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  1. D.C. Perry
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    D.C. Perry Member

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    What About The Celts?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by D.C. Perry, Jul 26, 2014.

    I've recently been getting into Celtic-type history and culture, and I began to think; what kind of world would it be in which that culture never withered away, and nations such as Ireland and Scotland (Wales, too) - became world powers?

    Would it be an interesting book in which starships and painted with massive Celtic crosses, where soldiers wore power suits decorated with war paint and other symbols? Where the Roman Empire fell much earlier, where Christianity never was and the Celtic Gods are worshiped?

    I for one would like to see that. Someone write it!
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You can't have one and delete the other. :) Celtic as they may be, the Celtic cross is a Christian cross nonetheless. ;)
     
  3. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Celtic Gods are still worshiped -- it's called paganism. :p
     
  4. D.C. Perry
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    D.C. Perry Member

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    Well yes, I know, I was just typing about.
     
  5. D.C. Perry
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    D.C. Perry Member

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    I was thinking more everyone.
     
  6. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    Celtic religious traditions may have survived well had the Roman Empire not fallen, as the Romans were generally tolerant of local religious practices. Somehow I don't see a desire for world domination as being consistent with Celtic culture. If the Celts were in charge I expect that formation dancing would be compulsory and the ability to recite poetry would be highly valued. Poets would be honored with prizes of thrones and crowns and be looked up to as celebrities. There'd be national competitions for Celtic cultural activities and . . . Oh, hand on a minute, we still do this. You wanted to write fiction didn't you?
     
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  7. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Aye... because so much of Celtic symbolism is a construct of the revival, I 'd be more inclined to use an older symbol, like the spiral, as it was used to adorn sacred places and artifacts in megalithic and neolithic times, but was still commonly used even after Christianity started to take hold. Personally, I've always found the triskele to be the most potent and enigmatic of all Celtic symbols, but even it was pinched and turned into a representation of the Christian Trinity. What it originally symbolised, we can but guess.
     
  8. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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  9. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Yup... much of what people believe to be true is utter fabrication and wishful thinking. Again, blame the revival for that.
     
  10. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll have to read it again - before I mouthpiece for the 'myth' fraternity. It's quite dense and I'm only two coffees into the day. Hi Obsid.
     
  11. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    *Waves* @matwoolf . I'm a coffee ahead of you and seriously considering another. If I go a bit hyper just ignore me. ;)
     
  12. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My understanding is that the Celts were not a racial/ethnic group at all, but rather a group identified by language and culture.
     
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I also think their women had higher status than they did in many other cultures of the period. http://www.celtlearn.org/pdfs/women.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
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  14. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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  15. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    It's an interesting question. In fact, Celtic fighters could have became a very powerful nation if they had unified, but the more tribal nature of Celtic culture pretty much made the idea of Roman unity and civilization something alien to them. This is not to say that the Celts did not have a cultural identity as such, it was more like how Ancient Greece had many different 'polis', but could act as a single unit in times of crisis.

    Also, records show, and they may be biased but they are all we really have, and it's backed up by some archaeological evidence (apparently) that the typical Celtic warrior was one hell of a good fighter. When the Romans tried to land on the British shores they were repelled three times - if I remember each time led by Julius Caesar. This was a nation that glosses over it's capturing of Sparta as an insignificant detail. The fight between Rome and the celts was the equivalent, I've heard a historian say, of the allies vs the Germans in WW2 in Normandy. The Celts had much better troops with more experience, better weaponry and tactics, but the Romans had numbers.

    What would happen had the Celts remained, and what would it be like if they had even been so successful they managed to sack Rome? I imagine it would be a lot like the Germanic/Norse culture of the hero myths and the forests, only replace the gods of Odin and Loki with different ones - and replace giants with faeries, and Valhalla with the faerie world so often talked about in Irish and Scottish mythologies. There would not have been, I don't think, written laws, but more mutual, cultural understanding, and better co-operation between all peoples of the villages and towns that would make up the land; like we see in non-money-based societies. And excess I do not think would have been a problem in a more Celtic society, neither would politics exactly exist outside of clan-clan diplomacy.

    That said, I don't want to suggest that it would have been all roses and folklore. The Python joke 'What did the Romans ever do for us?' comes to mind.
     
