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The Celts - Doctrine Of Necessity

The Celts

 The Celts
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Introduction

The Celts were an ancient people who lived in parts of Europe and the British Isles from around 1200 BC to 500AD. Consisting of various tribes, they had no central government or unified leadership and spoke a variety of languages. The name “Celts” was given to these diverse groups by early Greeks and Romans who encountered them in Western Europe.

Evidence suggests that the Celts had a highly developed culture with their own mythology, art, music, crafts and religious beliefs. They held great power during their time, dominating much of Europe until their decline around 500AD due to conquest by foreign forces including the Roman Empire. Today knowledge about the Celts is largely derived from archaeology as well as historical accounts written by those who encountered them such as Julius Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico.

It is believed that they originated in Central Europe around 1000 BCE, spreading across Europe and eventually reaching parts of Asia Minor and the British Isles. They were first mentioned by Greek writers in 500 BCE when they described a race of warlike people living north of the Alps with their own language and culture. This description was corroborated by archaeologists who have found settlements from this period which contain artefacts typical of Celtic cultures such as pottery and jewellery made from bronze or iron tools.

Celtic Languages

The Celtic languages are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic, which was spoken by the Celts people from around the 4th century BC until today. The Celtic language family is divided into two branches: Goidelic and Brittonic. Goidelic is made up of Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx while Brittonic includes Welsh, Breton, and Cornish.

Since the arrival of Latin during Roman times in Europe these languages have never been as widely spoken as they once were due to their displacement by Latin and later Romance languages such as French, Spanish and Italian. However thanks to efforts in recent years to revive them there has been an increase in speakers in certain regions such as Wales with Welsh being used on road signs throughout the country.

Celtic Religion 

 Celtic religions encompassed polytheistic beliefs in many gods and goddesses, animistic veneration of natural forces, ancestor worship and druidic practices. Celtic religion was decentralized, with no central authority or hierarchical structure. Instead, individuals practised their faith in small family groups or larger tribal units. Local shrines were important to the practice of Celtic religions and could take the form of standing stones, carved images or other objects associated with nature. The Celts also believed in cycles of death and rebirth that mapped onto seasonal cyclicality like the solstices and equinoxes. These festivals often involved rituals such as sacrificial offerings to appease gods and goddesses as well as ceremonial feasting to honour ancestors.

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