A CELTIC CHRONOLOGY
FROM RUSSIA'S STEPPES TO AMERICA'S DOOR;
FROM KURGANS TO AMERICANS
Most all the early information in this chronology is based on an oral tradition that was written many hundreds of years later, so that fact and legend often became confused. Much of it , distilled of elaboration, has been supported by archaeological studies.
3000BC A nomadic people of the Russian Steppe (from the lower Volga River past the Caspian Sea and Lake Aral to the lower Yenesei River in Sibera), the Kurgan, tame the horse. These people buried their dead in mounds. The name, `kurgan', is Russian for mound. Some historians call these peoples the Ur people.
2400 The mounted Kurgan move to the north Black Sea area invading and mixing with a culture known as the North Pontic, who lived on the Dnieper River on the north bank of the Black Sea. Their name came from the old name for the Black Sea which was Pontus Euxeinos. From there the North Pontic-Kurgan peoples invaded southeast into the area inhabited by a culture known as Trans-Caucasian. These people lived on both sides of the Caucasus Mountains. From the merging of these people a new people known as the Indo-Europeans developed. The Indo-European language presaged the following languages:
Gaulish, Umbrian, Latin, Tarentine, Sanskrit, Illyrian, Phrygian, Thracian, Hittite, Messapian, Ligurian, Lydian, Venetic, Lycian, Praenestine, Faliscan, Lanuvian, Oscan,
Sabellian, Luwian, Palaic, Prarits, Pali, Avestan, Tocharian, Sogdian, Khotanese, Pahlavi
Albanian, Armenian, Greek
Lithuanian, Macedonian, Wendish, Latvian, Bulgarian, Russian, Slovene, Czech, Slovak Ukrainian, Serbo-Croation, Polish, Kashubian, BelorussiaGermanic ....................................Italian
Persian, Pashto, Sindhi, Marathi, Assamese, Nepali, Urdu, Kurdis, Ossetic, Panjabi, Konkani, Bihari, Sinhalese, Baluchi, Kashmiri, Rajasthani, Oriya, Hindi,
Romany, Tajaki, Lahnada,Gujarati, Bengali, Shina, Khowar, Kafiri
Icelandic, Danish, Afrikaans ..........Portuguese, French, Sardinian
Faeroese, German, Frisian ............Spanish, Haitian, Creole, Dalmatian
Norwegian, Yiddish, English .........Catalan, Italian, Rumanian
Swedish, Dutch, Flemish ...............Provençal, Rhaeto-Romanic
Giodelic, Brythonic, Gaelic, Welsh, Scottish, Cornish, Manx, Breton
Seeing the diversity of languages and the cultures they represent, one can understand better how you can not say the Kurgan or Indo-European was a Celt, rather it was from their cultures the Celtic culture evolved as did so many others.
There were steps:
X-Kurgan, Kurgan-North Pontic, Kurgan North Pontic-TransCaucus, Battle Axe, Corded Ware, Tumulus, Halberd, Sword, Beaker, Urnfield, Unetice, Celtic, Hallstatt, La Tene.
These are names developed after the fact, there were steps in between, and some over lapped. The pre Celtic, Indo-European progenitors of the Celts were among the cultures before the Urnfield Culture from which the Celts begin to emerge as a separate collection of peoples. The Celts of today are divided into groups represented by the Gaels (Ireland, Scotland. the Hebrides and Orkney Islands), Manx; Welsh, Cornish, and Bretons.
Separate from these developments but later connected was the emergence of the Minoan Culture centered in Crete. This culture developed a trading community that was extensive through out the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean Sea coast and began to reach into the west Mediterranean area. Of particular interest to this study is the establishment of trading settlements on Asia Minor.
