Celts-msg - 11/1/01
Info sources for the Celts.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: pooka at m-net.arbornet.org (Changeling)
Subject: Re: Druidic Wedding or Handfasting info desperatly
Date: 8 Mar 1996 19:27:20 GMT
Organization: M-Net, America's First Public Access Unix BBS
Someone requested information about druidic wedding practices for a school
report. I will agree with another poster that there is no information
about this available from historical sources, and that neo-pagan sources
would not be appropriate for a school report.
However, there is some good information on general topics in the religion
of the Celtic peoples. I will list some sources that I have found useful.
The Roman sources discuss many aspects of the culture of the
Celtic peoples that the Romans were in contact with. I do not, myself,
know how to evaluate how biased the Roman presentation of Celtic culture
is, but secondary sources often discuss this problem. Look up any good
translation of the works of Julius Caesar and Tacitus
I don't know whether to recommend reading the myths and legends of
the Celtic peoples or not. I am thinking of such things as the Irish
legends of Cu Chulainn and Finn MacCumail. Many people argue that these
legends reflect the earlier beliefs of the Celtic religions. However,
these elements are not easy to extract, because the legends were not
written down until well after the culture had become largely Christian.
If you do, find original translations. Do -not- trust any of the modern
"novelisations" to give you an accurate picture.
-Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic
Religions- H. R. Ellis Davidson. Syracuse University Press, 1988.
This is the best book I have ever found on the subject. It seems
quite unbiased and is willing to admit what we don't know.
-The Celts- Nora Chadwick. New York: Penguin Books, 1970
-The Celtic World: An Illustrated History of the Celtic Race-
Barry Cunliffe. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979
These are both good overviews of the Celtic peoples with sections
on religion. These may make an easier starting point or summary than the
Davidson book or the Roman sources.
Hope this helps.
Yours in service,
Teleri ferch Morgant ap Rhys
Subject: ANST - online keltoi resource
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 98 13:33:21 MST
From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates at realtime.net>
To: bryn-gwlad at Ansteorra.ORG, southern at Ansteorra.ORG, ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG
was researching a celtic oriented subject yesterday (certain aspects of the
brehon laws ..) and found a site with a rather amazing collection of
scholarly celtic information (all articles well cited with bibliographies).
for my celtic brethren who do not know this site yet, i strongly suggest
that you check it out and add to your bookmark file.
self will derfinitely be doing some heavy digesting of the information i
found there and have already added *dozens* of new citations into my "hot
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 1998 17:03:01 EST
From: <Marlyna at aol.com>
To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Viking Age Celts [SCA]
don't know if this will help, but I recently got this post:
This section brings together links from Ireland, academic sources, coin
collections, and the Book of Kells to reach into distant the mists of
Celtic history and culture.
Lady Marlyna la Monita
Barony of Bonwicke
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 21:27:25 -0800
From: "James F. Johnson" <seumas at mind.net>
Subject: Re: SC - the length and breadth of Period - long and wide, of course
ChannonM at aol.com wrote:
> << Only the two main groups in
> northern modern day Italy and in Aquitaine had a written language
> (according to the Romans). >>
> Actually there was a written language of Oghams(line markings) that were used
> by pre Roman Irish Celts. I don't know all there is to about it, but I know
> that it was used.
Use of Ogham script prior to the 4th century CE is a matter of
traditional belief, but there is no evidence of it. Hence its use is not
documentable until just before the Romans left the British Isles (406
CE), after having been there a little over four centuries. Also of note
is most ogham inscriptions are given names with patronymics, and the
Welsh inscriptions are bi-lingual, accompanied by a _Latin_ inscription.
And the fact that two characters of ogham, the 'h' and 'z' are not in
Erse (Irish Gaelic), suggesting that the ogham script/alphabet was
imported. BTW, there is an /h/ in Classical Latin, often missing in
Vulgar Latin; and some scholars think the /s/ was pronounced closer to a
lispy /z/ and is retained in easter Romance languages.
To: Metalcasting at egroups.com
Cc: "- MedievalEncampments at eGroups.com" <MedievalEncampments at egroups.com>
From: rmhowe <mmagnusm at bellsouth.net>
Date: Mon, 02 Oct 2000 16:56:13 -0400
Subject: [MedEnc] Re: [Metalcasting] My 1st pound of coins.
CC'd to MedEnc because of the chariot and wagon finds, drawings and
recreations from mainland Europe:
DianaFiona at aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 9/27/00 5:48:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> mmagnusm at bellsouth.net writes:
> << Some of these were cast in molds, some of which survive.
> Kinda look like a string of flat pearls in the clay.
> Magnus >>
> Spiffy--I'm looking for ideas of coins to cast! Would you happen to
> remember where in that huge library of yours the refferences might be > found? ;-) - Ldy Diana
Moscati, Sabatino & Venceslas Kruta. THE CELTS. New York, Rizzoli,
1999. 719pp, Bibliography, Photo. & Illus., 8vo, First Edition, New
(Book City via Antiqbook)
The Celts, Moscati, Sabatino & Venceslas Kruta; Rizzoli, (c) 1991,
ISBN: 0-8478-1407-6, Hardcover, dustjacket (one copy, really
I have the lower hardbound edition. Apparently there is a new paperback
edition. I did a booksearch to find it. Mine was buried under about 4' of
books in a pile in the (former) living room. :) The hardback seems to
be hard to find at a reasonable price.
