Myths About Celts

Were the Celts Uncultured?

No. In many works, the Celts are portrayed as uncultured barbarians. However, the Celts were very skilled, specifically in metalwork, but also in masonry and other crafting arts. The Celts themselves were skilled specifically with iron and gold, but also became capable with silver as well after it was introduced to them by the Vikings. In fact, many larger groups of people traded with the Celts to obtain their finely made iron goods, specifically their weapons. As for gold, the Celts placed a high value on the metal and often wore pieces of it on their persons. One of the most well-known pieces of jewelry worn by the Celts was the golden torque, a hoop made out of gold with one narrow opening, which would sit around the neck with the opening facing the front. The more ornate the torque was, or the more gold was in it, the higher the person stood within the group’s social ranking.

Were the Celts Unclean?

No. Another common misconception about the Celts is that they were unclean. This one is easily refuted, considering the fact that the Celts cared very much about their personal appearances and were some of the first people to invent soap.

Did the Celts Perform Human Sacrifices?

Rarely. A third misconception is that the Celts were very interested in human sacrifice. The Celts did sacrifice people, but only very rarely. Most often, the sacrificed items and animals to the gods. Their religion, since it was so nature based, involved giving back to nature some of what was taken from it. So they would take some of their finished products and bury them to pay back the Gods for what they had given them.

Did the Celts Completely Lack Strategy?

No. A fourth misconception, and the final one mentioned here, is that the Celts basically ran into battle like wild morons, which would be useless against a more disciplined force. The Celts did not attack in groups of shouting morons. In fact, they came up with some of their own interesting military innovations to help combat such groups. Also, they tended to use guerilla style warfare that more suited their knowledge of the land and their small groups.

Did the Celts or their Druids Build Stonehenge?

No. Most now believe that Stonehenge was built over five thousand years ago, starting in roughly around 3100 BC. Considering that Celtic cultural traits didn’t start appearing in Britain until roughly the 6th century BC, Stonehenge could not have been built by the Celts, or their priestly and scholarly social group, the druids. It was built around two thousand five hundred years before the Celts even showed up in Britain. Archaeologists agree that the construction of Stonehenge was conducted in various stage by various groups of people, starting with a Neolithic farming culture.

~Victoria

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