2399 The Battle-Axe and Corded Ware Cultures spread from the Danube to the Caspian Sea pushed West into Europe and south from the Caucasus into Asia Minor. The tribes who moved into what we know as Thrace and Macedonia are examples of the former and the Hittites are examples of the latter. Later Indo-European and Celtic peoples will pass over these same territories, even fighting each other as the migrating bands continue to drift. An example of this is the people who were originally in Thrace and Macedonia at about this time migrated to become the Bythians, Phrygians and Lydians that later tribes in Thrace and Macedonia fought during the Trojan wars.
2000 The Halberd Culture of pre-Pict peoples is in Ireland
1850 The Mycenaean Culture begins to supplant the Minoan Culture.
It begins taking over the widespread trading posts. The Myceneans appear to be a development from the Indo-Europeans who were in Thrace and Macedonia. Their dominanace began in the north Aegean Sea where they took over trading posts on both sides of the Aegean and then furthered the establishment of trading posts on into the Black Sea on both the North and South shores. The groups making up the Myceneans are not centralized but a loose trading confederacy.
The local community where Greek trading posts were established enjoyed a special relationship with the greeks and the Aegean trading community at large. This transformation from Minoan to Mycenean was a slow process spread over a number of years. An examole is Melitus. Melitus, on the Asia Minor coast was a Minoan trading post. Mycenaeans established a trading settlement there that coexisted with the Minoan trade center, then challenged it and finally replaced it in a trade take-over. The Aegean trade was a very competitive market. Melitus' records show that it struggled to stay competitive with the Phonecians for eastern Mediterranean trade.
1800 Scythians who are in the area between the lower Volga and the Caspian begin to move toward the Dneiper as did the Kurgans before them. They drift toward the North Pontic area pressuring the Cimmerians who were there. The Cimmerians turn south across the Caucasus to Asia Minor. The Scythians are related to the Kurgans in that they bury their dead in kurgans and have many customs and rituals in common with the Kurgans such as the central place played by the horse in their culture.
Two peoples, the Partholanians and the Nemedians are said to be in "Greek Scythia" a later term meaning in the Pontic areas of the Black Sea with Greek trading communities. The two groups are said to be of the same people each a different faction led by different men and separated by generations. The peoples of the Pontic area develop a special relationship with the Greeks. Some of them adopt some Greek ways and dress. The 1,000 or so followers each of Partholan and Nemed in the course of doing business with Greece, were able to move to Greece. The term `Greece' at this time could mean just about anywhere on the Aegean Sea, or even one of the Greek cities on the Black Sea.
After some time in Greece they learned of the island we know as Ireland and moved there. The similar events of these two peoples were several hundreds of years apart.
Rise of the Unetice Civilization from which will emerge the; Italic, Venetian, Illyrian and Celtic peoples. The latter showed an influence by the Scythians. The term, `Celt', is used to identify and link many tribes with converging traditions and speech.
The word `Celt' comes from the Greek word `Keltoi' (the Greeks also called them `Gallatai'), the Germans called them `Kelten', the French called them the `Celtes' and the Romans called them `Galli' and then `Gauls'.
1700 The Nemedian survivors of a plague in Ireland return to Greece and accept a position low in the social structure to near slave status. They are called Firbolgs( also Fir Bolg, Fir-Bolg, Fir Volg and Firvolgs). The Firbolgs (the name means "bag men", leading most historians to believe they were laborers who carried out the earth in excavation projects. Other historians interpret it to mean the Fir Bolgs were archers with their ever present bag or quiver. Considering their social status the former would appear to be the more accurate.
1400 The Firbolgs escape serfdom in Greece and using stolen Greek ships, sail for Ireland. The Firbolg were the descendants of the surviving Nemedians who escaped a plague in Ireland to find shelter in Greece.
The Firbolg took control of Ireland, the first group ever to rule the whole island. Their capitol was on Tara Hill. Except for occasional raids by a group called Fomorians, seafaring raiders from Tory Island, the Firbolgs controlled Ireland until the appearance of a another people said to have originated in "Greek Scythia" known as the Tuatha de Danann (tuatha means people). Danann is said to have come from Danu the name for a goddess in what became Denmark, through which these people passed on a long journey over time and distance from Scythia to Ireland.