Huge book, lots of color pictures.
A great many tools, struck and cast coins. This thing is indexed by
locality only. I didn't see the coin mould at first glance, but I'm
pretty sure this is the book with it. Lots of chariots and wagons,
weapons (with diagrams good enough to reproduce). Kinda the Ultimate
Celt Book, at least 2" thick by many authors in many countries.
Lots of metalwork and pottery, and everyday items, sculpture, recreated
graves, oppida, etc. Tremendous amount of jewelry.
Searching books on Celts is like looking for a straw in a haystack.
I have a couple of shelf fulls myself.
To: spca-wascaerfrig at egroups.com
From: PBLoomis at aol.com
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 20:26:58 EDT
Subject: Re: [spca-wascaerfrig] scythians
margali at 99main.com writes:
> Actually it is rather neat. The celts started in the mountainous areas
> of the caucasus mountains. One of the earliest mentions of them is in
> what is now greece, they romped through macedonia and a group of the
> grecian city-states talked them into crossing the bosphorus instead and
> taking over what is now turkey, where they met up with the scyth who
> went to the east and swung back around towards turkey. A branch of them
> skimmed the northern parts of what became greece and rome, where they
> settled under the germanni [who apparently came from the region of
> frisia, denmark and very northern germany. The celts settled in austria,
> switzerland and trans and cisalpine gaul. They lived very happily until
> Rome pissed them off in roughly 350 bc, when they sent a couple of
> envoys along with the Sabines, who got killed by the romans. The celts,
> being pissed came and took rome for the first of 3 times. Unfortunately
> they sold it back for 1000 lbs of gold [the fools] So as you can see,
> the celts are basically synonymous with scythians. Celtoi was their own
> name for themselves, it was the romans and greeks who called them
> [way too much time researching celtic personae!]
Often I find myself agreeing with others on the broad structure, and
disagreeing on the details, as when I was talking with George about the
Battle of Bannockburn, and kept saying, "That's not the way the National
Trust for Scotland understands it."
Here I find myself agreeing with you on the details, and disagreeing
on the broad picture.
First, the Celts did not start in the Caucasus. The Celts are People
of the Horse, and came in off the steppes. Horses were first domesticated
sometime before 4000BC, apparently by the Sredni Stog (Copper Age)
culture in the Ukraine. This gave them a quantum leap in mobility, and
allowed them to exploit the steppes, where water sources are too far apart
for foot travel. After 2500 years on the steppes, they burst upon Europe,
and conquered the indigenous peoples, who may have been the Megalithics,
builders of Stonehenge, Avebury, Brodgar, Callanish, and a hundred other
stone circles. The western Celts may also have absorbed or merged with
the Beaker Traders, since many aspects of Beaker art appear in early Celtic
By 800BC, the Celts were established as the dominant tribe from the
British Isles to the Bosporos, and from the Baltic Coast to the Alps and into
northwern Iberia. It is not clear whether they also controlled Scandanavia,
but the Germanni are clearly a Celtic group; that is the heartland of the
About 1500BC, another proto-Celtic group, the Tocharians, moved into
Mongolia, becoming the dominant culture by 1000BC. They brought with
them the wheel, which the Chinese would later claim to have invented.
Tocharian mummies have long straight noses and blond or reddish hair;
one was dressed in the earliest known tartan (800BC).
Margali has already reported on the Scyth, about whom I know almost
nothing, except that they were people of the horse, with exquisite taste in
About 500BC, Celts began crossing the Alps into the Po Valley in
northern Italy. By 395BC they were strong enough to occupy Rome, but
were bribed to leave after three years. Big mistake! The Romans slowly
pushed them out of Tuscany, and finally broke their power in Italy at the
battle of Cape Telamon in 270BC.
Meanwhile, a group of raiding Galatae (more Celts by another tribal
name) sacked Delphi in 291BC.
In 76BC(?), Julius Caesar was appointed governor of Cisalpine Gaul
(Po valley) and Transalpine Gaul (Massilia [Marseilles] and environs) and
used that as a base to conquer Gaul (modern France and Belgium) and
Britain was conquered in the 1st century AD by Claudius; an invasion
of Germania in 9AD was foiled when nine legions under Varus were
massacred at Teutoberger Wald. The Romans later conquered Dacia,
which is why Romanian is a Romance language.
Subject: RE: ANST - Celtic History Question
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2001 00:09:47 -0600
From: "C. L. Ward" <gunnora at vikinganswerlady.org>
To: <ansteorra at ansteorra.org>
Lady Maria de Vasquez asked:
>Did the Celts use armour?
