english relics


The Celts were a warlike, passionate people with a love of art.  Celtic art is distinguished for its extensive curves and intricate knot work which is used to form complex decorations for weapons, jewellery and body tattooing. Along with the extravagent use of body tattooing the Celts highlighted their naturally fair hair by washing it in lime-water. This fondness for art and personal decoration was merged with acts of barbarism, such as beheading their enemies and carrying the severed heads around the necks of their horses. The head was the ultimate source of spiritual power; to posses the enemies head, was to posses his spirit. Riding naked on fast moving, light chariots, shrieking and swinging large hacking swords and throwing spears was a most effective method of warfare for instilling terror into their enemies. After a battle the Celts would often dedicate their enemies weapons to the gods and throw them into a river or lake.

The average life expectancy at birth would have been around 25, there was a large migration of people from Central Europe at this time however whether it be through migration or invasion remains debatable. The religious beliefs during this period were varied. Religious practices led by Druids revolved around offerings and sacrifices, sometimes human, often animal or weapons. Concentrations of horse trappings or jewellery hoards have been interpreted as ‘votive’ offerings to the Earth Gods often they were consciously snapped in two and offered back to the earth with a view that no one else would have use of them broken.

Celts wore tunics of woven cloth, decorated and dyed to distinguish one tribe from another. The Romans thought they were a 'gaudy' race, since they were very fond of bright colors and ornamentation. Ceasars observation of ancient the Celt's society of Druids, Warriors and Plebs seems an illuminating pecking order and sheds light on the structure of their society.

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