The De Dannan were more civilized and cultured than the Firbolgs, and the two groups could not live together. In the resulting clash, the De Dannan won in a climactic battle on the present Mayo/Galway border. The Firbolgs were left Connacht, the De Dannan ruled the rest of Ireland. A group of Firbolgs, unable to live with these conditions, left to colonize Alba, what we know today as Scotland. The De Danann where said to be a very cultured race proficient in the design of metal artifacts. It is known that gold came into the Mycenaean Trade community via Ireland about this time.
1300 The Sword Culture of Britain invades the Halberd Culture of Ireland. This may belatedly refer to the superiority of the De Danann over the Fir Bolg, a process that took some time.
1220 The beginning of the breakdown of the Ùnêtice Culture of Central Europe (Bohemian Valley). The Teutons and Umbrians move toward central Italy, the Veneti to North Italy (these are the progenitors of the Illyrians of Belgrade, the Phrygians of Asia Minor and the later Armenians. The predecessors of the Doric Greeks move into Thrace and Macedonia.
Gaodhal Glas, said to be a contemporary of Moses, led his people from "Greek Scythia" to Greece where their skills in trade catch the eyes of a Pharaoh and they are invited to Egypt.
1200 The Urnfield culture emerges in the late Bronze Age (the names of some cultures comes from the location or a major common artifact found).
When Mereneptah becomes Pharaoh*, things change in Egypt. To secure his throne, he begins killing rivals and foreigners are no longer as welcome as they were under the previous Pharaoh (Ramses II). Moses* leads the Israelites out of Egypt by foot for Cannan; at the same time, Neill, the grandson of Gaodhal Glas, who married a daughter of the previous Pharaoh, leads the Gaels from Egypt via the sea.
*the sequence of Pharaohs has long been debated, but not the change in political climate.
Dorian Greeks together with the Aeolian and Ionian Greeks supplant the Myceneaan Culture in Greece which includes the Asia Minor coast and other trading outposts on the Black Sea and in the Mediterranean. Many historians agree this is when Jason and the Argonauts made their voyage into the Black Sea.
1180 The Trojan War, an aspect of the Greeks establishing themselves on Asia Minor to control the trade going into and from the Black Sea. The Trojans and their allies were forcing tribute from any ships passing through the Dardenelles.
1100 The beginning of the Halstatt Culture.
The Ionians are pressured from Greece by the Dorians and set up in Asia Minor with their principle city being Melitus which is located on the coast below what will become Ephesus. The city of Melitus continues the Greek tradition of colonizing (the word `colony' comes from the Greek word `kolon' which means limb), the people of Melitus are called Melisians and they set up 900 colonies. The most important are on the Black Sea.
Other colonies were established at Ephesus, Samos and Smyrna. Melitus founded trading posts of its own at Abydus, Lampsacus and Cyzicus.
1000 The Gaels, who were led from Egypt by Neill, the grandson of Gaodhal Glas, took them first to Crete and then to other areas before they settled in Spain. There a leader by the name of Miled or Milesius became leader of the group.
He planned to move the clan to Ireland as Spain was becoming crowded with other Celtic tribes. Considering the fact this group originally came from "Greek Scythia" and that they were known to have traveled to many places before settling in Spain, it may be possible that they returned to the Pontic region via one of the many colonies of Melitus or even stayed in Melitus itself and thus became known as the Melisians.
Tradition says that Milesius died before he could complete his plans, but his wife Scota (named after Neill's wife), and his eight sons continued the plans to place the extended family, now called Melisians in honor of Milesius, as the rulers of Ireland. Their invasion was a great success in that they were able to defeat the De Dannan for control of the island, but at a great cost. Scota lost six of her sons in the struggle, the surviving two; Eremon, and Eber divided the island between them except for two areas they reserved for the families of their two married brothers who died in the takeover. The southwest corner of Eremon's half was reserved for the family of his brother Ith. Eber gave the northeast corner of his half to the family of his brother Ir. Many believe Ir to be the origin if the word Ireland. For a time, the island was called Irland. The name comes to us from the vikings who first landed in the northeast corner of the island. Scota and her family called the island "Erinn", after a De Dannan queen named Eire. It would appear the Milesians gave all the names by which the Emerald Isle is known today:
Ireland, Erin, and Eire. The family is also the source of the old world's name for Ireland, Eiru.