The problem here is the word "Celts". It's like saying "Europeans" -- it's
not a specific term. Properly used, "Celtic" refers to a language group in
broad use across a huge group of related peoples, ranging from Continental
Celts (remember the ones Caesar was talking about in his Gallic Wars, "Omnia
Gallia est divisa in tres partes...") to Bretons to the Irish to the Welsh
etc. And the Celtic languages, though clearly related to the linguist, were
*very* different. Welsh and Irish are so different (p-Celtic vs. q-Celtic)
as to seem completely unrelated to the casual observer.
And, to further complicate matters, the timespan of "Celts" is likewise
enormous - prehistory until the present day. *Which* Celts do you mean,
exactly, wher, and when?
Caesar and the Romans wrote about the Celts going naked into battle. The
Heroic Age of Ireland seems to have had some similar customs. But we also
have treasures such as the Battersea shield, ornate helmets, the massive
neckrings (torques) which guarded the neck, all of which constitute "armor"
to some degree. And of course since "Celtic" has such an enormous
time-range, we even have Celts in full plate armor by the end of the SCA's
period, since Ireland and Scotland and Wales were a part of the commerce and
exchange of Europe.
For more good information on the vastness and imprecision of the word "Celt"
For more information, I suggest contacting Mistress Mari ferch Rathyen
<karenmoon at msn.com>. Another good person who has done a lot of research is
Sir Richard ap Morgan, who has email but I can't locate his address right
off -- Mari will have his email if you write her.
Subject: Re: ANST - Celtic History Question
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2001 01:06:47 EST
From: Spatsman at aol.com
To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
maria_elfsea at hotmail.com writes:
<< Did the Celts use armour? I would have thought that they did. My reasoning
(this is just a guess, as I am not familiar with Celtic history)? There were
plenty of Anglo/Saxons to steal armour from once they were killed. Why
wouldn't they have stolen it from the dead bodies? I find it very difficult
to believe that someone would deliberatley go into a war un armoured.
Can anyone answer this question and give me some docs on it to prove my
point (and that I'm not making it up)??
Lady Maria de Vasquez >>
The "Cattle Raid of Cooley" specifically gives attention to Ferdia's
appearance when he girds for the river battle with Cuchulainn...
"He put on his most effective battle-dress,seven layers of silk, leather and
stone covered by an apron of beaten iron and on his head an impregnable
helmet encrusted with jewels and crystals."
Granted, this being the lore of the Irish and subject to interpretation, I
offer Diodorus Siculus' description of the Celt-Iberians...
"..Some have iron breastplates of chainmail while others fight naked, and
for them the breastplate given by Nature suffices."
"Some wear gold-plated or silver-plated belts around their tunics.."
Helmets from the La Tene period are existant, some quite extraordinary
pieces of art, some simple cones of bronze or iron to protect the skull.
Heavy arm and neck torcs were worn not just for status or wealth, but for
protection, as some hoards have torcs easily thick enough to hinder a blade.
Jackets of boiled leather are mentioned in various sources.
Of particular interest to the island Gaels is the cotun, a knee-length
full-sleeved garment, quilted vertically, seen in early Irish and Scottish
carvings, which may have been worn alone or under a leather jacket or a
Later period Scots in particular are noted for coating their linen shirts,
or liene, with several layers of pitch for protection.
I'll see if I can find some more specific info...what era and race are you
'Celt' has been used to describe the Irish, Manx, Scots, Picts, Welsh,
Cornish, Iberians, Gauls, Visigoths, Iceni and Angles, just to name a few.
Subject: Re: ANST - Celtic History Question
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2001 14:39:00 -0800 (PST)
From: Carolyn Smith Pennington <mara_of_rede at yahoo.com>
To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
Maria, read The Tain, by Patric Collum. It gives
wonderful descriptions of Celtic armour,
clothing, food, manners, customs, etc., BEFORE
the Norse.... According to the Tain bo Cuilagne,
Cuchulain wore a thick leather apron (a kidney
belt!) with (I think, my copy was stolen) chain
mail over it.
Remember that the Celts hired out as mercenaries
all over the world, a long time before our time
periods, and long after!
HL Mara of Rede
Barony of Elfsea,Kingdom of Ansteorra
From: "ruadh" <ruadh at home.com>
Subject: Re: Alternative to lime for hair???
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 03:34:22 GMT
"Nic" <nopinkmeat at bmee.net> wrote
> I wonder if anyone knows of an alternative to lime for hair? I understand
> the celts limed thair hair before battle (or am I out to drink?). For some
> odd reason, I'm not really wanting to put lime in my hair, though would be
> interested in hearing about alternatives that might make it at least look a
> little closer to it?
> I'd also like to hear about other ways to wear hair for men in the 1300's
> highlands. I have long hair (below shoulder) and am planning on braids.
> Would love any more info.
hair do-do's are mentioned here...
snip from page.........
Both men and women wore their hair in multiple elaborate curls and braids,
sometimes with gold balls fastened to the end of the hair. In the Tain Bo
Culaigne, a beautiful woman is described as having three braids of hair
wound round her head, and the fourth hanging down her back to her ankles;
and one of the tests for membership in the Fianna (a warrior group in early
Ireland) was that the candidate had to run through a wood, chased by the
entire Fianna, without having a braid of his hair loosened by the branches.
(Joyce, vol. 2, p. 180)