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Celts: Kings and Druids


"If I break faith with thee,

may the Sky fall upon me,

may the Sea drown me,

may the Earth rise up

and swallow me
."

Celtic oath

Celtic Tree of Life


This great Celtic oath calls the very elements to witness.

Celts held a panentheistic or primal holistic concept of deity.

"Elements" are powerful manifestations of gods, not to be trifled with.

This great Celtic oath is a most solemn pledge to the elements to destroy those who do not keep their word and repay their debts.

The state of the land is always a reflection of the kingly rule.

Omens in the sky, the soil no longer growing crops, the rains coming at the wrong times, unseasonable cold and hot waves, all pointed to poor stewardship on the part of the king who directed the activities of the people.

Or did these omens point to bad advice ?

"Good is his reign. Since he assumed the kingship, no cloud has veiled the sun for the space of a day from the middle of spring to the middle of autumn. Not a dewdrop has fallen from grass till midday."

The word druid (Irish drui, Welsh derwydd) is derived from the Sanskrit: veda - to see or know, combined with the word for oak: Gaulish dervo, Irish dour, Welsh derw.

The words for wood and wisdom are very close: Irish fid and fios mean tree and knowledge; Welsh gwydd and gwyddon mean tree and knowledgeable.

This close connection suggests a druid is 'a knower of the tree' or 'tree-sage', give a closer feel of what the druid really was - a seer of great knowledge, whose closeness to the natural world put him or her in the position as a Walker of the Thinspace between the collective subconscious of mankind and the unseen collective consciousness of Nature.

The druids, sons and daughters of the Oak, were distinct by reason of the gift of reading natural patterns.

The gathering place for Galatian druids was called Drunemeton, literally "Oak Sanctuary".

Male and female druids were gifted people who exhibited excellence in various arts (talents or skills) while maintaining shamanic roles.

Druids were the repositories of Oral Tradition wisdom/knowledge.

Druids, who searched for deeper understanding in the patterns revealed throughout Nature, used that wisdom/knowledge to note the right time for spring sowing, autumn harvest or the prognosis of an injured limb.

Some druids specialized in Branches of Nature, becoming seers or fáithi, teachers, poets, satirists and battle strategists as well as advisers to kings.

A druid is a person with natural wisdom whose advice is sought on matters of daily life; one who perhaps also practices a craft; one who married and had a family; one who brought people together for common celebrations.

In the druid we see the earliest form of tribal leadership - which was spiritual rather than temporal.

Distinctions between king and druid are blurred in Celtic mythology.

Although the king is the assumed leader, the druid rules through omen.

Rome banned the Druidic arts after sacking Anglesey in AD 64.

The function of the seer or fáithi, to divine the course of human affairs through a close observation of human nature, is still associated with people of Celtic extraction, many of whom possess 'the second sight'.

4000 BC The ancient Celts are a branch of the Indo-Europeans, an ethnico-linguistic group that includes Germanic, Slavic, Greek and Indo-Iranian people.

From the the Pontic-Caspian Steppes, the Proto-Indo-Europeans conquer most of Europe, Central Asia and South Asia thanks to the advent of the Bronze Age in the North Caucasus.

2500 Proto-Celtic people enter Europe from the Balkans equipped with horses and superior bronze weapons quickly conquering Western Europe, from Iberia to the British Isles.

1200 Classical Celtic culture emerges in central Europe around modern Austria, Bavaria and Switzerland as found in Hallstatt, Upper Austria.
600 to 400 BC La Tène culture spreads from the Alps to most of Western and Central Europe.

People in these areas speak a similar language, share the same religion, have similar traditions and beliefs and engage in the same arts and techniques.

Celts are more advanced than the Romans in science, law and economics.

Pre-Roman Celtic calendars are much more accurate than the Roman one.
Each Galatian tribe was organised in four septs (clans), each ruled by a tetrach (chief), assisted by a judge, a general and two deputy generals.