During Caesar's time, he referred to the Ireland as Scota, and its inhabitants as Scoti. Later, when the Scoti invaded Alba, the Romans changed its name to Scotland, or land of the Scoti.
An ancient legend says a Cornish Giant named Goemer wrestled a Trojan named Corineus.
900 Goidelic-speaking peoples arrive in Britain and Ireland. One of these peoples became known as the Picts. The Romans called them the Pretani. The Irish called them the Cruithin.
The Aegean trade community extends to France, Spain and more of Italy and the islands off shore, south to Lybia and to the Unetice Culture of central Europe.
800 The Cimmerians begin to move across the Trans Caucasus into Asia Minor displacing the Phrygians as the Scythians move into the North Pontic area.
750 The Helvetii Celts living on the shores of the lakes of Switzerland are attacked by Germans many of them migrate to Britain bringing with them their agricultural tools and the use of iron.
700 The Celtic Hallstatt Culture of the Iron Age is at its peak, some elements have been developing since 1100 and show influence by the Illyrians. The Celts wealth began to accumulate when the Celts salt with the Greeks and Etruscans. The Halstatt Culture was for the aristocrats among the Celts, the rest of the tribe remained in the Urnfield Culture.
The Melisians of Melitus establish trading centers at Sinope (today's Sinop) and Amisus (Sansun) on the south Pontic shores of the Black Sea. The Milesians of Sinope go on to found the trading centers of Cotyora (Ordu), Cesasus (Giresun) and Trapezes (Trabzon) all on the south shore of the Black Sea.
The Scythians pursue the Cimmerians and now control the north and south shores of the Black Sea. The Greek trading communities pay tribute to continue their status to the Scythians, thus the term "Greek Scythia" is now a fact. The Scythians push the Cimmerians all the way to Assyria.
650 Royal Scythia, home of the ruling families of the Scythians is in the North Pontic area even though their administrative capital is in Saqqez on the Tigris and the frontier of Scythia went as far east as the upper Yenisei River in Siberia.
612 The Scythians allied with Babylonians and Medes attack and defeat the Assyrians at Nineveh.
600 Goidelic speaking Celts from Spain arrive in Ireland. Celtic centers are in Ankara, Budapest, Belgrade, Verona, Milan, Geneva, Paris, Orleans, Tara, and in Spain, Britain, Scotland, Holland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and Czechoslovakia.
Greeks trade with Celts at Marseilles. The latter is founded by traders from Asia Minor. Merchants in Phocis, Greece made a treaty with a Celtic tribe (Keltoi) in Spain for their silver.
The Celtic tribe Segobrigai settled in Massila (Marseilles). Other Celts settled in the Po Valley of Italy.
Still other Celts were expanding into East of the Danube settling in what is today the Czech and Slovak areas. Others moved into Bohemia (Boii)) and from the Balkans to the Black Sea.
500 Brythonic speaking Celts arrive in Britain and Ireland. Among them are the Erainn Cets Laigin of Amorica (later Brittany). Celts are in Narbonne, France and in southwest Spain.
The Insubres capture Milan. The Cenomani settle Brecia and Verona.
As the Celtic early history is found in an oral tradition, we have to read what others wrote of the Celts to have some understanding of them.
Physically the Celts are terrifying in appearance, with deep sounding and very harsh voices. In conversation they use few words and speak in riddles, for the most part hinting at things and leaving a great deal to be understood. They frequently exaggerate with the aim of extolling themselves and diminishing the status of others. They are boasters and threateners and given to bombastic self-dramatization, and yet are quick of mind and with good natural ability for learning.
