Celtic Culture in Britain
Before the Coming of the Romans
Celtic Tribes in Britain and Ireland
Before the Romans, there were no
cities in Britain. The Celts lived in
small agricultural villages.
An extended family lived in a dark
and smoke-filled “Round House,”
made of mud and branches, called
wattle and daub.
For defensive purposes, the Celtic
village was sometimes made part
of a hill fort.
Remains of these Hill Forts can still
be seen in Britain today.
Most of the time, the Celts were involved in
quiet agricultural life, raising their crops and
tending their cattle.
However, there was always the constant
danger of warfare with another tribe.
Therefore, Celtic men were trained as
warriors.
Their basic weapons were the
shield and the long sword
They also had cavalry, who could
carry multiple spears.
But, they were best known for their
skill with the chariot.
The Celtic tribes were led by chieftains, but
the most powerful class of people were
priests known as the Druids.
The Druids preserved the ancient traditions of the tribe.
They administered the law, and they conducted various
rituals, often held in sacred groves of oak trees.
The Celts sometimes resorted to human sacrifice,
in order to insure a good harvest or to ward off
danger from the tribe. We have discovered
remains of sacrificed “bog men”.
Another form of human sacrifice involved
burning a victim in a “wicker man.”
The Celts had a variety of gods and goddesses,
usually associated with aspects of nature. For
instance, the god of the forest was the horned god
Cernunnos.
There was a horse goddess called
Epona.
And there was a god of crafts and skill,
known as Lugh. He is often pictured shining
like the sun.
The Celts were known for their complicated
forms of design, used especially for
decoration of jewelry.
Celts wore brooches to pin their clothing and
often wore a torc around their necks.
The Celts were happy in their island home.
But, everything was about to change with
the coming of the Romans.
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Celtic Culture in Britain