were the first European people north of the Alps to make their appearance
in recorded history. Hecateus of Miletus (c. 500-476 BC) and Herodotus
of Halicarnassus (c.490-425 BC) were the first to commit to paper the existence
of the "Keltoi" and their "place of origin" was noted as the headwaters
of the Danube, the Rhine and the Rhone, which archeological evidence confirms.
Celtic existence can also be found in Ireland and Britain, Turkey, Belgium,
the Iberian peninsula and Italy, among many other countries. The Celtic
culture had been developing since the beginning of the first millennium
was highly advanced, as they learned the art of smelting iron, which enabled
them to produce large billhooks, axes and other tools. These tools were
not only used as weapons, but were used quite effectively to open up roadways
through previously impenetrable northern European forests.
The Celts spread
out in all directions and eventually they were granted lands in central
Asia Minor, establishing the Celtic state of Galatia, which later became
the first Celtic peoples to be converted to Christianity. The Celtic civilization
has been represented as proud, ignorant, illiterate, fierce and savage
and this image remains with us to this day.
and biased representations of the Celts are far from the truth. The Celts
were primarily an agricultural and pastoral people, living within a well-structured
tribal society as farmers. There is no doubt that they were fierce in battle,
however they were not the mindless group of blood-thirsty barbarians wandering
through Europe as many writers would have us believe.
One of the
great skills developed by the Celts, as confirmed by archeological discoveries,
is the building of roads. As mentioned above, they were able to access
once inaccessible territories by building road ways which enabled the widespread
expansion of their civilization.
findings have demonstrated the very rich culture that the Celts developed;
excelling in poetry, art, jewelry, pottery, enamel work and advanced metalwork.
The Celts used local materials, which consisted mostly of wood but in some
places they used stone, showing great architectural skill.
There are many
of these impressive stone structures in Britain, which survived from the
fourth to the second centuries, BC. Celtic society was tribal and they
had a highly cultivated law systems, which were handed down orally. One
such example would be the provision of curative medical treatment, sick
maintenance and the establishment of hospitals.
as evidenced by archeological discoveries, were a sophisticated and highly
developed culture which developed many fascinating concepts about not only
themselves but about the world in which they lived.