The whole race ... is madly fond of war, high-spirited and quick to battle, but otherwise straight forward and not of evil character. ...at any time or place and on whatever pretext you stir them up, you will have them ready to face danger, even if they have nothing on their side but their own strength and courage.
We have no word for the man who is excessively fearless; perhaps one may call such a man bereft of feeling, who fears nothing, neither earthquake nor waves, as they say of the Celts.
Dr. Barry Fell of Harvard University has indentified inscriptions found in New England that are in Ogham writing.
Ogham was a method of inscribing writing on stone used by Gaels in Ireland, Scotland and Wales as early as 500 B.C.
According to his studies, Dr. Fell beleives a group of Celts first settled in New Hamshireat the mouth of the Merrimac River. Later the Celts went up the Merrimac River as far as Quechie, Vermont and westward into the Green Mountains.
In his book, America B. C., Dr. Fell mentions sites found at South Woodstock and South Royalton, Vermont; in New Hampshire at Raymond, Bartlett and Mystery Hill; in Maine at Madison and off the coast at on Manana Island and Mohegan Island; in Massachusetts at Upton, Merrimackport, Westport, Burnt Mountain and the Boston area. Dr. Fell reports that Cotton Mather wrote the Royal Academy in England in 1712 about Ogham writing he found at a site in Dighton, Massachusetts. Other sites were found at Danbury, Connecticut; North Salem, New York and the Susquehanna River Valley in Pennsylvania.
Gloria Farley, a colleague of Dr. Fell, has found evidence of Celts who left Ogham writing as they travelled up the Mississippi River, westward on the Arkansas River to the Cimmarron River that borders Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The New England sites have more evidence than just Ogham writing, there are doldems, druid circles, burial tombs and oracle chambers - all reflecting Celtic culture.
520 Celtic tribes advance into Italy.
475 Boii and Insubres Celtic tribes from Italy defeat the Etruscan empire at Ticiano.
450 La Tene era begins.
400BC Celtic invasion of Italy, Etruscans are expelled from the Po valley.
More than half the grain that reaches Athens is grown in fields off the Black Sea in Greek Scythia.
Herodotus of Halicarnassus reports of a merchant by the name of Samos of Colacus whose ship was blown off course after trading in North Africa and landed at Tartessus (modern river Guadalquiver) in Southern Spain where they found Celtic tribes mining silver.
396 Celts defeated Etruscans at Melplum (Melzo, West of Milan).
390 First contact with Romans at Clusium.The Senones Celtic Tribe led by Brennus defeated the Romans in Rome.
Ephoros of Cyme reported the Celts occupied an area the size of the Indian sub.continent.
387 Gauls advance on Rome and burn it.
369 Celtic mercenaries fighting with Greece against Boetians.Xenphon reports Celtic mercenaries being used against the Thebans in Peloponnesus.
335 Alexander meets Celts at the Danube. The Macedonians he leads were a Celtic tribe.He concludes a treaty with the Celts to not attack his territory while he goes to the East to fight.
332 Senones sign a treaty with Rome
330 Aristotle in his writings uses the example of the Celts to discuss the nature of bravery.
300 P-Celtic speaking tribes arrive in Ireland from Britain.
298 Rome fights the Celts and others.The Celts and Etruscans unite with the Sammites to fight and defeat a Roman Legionat Camerium (Cameria Northeast of Rome).
295 Battle of Sentinum, a Celtic defeat against Romans, the Romans reported there were 1,000 Celtic chariotsin the battle.
The Leponti settle Lake Maggiore, Italy.
The Senones settle on the Adriatic coast.
The Libici and Salluvii settle on the Ticina River.
The Trocini settle on the Dardenelles.
The elements of the Boii and Lingones cross the Alps and settle south of the Po River.
