Sunday, April 28, 2013

Who are the "true" Celts? (video)

Pat Macpherson, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly; (02-18-06)
The British Isles: Ireland, Man, Scotland, Wales... (
Danu the wee folk (amayodruid)
Modern nations that consider themselves Celtic do not actually have anything to do with the "true Celts" who once dominated Iron Age Europe, according to anthropological research.

The Irish, Welsh, Scots, and other peoples who regard themselves as Celtic cousins are in fact ancient Bretons, who include the original English peoples.
Being Celtic is neither about blood, tribes, nor red hair, nor is it about loving folk music and believing in the little people.
It's Galway Che, Irish revolutionary
In a landmark special [broadcast in 2006], anthropologist Richard Rudgley, who comes from London, aims to separate myth from fact as he reveals the Celtic world.
Chris Malone, producer for Granada TV, joined him on the journey tracing the Celtic tradition across the world and said that it actually originated with the "true Celts" of central Europe.
Mr. Malone said, "It is assumed that the Celts are the people who speak a 'Celtic' language like the Scots and Welsh.

"These are the peoples who were pushed to the fringes after the Roman invasion. People also think about the Celtic crosses, and about the whole pagan druid thing.
"But those are all the cliches. When the Romans arrived in Britain, they never described the people as Celts.
"The 'true Celts' were the continental Celts, although they spread across Europe."
Che Ernesto Guevara Lynch's statue is located in Galway, Ireland (
He said that Victorian experts made a big mistake in assuming that what we now call the modern Celtic languages were actually from those European Celts.
Patrick Sims-Williams of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, contributes to the film, demonstrating that ancient Welsh was in Britain before these European Celts arrived.
Rebel "Galway Che" Lynch (
Neither is there much evidence of migration, according to DNA research from Trinity College in Dublin.
Mr. Malone said, "So the word 'Celt' as we understand it only actually started being used in that way in the 18th century, and it has taken on different meanings.

"What we think of as being Celtic is not necessarily the same as those original Celts.

"It has all been reinvented. It is a name for the tribes which were originally here in Britain and Ireland and their coming together has created this myth.

"Celtic Buddhism" in Ireland? It has already caught on among disaffected Irish-American Catholics in a big way. (Savaripa family/
"And in that happening, the English have lost some sense of their individual identity."
He said Iron Age communities like Castell Henllys, visited during the program, were similar to Celtic settlements in Europe of the same period, but there were key differences. "Mostly, the similarities are merely copied designs, sometimes copied burial rites."
However the Celtic concept is still important, according to the program makers. In reaching his conclusion, Mr. Rudgley meets druids, sails in Celtic ships, rides Celtic chariots, and fights with Celtic weapons as he uncovers remarkable archaeological evidence that sheds a whole new light on the European culture.
Who are the Bretons?
He contends that, far from being marginal to who we are today, the Celtic tradition is a crucial part of what makes Britain.
Mr. Rudgley argues that the Celtic tradition is a golden thread that has been intertwined with the heart of Europe for thousands of years -- a Celtic "magic" that is still there for the taking, offering us a basis for a new Europe.
And the significant fact is that the Welsh language and related dialects spoken in places like Cornwall and Brittany preceded the arrival of both Roman and Celtic peoples.
"It is a much older language than that, which gives us some sort of common root and a much more ancient connection," added Mr. Malone.
"That precedes the Celts so it is far older than we might assume."
We certainly want to be Celts
We may not be Celts, historically speaking, but we certainly want to be. As [the] Channel 4 program points out, the word has now been reinvented and refers not to the original Celtic peoples of mainland Europe, but the modern "Celtic" areas.
Scotland has its Celtic football team while Wales, for a short period at least, had the Celtic Warriors rugby side.
Celtic music is sold in Irish and other traditional shops. Stones, which were in fact carved by medieval monks influenced by the Christian tradition are also described as "Celtic."
And the pagan traditions of our predecessors have been revived by the Eisteddfod druids, which is also sometimes described as a Celtic ceremony. There is also a huge industry of Celtic-themed jewellery, brooches, and so on, with traditional intertwined designs.
The number of businesses in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland with Celtic in their name is huge -- including Celtica Food, Celtic Alarms, and Celtic Inns.

Video stills from "The Celts"
"The Celts"
Druid, pagan, alien? Sweden (Saffan Anderson)
This is a fascinating journey through the history of the Celtic culture, following the trail back to pre-Roman times when the Celts were regarded as the masters of Europe.
The appeal of being a Celt has not diminished over the centuries. Their leaders were men and women of legend -- King Arthur of the Britons, the Warrior Queen Boudicca, and Vercingetorix the Gaul.
However, few people understand who the Celts actually were or what their true legacy is.
This powerful series cuts through the romanticism and clich├ęd images to give a true picture of Celtic culture. Presenter Richard Rudgley follows the trail back to pre-Roman times, looking into every aspect of Celtic life to show how they adapted to change.

Stonehenge at Sunset (MPanchenko/

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