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  16. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Their history is a good example of 'history is written by the winners' as well. The Celts didn't write anything; their history was verbal. So the only written histories we have were written by ...the Romans, mostly. So that will be biased not only by the Romans' view of the Celts as barbarous enemies, but also because they didn't mingle or get to know their Celtic neighbours very well. Celtic history is largely a matter of conjecture. Which, of course, makes it great fiction fodder!
     
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  17. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Too true, I don't know why it didn't even occur to me that the Celtics could have been wrote about in that way for Roman political reasons. Good to use as a call to arms, or to generate support a second and third invasion of the British isles when you are talking about the inhabitants as if they were terrifying demons.

    When I lived in Scotland I remember visiting many Celtic sites and stone circles, and one of the things that always struck me was just how much was supposed, and how little was actually known. We have the same stone circles here in Northumberland, but I guess the most famous example is Stonehenge. We don't know what the hell was going on on any of those sites before the Romans disappeared, and began to 'Romanize' the population. I've said it before, but the Romans were never the most objective and curious of people.
     
  18. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are we talking about Picts here or Celts? As in the Scottish example, it was the former that repelled the Romans. They were entirely different cultures and I believe that the term Celt or Celtic is sometimes - in my opinion, erroneously - applied in a broader sense to the inhabitants of pre-Roman Northern Britain.
     
  19. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well yes, you're right. The Picts and the Celts were distinctively different, as anybody who has visted some of the Pictish shrines and stones in the northeastern part of Scotland will have noticed. There are some particularly striking ones up near Portnahomack and the Tain/Black Isle area, as well as along the lower side of the Moray Firth.

    However Boudicca is often referred to as 'Celtic' and of course many in the western part of the country are also considered 'Celtic,' as are some northern Europeans like Germans, etc. Actually the Celts were later replacements in Britain, in many places pushing the Picts out. The Romans were feart of Celts, because some of them actually sacked Rome during its long decline. So there would be lots of prejudice against them, which is likely have turned up in the written histories. The fact is, there is no writing in existence that was created by contemporary Celtic people, so all their history has been written by outsiders looking in. A shame, really. I would like to know more about them, as they were. I guess we can just look at the artifacts they left behind and imagine them wearing/using them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
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  20. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    ^This here is why I love forums. Thanks you two. :) I must admit I often forget the difference between the Picts and Celts, and use the two interchangeably. Mostly because of ignorance to be honest.
     
  21. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been fascinated with these great, fearless, tattooed warrior people ever since I first learned of them in Primary School. As with many of the great cultures they, after a point in time, appear to have disappeared from the face of the Earth. I happened upon this interesting site http://halfmoon.tripod.com/ recently and whilst perhaps not an entirely academic study of them - rather, it looks like it's the work of a committed enthusiast - it gives an insightful overview of the Picts and their eventual demise.
    Kudos on the successful implementation of the word feart on the forum (perhaps a forum first?) by the way.
     
  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Ach, I chickened out and changed it. But it's indicative of how much I've assimilated here. It just came out without thinking when I was writing this. Feart is such a good word. Hey, I'll go change it back!

    Yes, the Picts are difficult to trace, but their DNA must be in so many Scottish people. And of course it's also difficult to say exactly what they did and didn't do. Some credit them with having built the brochs, as well as some of the highland crannogs and the stones that still dot the landscape of Easter Ross and other parts of the northeast.

    For me, some of the relics the Picts left are the showstoppers of Scotland. I'm particularly fond of that fantastic broch that's just sitting on the wee road north from Altnaharra that runs past Ben Hope. It's just sitting there by the side of the road. Hardly anything to mark it. You can park beside it and go put your hands on it. With the exception of the farmhouse WAY in the distance, there is no sign of human habitation anywhere else besides the road itself. It's one of those heart pounding moments that I still experience here in Scotland when I come across something VERY old just resting in the landscape. You'd have to have been born a Yank to understand that rush, I imagine. It's just so damned cool!
     
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  23. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Going back to the OP and the idea of the Celts becoming a world power, I came across this quote which for me pretty much sums it up.

    'Fighting retail, they were beaten wholesale, Had they been inseparable, They would have been insuperable.'

    -Peter Ellis, The Celtic Empire. (Paraphrased from Tacitus.)
     
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  24. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Hmm...possible story idea forming...
     
  25. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    All Celts look like this...

    [​IMG]
     

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