285 Romans annihilated the Senone Celts at Lake Vadimo.
284 The Celts were victorious at Arretium (Arezzo) against the Romans killing the Legion Commander LuciusCaecilius.
283 The Romans defeat the Senones at Picenum (on Italy's Eastern seaboard).
King Pyrrhus of Epiros, Greece landed in South Italy to assist the Greek cities and Celts from the Po Valey against Rome. The Romans prevailed at Beneventum, but King Pyrrus was able to retreat taking the Celtic warriors with him.
279 Celts invade Greece, moving first though Macedonia and then all the way to Delphi. Three divisions of Celts invaded the Greek penninsula. Bolgois' division defeated Macedonia and killed the king Ptolemy Ceraunos, who had been Alexander's foremost general. The army under Brennus and Acichorios entered Greece, passed Macedonia to Thessaly and defeated Callippus, son of Moerocles at the battle of Thermopylae. The third army led by Cerethrios defeated the new Macedonian king Antigonatus Gonatas. The Celts sacked the holy sanctuary of Delphi. Greece had to cancel their annual games that year. The Olympics? Some Celts remained, threatening Macedonia while others returned to the north settling in Trace (Bulgaria), Albania and Rumania.At the invitation of Nicomedes of Bithynia, 20,000 Celts and their families (from the Tolistoboii, Tectosages and Trocmi tribes led by their kings Litarios and Leonnarios) migrated to Asia Minor establishing a settlement in Turkey's central plains, Galatia, becoming the Galatian tribe. Tectosages in Ancyra (Ankara), the Tolistoboii (renamed Gordium) to Vindia, and the Trocmi settled east of the river Halys.
278 Celts reach the Dardanelles.
277 4,000 Celt warriors traveled to Egypt to serve the pharaoh Ptolemy II.
275 Celts settle the area of Galatia near Ankara.
Antiochus I defeats the Celts in Asia Minor.
264 Celtic mercenaries participated in the First Punic War.3,000 Celts fought for Carthage.
261 Galatian Celts defeated the mighty Syrian army at Ephesus and killed the king, Antiochus I.
259 Ptolemy II stopped a Celtic troop takeover, banishing the Celts to an island in the Nile where they starved to death.
241 Attalos I of Pergamum defeated the Celts at the headwaters of Caioc and Pergamum could finally stop paying tribute to the Celts.
225 Celts advance on Rome, battle Romans at Telamon in Tuscany. One of the Celtic leaders is named Brennus. Boii and Insubres Celts with their professional warriors, the Gaesatae, commanders Aneroestes and Concolitanus along with 50,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry stood against 700,00 Roman infantry and 70,000 Roman cavalry. The Celts lost in what is described as the most spectacular battle in Celtic history.
223 Roman legions advance into the Po valley.The Romans devestate Boii territory and take over the Insubres territory whose capital was Milan.
222 The Celts asked for a peace treaty with the Romans. Gnaeus Cornelia Scipio and Marcus Claudius Marcellus refused, holding out for what they clearly wanted, an extermination of the Celts. The Celts recruited the Gaesatae whose reknown leader was Viridomarus challenged Marcellus to single handed combat to determine the outcome. He lost. The Romans took Po Valley in the end of the 'Celtic Wars'.
218 Second Punic War, Celts ally with Carthage and Hannibal.
Attalos of Pergamum recruited the Aegosae Celts in his army but they were soon slaughtered by Prusias of Bithynia in 217.
217 14,000 Celts now in Egypt were at the battle of Raphia with Ptolemy IV against Antiochis II of Syria, a victory because of the Celt cavalry.
216 Hannibal of Carthage had an half Celtic army when he approached the Po Valley, resulting in a famous victory against the Romans in 216 at Cannae.
203 Celts and Celtiberians successfully defend Carthage against Roman attack at Utica.
201 Rome takes Po Valley, eventually exterminating the Celtic Cenomani, Insubres and Boii tribes.
200 Rise of the Dacian state.
197 Battle of Lake Como where Romans defeat the Celts.
193 According to Livy, the Boii fought well but were defeated by the Romans along the Po River: 14,000 dead, 1092 captured alive with 721 horses, three chieftains, 212 standards and 63 wagons. A year later a Boii chieftain surrended to a Roman counsel, Titus Quinctius Flaminius who had him and his family ritually slaughtered as entertainment for his boyfriend.
