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Celtic Origins And Mythology

The various fascinating evidences of the presence of the Celts – people of very ancient origin – are found even today in many European areas. The people of Celt spread their civilization to Brittany, Portugal, Ireland and the Danubian area. Specific atmosphere reflecting the culture of the Celts and clear evidences are easily found in all these countries. Some traces of the existing Celtic inheritance are found in places in south-west coastal Ireland

People in several countries in Europe speak languages having their origin from Celtic Language. These are known as Indo-European languages. Art work with cultural traits connected with Celtic art has also been excavated from many archeological sites.

Presently, “Celtic” is regularly used to express the cultures and languages of Cornwall, Isle of Man, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and also Brittany in France. Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Breton, Cornish and Irish are some of the languages still spoken, which have their origin from Celtic language.

The study of history of Celts including disciplines such as paleolinguistics, ancient history, and history of Celtic art, anthropology, religious history, mythology, ethnology and folklore have been taking place in the last two decades.

Literary reference about the Celtic people was made by Hecataeus, a Greek historian in the 517 BC. The tribe of Keltoi – that’s how the ancient Greeks refer the Celts – is located in Rhenania (present day West and Southwest Germany). The primogenitor of Celts is Celtus who is the son of Heracles and Keltine according to Greek mythology. Ancient Romans used the word “Celtae” to refer to Gauls from the continent.

Celtic myths were written only in the 11th Century AD; these myths are quite ancient and are kept alive by oral tradition.

Ireland and Wales are the main sources for the Celtic myths. The legends of King Arthur were originated from Wales and to some extent from Ireland. Brittany is the origin for medieval Romans of Isolde and Tristan which is very popular in British Isles and Continental Europe.

As per the Celtic myths the Celts divided their people by social classes and by clans. The nobles such as chiefs and kings are high among the social classes. They are a part of the warrior societies. The aristocrats dominated the warriors. Bards and druids are some of the other classes who were highly regarded for their knowledge.

Ancient Celtic people were enclosed by natural world on all sides. Celts were aware of the presence of nature and the total dependence on the fertility and balance for their basic comfort and basic nurture.

Cuchulainn, one of the ancient Gaelic heroes was endowed with superhuman qualities. The Hound of Culainn is the meaning of his name. Earlier he was known as Setanta. He was the son of Dechtire and Lugh Lamhfhada. He left his home when he was five years old to join the Red Branch Knights which is the Ulster army of the king Mac Nessa. He took his spear, his javelin and his silver ball with him when he joined the king. Upon reaching the palace at Emain Macha, with his javelin and silver ball he beat 150 boys in the games. When he was only seven years old, he killed Culainn’s watch dog at Ulster and got his name Cuchulainn. By this act, he was entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the Ulster kingdom and its people.

Submitted by:

Anastasia Phocas

Anastasia Phocas is a proud contributing author. Find more articles here. For more info visit Celtic Resources or Celtic Festivals




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