amounted to an addiction. This explains the high power of the Bards, who were the masters of the
harp, among other things. The three basic instruments of the Celts were the harp, the pipe and the crotta, which is similar to
Some believe the story of Merlin the Magician (from Arthurian Legend) is based on a very accomplished Bard
Nobles of the society were known as chieftains. They had the privilege of owning land and their economy was
established based on farming. In addition, they raised pigs, cattle, sheep and horses. It's interesting to note Celtic women
could also inherit properties, and occupy positions of high authority.
Generally, the Celts were a democratic people. Major decisions were often made by consent of assembled freemen.
Law was believed to have been divinely ordained and even a Celtic king adhered closely to it.
Symbols, such as the Celtic cross, show up often in stone work and art work. The cross contains the elements of
the mortal journey toward eternal life. The cross holds the processional paths each person must travel to reach the center.
The spirals in the pattern represent the entryway to the peace and joy of eternal life.