2.3.11

The Celtic Identitiy

Article

The Celtic identity has long been associated with independence. They were never a broad cultural ‘race’ of people, or an ‘empire’ ruled by a government. Where the Celts lived, was a constantly changing group of tribal ‘nations’.

According to historians the Celtic culture originated in central Europe, to the east of the Rhine in the areas now part of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. From these areas, around 3,400 years ago, the Celtic people expanded across the Continent, and eventually inhabited a large portion of central, western, and north-western Europe.

Celtic Nations
Today, the Celtic nations are territories in north-western Europe in which the Celtic languages and cultural traits, or identity, have survived. Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man, are basically Celtic in character, and these are the six ‘nations’ considered to be the Celtic nations.

Celtic Language
Each of the six nations has its own living Celtic language. In Wales, Scotland, Brittany and Ireland, these have been spoken continuously through time. However, although the Celtic languages spoken in Cornwall and the Isle of Man gradually died out at one point in time, resurgence in recent years has brought about a revitalisation.

Nation, Celtic Name and Language
Wales: Cymru – Welsh
Scotland: Alba – Scottish Gaelic
Ireland: Eire – Irish
Brittany: Breizh – Breton
Cornwall: Kernow – Cornish
Isle of Man: Mannin Ellan Vannin – Manx

Celtic Character
The history pages depict the Celts as stemming from two main groups. One group which is referred to as the ‘lowland Celts’ from the Danube region, and who made their way to Ireland, were skilled in the use of metals and worked in gold, tin and bronze. They were agriculturally orientated, being herdsman, tillers and artificers.

The second group, often referred to as the ‘true’ Celts, from the Rhine region, followed closely behind their lowland cousins. These people were a military aristocracy, reputed to love fighting for the sake it, and frequently found in the great armies. These were the warlike Celts who made their way across much of Europe to the British Isles.

The ‘true’ Celts were known for their qualities of chivalry, courage and dauntless bravery, but they also balanced out these more aggressive tendencies by possessing a great sensitivity to music, poetry and philosophy.


© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.