The Celts were a language group who seem to have received this name from the Greeks, their southern neighbours in the earliest days. The name had the connotation of "wood-landers" or "forest folk." This name was adopted by the Romans, who knew them as one of the "barbaric" hordes that successfully sacked Rome. Pressured north and westward by a large number of classical and other enemies, the Celts eventually supplanted earlier residents of the places now known as Belgium, France, Spain and the British Isles. They were, forced into the remotest regions of the islands by the Romans when they invaded Britain after 55 B.C. The Celts were never completely cowed by these warriors, or the Anglo-Saxons, who arrived in the western islands after the so-called "fall" of the Roman Empire.
Like the "Angles," who were later termed the "English," the Celts
had clear notions of the difference between fact and fiction. In both communities, legends
were considered the unverifiable histories of human heroes, while myths were considered
unprovable histories of the interweavings of men and their gods. Folklore was the
end-product of these somewhat indifferently remembered histories, tales passed from
generation to generation by word of mouth. The idea that history has to be written to have
validity is a peculiar conceit of the learned wordsmith/magicians of recent centuries.
The text on this page is courtesy of Rod C. Mackay.
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