By Raymond Mhor
If you are of Scottish or Irish decent, then you are part of a great tribe called the Celts or Celtic Nation.
Many people think that Scotland and Ireland are the originators of the Celtic tribe, but when one starts doing their research, we find out that the oldest Celtic site discovered was in Hallstatt, Austria. Archaeologists discovered over 1000 burials and all have Celtic features that date back to 1200 BC.
Looking into it deeper, we see there were Celtic tribes all over Europe that shared language, traditions, religion and other cultural practices. All these tribes were also known for their fierceness in battle. In fact, it is the Romans who considered them “Barbarians” due to the battle tactics and absolute devastation of their enemies.
In fact, remember the Hadrian Wall that Rome built in dividing England from Scotland? Yep, it was the bad ass Picts of Scotland the Romans were working to keep out of England and confined to the north. So even Rome was shaking in the sandals over the bad ass Picts.
Much of what we think of Celtic tribes is from Roman history and writings. The Romans painted the Celtic tribes as brutes, uncultured dolts, ruffians and bullies. And, if one takes a few moments to delve into history, we find out that the Celts were the bad asses of the Universe.
Rome Was Wrong – Celts Introduce Soap
Thanks to the Roman accounts, we tend to think of the Celts as dirty and smelly beasts. However, once again the archaeological evidence shows this is far from true. Celtic sites have an abundance of grooming tools like combs and hair pins. There is even evidence the Celts introduced the Romans to soap, and it was mandatory in some tribes for the men to bathe before enjoying their evening meal.
Celts introduce Metallurgy
What set the Celtic nations apart from those of the rest of the world was their incredible knowledge of metallurgy or the art of working with metal. The Celts were developing weapons long before the rival tribes in Europe. They were totally leading the pack by adopting iron for their weapons. These weapons were far more superior to the soft bronze weapons that much of the world was making and using in battle.
Celtic Jewelry and Symbols
The origin of Celtic Jewelry is thought to date all the way back to 2000 BC when silver and gold were used by Celtic craftsmen to create exquisite jewelry adorned with Celtic symbols.
Celtics Also Create Ring Money
One thing that is rather interesting is the use of “Ring Money.” Long before the introduction of stock coinage into ancient Celtic Europe, copper and gold rings were used as currency by Celtic tribes and were often worn on clothing or tied together by ropes. A great sign of wealth was how many rings were sewn into tunics and armor.
Gold rings recently discovered were handed to the Donegal County Museum in Ireland. The curator, Caroline Carr, told the BBC that, “This is a once in a lifetime find for our county…”
YES… They Were Bad Ass Warriors
For the ancient Celts, in a sense, a battle was seen as an opportunity to proves one’s ‘value’ to the tribe as well as to the gods. So, while the tactics of warfare evolved throughout the centuries in ancient Europe, the psychological approach of the Celtic warriors to warfare largely remained unchanged. ‘Shock and Awe’ was the Celtic battle tactic and over the years it proved to be very effective.
Another tactic that the Celtic warriors proved purposeful was the use of noise, ranging from battle-cries, songs, chants, taunts, insults to even specialized instruments like Carnyx and later, Bagpipes. The Carnyx was a sort of war-horn shaped like an animal (often a boar), and its primary purpose was to terrify the enemy with ‘harsh sounds and tumults of war’ (as described by Diodorus Siculus, who was an ancient Greek historian.)
The Celtic warbands were sometimes also accompanied by Druids and ‘banshee’ women who made their presence known by shouting and screeching curses directed at their foes.
Apart from psychologically afflicting the enemy, the Celtic War music significantly drummed up the courage and furor of the Celtic warriors themselves. By this time the Celtic warriors were driven into their battle-frenzy – and thus they charged at the enemy lines with rage and fury.
Julius Caesar himself described one of the frenzied charges made by the Nervii (include who these people are?) at the Battle of the Sambre (in Gallic War Book II) –
“…they suddenly dashed out in full force and charged our cavalry, easily driving them back and throwing them into confusion. They then ran down to the river with such incredible speed that it seemed to us as if they were at the edge of the wood, in the river, and on top of us almost all in the same moment. Then with the same speed they swarmed up the opposite hill towards our camp and attacked the men who were busy fortifying it.”
Yeah… bad asses.
Bad Ass Women Warriors!
And, get this! Even the women were allowed to be warriors! Where many ancient civilizations did not allow women into battle, there are many accounts of women who were warriors in the Celtic society.
One such female warrior is Boudicca who infamously fought to prevent the Romans from invading her territory. When she was eventually defeated, she committed suicide by drinking poison rather than submitting to the Romans.
There are many other contemporary accounts of women participating in and even leading battles. The Romans found the idea of female warriors particularly shocking, and the writers Posidonius and Strabo both described an island of Celtic women where men could not venture for fear of death.
Finally, many of the Roman accounts that Celts were headhunters and despite the Roman propaganda and fearmongering there are still elements of truth. The Celts were fearsome in battle. The practice of headhunting in particular was something which must have helped to cultivate the image of a barbaric people who acted like wild animals.
It should be remembered in the case of the Celts that history is written by the victors. It was easy for the Romans to erase the accomplishments of this complex society, particularly when they themselves had been trying to avoid the headhunters!
SO… next time you look in the mirror and you know that you have even the most minuscule amount of Celtic blood, remember …
You are part of the most-bad ass tribe in the universe. You Are Celtic! Kilt On!
If you liked this article, maybe you would enjoy reading this one too…
Vikings – The Other Bad Ass Tribe of The Universe
By Raymond Mhor
In my last article, I talked about the Celtic people and the bad asses they were. Many of you mentioned you were of Viking decent, so I wanted to pay homage to the other bad ass tribe of the universe, the Vikings.
As many of you know, the Vikings originated out of Denmark, Norway, and Scandinavia. They were known for being blood thirsty and brutal. The Vikings used shock and awe tactics much like the Celtic people, but they perfected and took these tactical plans to an even higher level of battle.
One thing that gave the Vikings a tactical advantage was their shallow-bottomed boats. Because of this, they were able to sail up many of the rivers and attack unknowing villages and towns with blinding speed.
Now, they did not just land their boats and jump out hacking and slashing everything in sight. Many archaeological digs have shown the warriors planned their attacks with great precision, timing and tact. Then, when they did attack, they would pillage all the homes, kill many of the men, leave the women and children (or make them slaves), and then burn the place to the ground.
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