The celts early Britain : a history of invasions

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Early Britain : a history of invasions

The history of early Britain consists of invasions of different peoples, who created a mixture of cultures and religions. Battles, divisions and political instability dominate the period. The most important invaders were the Celts, the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings and the Normans.

The Celts

The population appeared in Britain around 700 B.C. They were from the northwest Germany, skilled at weapon-making and iron-working. They were organized in clans and their religion celebrated the element and they believed in the immortality of the soul.

The Druids

A druid was a member of the priestly class in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul (France), and possibly other parts of Celtic Europe and Galatia during the Iron Age and possibly earlier. Very little is known about the ancient druids. The earliest known reference to the druids dates to 200 B.C., although the oldest actual description comes from the Roman military general Julius Caesar in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico (50s B.C.). 220px-two_druids.png

The modern English word druid derives from the Latin druides (pronounced [druˈides]), based on all available forms, the hypothetical proto-Celtic word may then be reconstructed as dru-wid-s (pl. *druwides) meaning "oak-knower".

One of the few things that both the Greco-Roman and the vernacular Irish sources agree on about the druids was that they played an important part in pagan Celtic society. In his description, Julius Caesar claimed that they were one of the two most important social groups in the region and were responsible for organizing worship and sacrifices, divination, and judicial procedure in Gaulish, British and Irish society. He also claimed that they were exempt from military service and from the payment of taxes, and that they had the power to excommunicate people from religious festivals, making them social outcasts. Diodorus Siculus was the first historian to write about the druids.

Greek and Roman writers frequently made reference to the druids as practitioners of human sacrifice.

Druids believed the doctrine of the immortality of the soul and reincarnation or metempsychosis.


Nowadays, the druids’ culture survives in the New Age religion. Lots of groups of Celtic culture lovers believed in the ancient rites of these mysterious figures.

The Clothes

During the later Iron Age the Gauls generally wore long-sleeved shirts or tunics and long trousers. The clothes were made of wool or linen, with some silk being used by the rich. In the winter were worn the cloaks. The horned helmet may have been a piece for ceremonial rather than military wear. The Celtic men had two different outfits. The first was a léine, a linen tunic, worn with a woollen brat; the second was a jacket, called an inar, worn with short trousers or shorts called truis. For the women there were two different types of clothes; the first one was léine and the second was brat. The léine was a long garment made of rectangular linen that was sewn and pinned together. It was similar to Roman tunics. The léine would have been decorated with fringes and bright bordes made from tapestry and other needlework techniques. A brat was a woollen cloak like garment mostly worn by women of rank. A brat was more than a source of warmth to a Celt; it was a showpiece to display their wealth and sewing skills. The brat could serve as a warm blanket.

The Jewelery

The jewelry is the branch of art of the ancient Celts of which have survived the greatest testimonies. Typical of Celtic, Gallic in particular, the torque, necklaces or bracelets propitiatory made ​​of gold, silver or bronze. Other artifacts are preserved Celtic jewelry, cups and pots.

Torque in sterling silver. Metal objects, after machining, were embellished by applications of colored material. On many products you have in fact, from the fourth century BC, evidence of fusion of enamel, obtained by a special glass paste. This glaze color red was initially established through a fine mesh of iron, together with the Mediterranean coral, directly on the objects, as if they represented a form of blood magic, "petrified of the sea" and out of the fire. From the third century BC, with the evolution of the fusion technique were developed new items, such as bracelets of colored glass, and developed new techniques such as direct application and fusion of enamel and a set of swords, without the use of support structures. New colors, such as yellow and blue, were introduced from the second-first century BC even if the red was the predominant color.

The Art

The Celtic Art is based on natural’s representation, as waves of the sea or the clouds of ski. It isn’t a decorative art but it is symbolical.

c:\documents and settings\pc\desktop\il nodo dell\'amante.jpgNode Lover. This model was found carved in Scotland. It is created by a continuous line, which represents eternity and fidelity.

c:\documents and settings\pc\desktop\fechin_small.gifCross’s Fechin. This symbol is a guardian spirit.

c:\documents and settings\pc\desktop\eire2.jpgEire’s star. The star, a directional symbol, is used for the protection and spiritual growth.

c:\documents and settings\pc\desktop\cigni.jpgThe two swans. They show the unity between two people as a circle; Two that become one minde and one thought.

c:\documents and settings\pc\desktop\triskelion.jpgTri-skell. This symbol has pre-Christian origins and is a protection for travel and battles.

The Music

No evidence of the music of the ancient Celts or Gauls has come down to our times so with the words Celtic Music we mean the popular music of European countries as Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and Galicia. Although it is a mix of different musical traditions there are some common aspects of the character, such as the dances of Celtic music:vf.jpg

  • jigs (ancient dance once popular in many parts of Europe);

  • reels (dances very fast);

  • slip jigs (dance dance alone usually girls);

  • hornpipes (rhythmic dances dances derived from seafood);

  • strathspeys (lively Scottish dance);

  • polkas and airs (slow melodies).

Nowadays, the Celtic music is revisited in different genres such punk , rock, metal, fusion, etc… For example the group “Flogging Mollies” plays Celtic punk, Enya sings fusion songs. There is also an Italian musician who play the flute, the harp and the violin



Stonehenge is perhaps the most famous prehistoric monument in the world. Begun as a simple earthwork enclosure, it was built in several stages, with the unique stone circle being erected in the Neolithic period in around 2,500 BC. Stonehenge remained important into the early Bronze Age (2,200–1,500 BC), when many burial mounds were built nearby.

Stonehenge is a unique prehistoric monument, at the centre of a rich and varied prehistoric landscape. The Outstanding Universal Value of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site is what makes the whole Site important in global terms for all humanity.


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