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The Religion of the Ancient Celts

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Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #60 on: April 22, 2010, 11:53:42 am »

easily reached than Ireland by migrating Goidels from the Continent. Prominent Goidelic place-names would become Brythonic, but insignificant places would retain their Goidelic form, and to these we must look for decisive evidence. 7 A Goidelic occupation by the ninth century B.C. is suggested by the name "Cassiterides" (a word of the q group) applied to Britain. If the Goidels occupied Britain first, they may have called their land Qretanis or Qritanis, which Pictish invaders would change to Pretanis, found in Welsh "Ynys Pridain," Pridain's Isle, or Isle of the Picts, "pointing to the original underlying the Greek Πρετανικαῖ Ηῆσοι








p. 17

http://sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/rac/rac05.htm
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Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #61 on: April 23, 2010, 11:24:40 am »

or Pictish Isles," 1 though the change may be due to continental p Celts trading with q Celts in Britain. With the Pictish occupation would agree the fact that Irish Goidels called the Picts who came to Ireland Cruithne = Qritani = Pretani. In Ireland they almost certainly adopted Goidelic speech.

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« Reply #62 on: April 23, 2010, 11:24:49 am »

Whether or not all the Pictish invaders of Britain were called "Pictavi," this word or Picti, perhaps from quicto (Irish cicht, engraver"), 2 became a general name for this people. Q had been changed into p on the Continent; hence "Pictavi" or "Pictones," "the tattooed men," those who "engraved" figures on their bodies, as the Picts certainly did. Dispossessed and driven north by incoming Brythons and Belgæ, they later became the virulent enemies of Rome. In 306 Eumenius describes
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Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #63 on: April 23, 2010, 11:24:58 am »

all the northern tribes as "Caledonii and other Picts," while some of the tribes mentioned by Ptolemy have Brythonic names or names with Gaulish cognates. Place-names in the Pictish area, personal names in the Pictish chronicle, and Pictish names like "Peanfahel", 3 have Brythonic affinities. If the Picts spoke a Brythonic dialect, S. Columba's need of an interpreter when preaching to them would be explained. 4 Later the Picts were conquered by Irish Goidels, the Scotti. The Picts, however,
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« Reply #64 on: April 23, 2010, 11:25:06 am »

must already have mingled with aboriginal peoples and with Goidels, if these were already in Britain, and they may have adopted their supposed non-Aryan customs from the aborigines. On the other hand, the matriarchate seems at one time to have been Celtic, and it may have been no more than a conservative survival in the Pictish royal house, as it was elsewhere. 5 Britons, as well as Caledonii, had wives in common. 6 As to tattooing, it was practised by the Scotti ("the
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« Reply #65 on: April 23, 2010, 11:25:15 am »

p. 18

scarred and painted men"?), and the Britons dyed themselves with woad, while what seem to be tattoo marks appear on faces on Gaulish coins. 1 Tattooing, painting, and scarifying the body are varieties of one general custom, and little stress can be laid on Pictish tattooing as indicating a racial difference. Its purpose may have been ornamental, or possibly to impart an aspect of fierceness, or the figures may have been totem marks, as they are elsewhere. Finally, the description of the Caledonii, a Pictish people, possessing flaming hair and mighty limbs, shows that they differed from the short, dark pre-Celtic folk. 2

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« Reply #66 on: April 23, 2010, 11:25:24 am »

The Pictish problem must remain obscure, a welcome puzzle to antiquaries, philologists, and ethnologists. Our knowledge of Pictish religion is too scanty for the interpretation of Celtic religion to be affected by it. But we know that the Picts offered sacrifice before war--a Celtic custom, and had Druids, as also had the Celts.

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« Reply #67 on: April 23, 2010, 11:25:34 am »

The earliest Celtic "kingdom" was in the region between the upper waters of the Rhine, the Elbe, and the Danube, where probably in Neolithic times the formation of their Celtic speech as a distinctive language began. Here they first became known to the Greeks, probably as a semi-mythical people, the Hyperboreans--the folk dwelling beyond the Ripœan mountains whence
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« Reply #68 on: April 23, 2010, 11:25:42 am »

Boreas blew--with whom Hecatæus in the fourth century identifies them. But they were now known as Celts, and their territory as Celtica, while "Galatæ" was used as a synonym of "Celtæ," in the third century B.C. 3 The name generally applied by the Romans to the Celts was




p. 19

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« Reply #69 on: April 23, 2010, 11:25:51 am »

"Galli," a term finally confined by them to the people of Gaul. 1 Successive bands of Celts went forth from this comparatively restricted territory, until the Celtic "empire" for some centuries before 300 B.C. included the British Isles, parts of the Iberian peninsula, Gaul, North Italy, Belgium, Holland, great part of Germany, and Austria. When the German tribes revolted, Celtic bands appeared in Asia Minor, and remained there as the Galatian Celts. Archaeological
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« Reply #70 on: April 23, 2010, 11:26:01 am »

discoveries with a Celtic facies have been made in most of these lands, but even more striking is the witness of place-names. Celtic dunon, a fort or castle (the Gaelic dun), is found in compound names from Ireland to Southern Russia. Magos, "a field," is met with in Britain, France, Switzerland, Prussia, Italy, and Austria. River and mountain names familiar in Britain occur on the Continent. The Pennine range of Cumberland has the same name as the Appenines. Rivers named for their inherent divinity, devos, are found in Britain and on the Continent--Dee, Deva, etc.
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« Reply #71 on: April 23, 2010, 11:26:11 am »

Besides this linguistic, had the Celts also a political unity over their great "empire," under one bead? Such a unity certainly did not prevail from Ireland to the Balkan peninsula, but it prevailed over a large part of the Celtic area. Livy, following Timagenes, who perhaps cited a lost Celtic epos, speaks of king Ambicatus ruling over the Celts from Spain to Germany, and sending his sister's
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« Reply #72 on: April 23, 2010, 11:26:20 am »

sons, Bellovesus and Segovesus, with many followers, to found new colonies in Italy and the Hercynian forest. 2 Mythical as this may be, it suggests the hegemony of one tribe or one chief over other tribes and chiefs, for Livy says that the sovereign power rested with the Bituriges who appointed the king of Celticum,



p. 20

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« Reply #73 on: April 23, 2010, 11:26:29 am »

viz. Ambicatus. Some such unity is necessary to explain Celtic power in the ancient world, and it was made possible by unity of race or at least of the congeries of Celticised peoples, by religious solidarity, and probably by regular gatherings of all the kings or chiefs. If the Druids were a Celtic priesthood at this time, or already formed a corporation as they did later in Gaul, they must have endeavoured to form and preserve such a unity. And if it was never so compact as Livy's words
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« Reply #74 on: April 23, 2010, 11:26:39 am »

suggest, it must have been regarded as an ideal by the Celts or by their poets, Ambicatus serving as a central figure round which the ideas of empire crystallised. The hegemony existed in Gaul, where the Arverni and their king claimed power over the other tribes, and where the Romans tried to weaken the Celtic unity by opposing to them the Aedui. 1 In Belgium the hegemony was in the hands of the Suessiones, to whose king Belgic tribes in Britain submitted. 2 In Ireland the "high king" was supreme over other smaller kings, and in Galatia the unity of the tribes was preserved by a council with regular assemblies. 3
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