Each sept sent 25 senators to a central shrine called Drunemeton.
Ancient Celtic society gave much more freedom and power to women than the Greeks and Romans did.

Greco-Roman housewives were prohibited to do business and mostly sequestrated in their home under the supervision of male family members.

Celtic women could become powerful tribe leaders and go to war.

390 BC Celts plunder Rome.

Oaks are of primordial importance in Celtic religion.

Druids ritually cut mistletoe off oak trees.

Celts believed in recycling - automatic reincarnation of the Eternal Soul.

The Celts practised ritual human sacrifice to the gods, typically near water (lake, river, spring) and/or in forest groves.

Offerings appear to be war prisoners or criminals.

Druids, being both judges and priests, combining judicial executions with the honouring of the gods.

Romans crucified political opponents and had prisoners killed or eaten alive by wild beasts in arenas.

Celtic religious sacrifices were less barbaric than Romans executions.

Many ancient Celtic tribes gave their names to modern places.

Bohemia was named after the Boii, and Belgium after the Belgae.

The ancient name of Switzerland was Helvetia, from the Celtic Helvetii tribe.

In France, Paris is named after the Parisi tribe, and Lyon is a corruption of Celtic name Lugdunon, meaning the "hill fort of Lugh" (one of the most important Celtic deity).

A Cisalpine branch of the Veneti tribe gave their name to Venice and the Veneto region in Italy.

The Italian cities of Belluno, Bergamo, Bologna, Brescia, Brianza, Genova and Milano all have Celtic roots.

300 BC Celts invent chainmail and the helmets later used by Roman legionaries.

Celtic swords and shields are at least as good as the Roman's.

The decoration of the Celtic weapons, chariots and artifacts was in many ways superior to those of many Mediterranean cultures.

58 BC The Celts are immensely rich and prosperous.

They have a built a road network across the European continent.

The Celts active trade with the Mediterranean world, exchanging notably their iron tools and weapons for wine and pottery.

They import amber from the Baltic to resell to the Romans and Greeks.

Gauls are described as wearing shiny, gold-like armours and swords.

Julius Caesar, an opportunist, makes his move.

Over 400 Celtic gold mines are found in France alone.

The Romans have little gold on the Apennine Peninsula so the conquest of Gaul will be a tremendous boost to their Mediterranean power.

Julius Caesar, Patrician, decimates the Celts slaughtering 10% and enslaving another 10% to be marched back to Rome as booty.


405 AD Jerome of Stridon notes that the language of the Anatolian Galatians in his day is still very similar to the language of the Treveri (from the region of Trier on the border of Germany and Luxembourg).

Celtic languages progressively disappear during the Middle Ages.

They only survive in Brittany, Corwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and for a time also in Galacia (north-western Spain).

Only a minority of people still speak Celtic/Gaelic languages, and they are confined to Wales, Brittany and western Ireland.

2001 The Basque language is considered to be a language isolate; a language which is not known to be related to any other in the world.

The Basques are thought to be the closest descendants of the Palaeolithic people who established the first settlements in Britain more than 10,000 years ago.

Welsh and Irishmen are genetic blood-brothers of the Basque people.

The evidence of a link is in a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by James Wilson and Prof David Goldstein of University College London, with colleagues at Oxford University and the University of California, Davis.

Study

The findings provide the first direct evidence of a close relationship between the people thought of as Celts and the Basques.

The team looked for similarities between the Y chromosomes - only carried by men - of 88 "Celtic fringe" individuals from Anglesey, North Wales, 146 from Ireland with Irish Gaelic surnames, and 50 Basques, revealing "remarkable" similarities.

The Celts carry the early Y chromosome, said the study, which provides the first clear evidence of a close relationship in the paternal heritage of Basque and Celtic speaking populations.

"They were statistically indistinguishable," said Prof Goldstein.

Gene Study Shows Ties Long Veiled In Europe



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