191 Battle of Bologna resulting from a Boii revolt
Battle of Allia where the Senones and Lingones defeat the Romans on the left bank of the Tiber River.
Galatian Celts still independent from the Greeks, formed an alliance with Antiochus III of Syria. Their battle of Magnesia was a major Roman victory. The Romans were allied by Eumenes II of Pergamum and the brother of the commander who took down Hannibal, Lucius Cornelius Scipio.
189 Rome sends troops to Galatia under Gnaus Manilus Volso y to crush the Galatian Celts in Turkey. The Tolistoboii and Trocmi were defeated at the battle of Mount Olympus near Pessinus, a battle of slaughter including innocents. The Tectosages were defeated at a hill named Magaba near Ancyra. Ortagion, a Tolistoboii chieftain reunited what was left of the three tribes. to assist Peragamum to defeat the Selencids who were aided by Celtic mercenaries.
These Celtic mercenaries stay and found Galatia in present day Turkey.
187 Celtic mercenaries were in Egypt.
180 Cleopatra had an elite Celtic warrior bodyguard.
179 Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus offered the Iberian Celts enlistment into the Roman army, which was not readily accepted.
175 Rome defeats the Celts in Northern Italy.
152 Numantia Celts almost destoyed an advancing Roman army, leading to a treaty in 151 which was broken the following year by a new Roman commander, Galba, whose brutality was criticized even in Rome.
148 The Celts under Viriathos revenged on Galba, forcing his surrender, but a traitor murdered Vitiathos in his sleep.
136 The Roman Mancinus surrendered with 20,000 troops to the Celts at Pallantia
134 Publius Cornelius Scipio was sent to Numantia to finish off the Celts, surrounding the tribe and starving them by isolation. Rhetogenes led 400 to break the seige but were captured and paraded in front of the town with their right hands severed. The Celts finally surrended, 8,000 men women and children against 60,000 Romans. Numantia was burnt, Fifty Celtic leaders were taken to Rome for ceremonial sacrifice, the rest sold into slavery.
125 A Celtic tribe, the Salvuii, attacked the territory of Massilia which had a treaty with Rome. This action brings the Romans into Gaul for the first time.
124 Entremont, a Celtic settlement in Provence France, is defeated by Romans.
123 The remaining Galatian Celts' alliances helped them become independent and powerful once more under Ortagion.
121 Allobroges and Averni defeated by the Romans aided by the Aedui.
120 The Boii defeat the Cimbri.
118 Romans expanded to Massilia, having defeated the Salyes Celts, as well as southern Gaul, Provence, Toulouse, and Narbon.
113 Celtiberians fight Romans.
109 Cimbri ally with the Teutones.
Romanian Celts and the Dacians made a treaty to try and stop the approaching Romans.
107 Celts defeat the Romans near Bordeaux (the only significant Celtic victory on Celtic soil).
105 The Battle of Aransio in which the Cimbri and Teutones defeat the Romans.
100 Celtic centers in London, St. Albans, Toulouse, Basel, Soissons, Bern, Bratislava, Magdalensberg, Karlstein, Turin, Bergano, and Milan.
90 The Salluvii revolt
88 Another revolt of the Salluvii.
Mithridates V 'The Great' of Pontus invited sixty major Celtic chieftains to dine and discuss. He relied on the Celtic tradition of no arms could be worn entering a feasting hall and slaughtered them all save one, Deiotarus, son of Dumnorix of the Tolistoboii. Out of three chieftains that did not attend, one was assassinated.
81 Schools were set up under the guidance of Sertorius for the children of Celtic kings and chieftains, using Latin for writings.
75 Belgian Celts cross the English Channel. Belgae tribal centers were in Winchester, Chichester, St Albans (then Verulamium) and Colchester. The Belgae Celts originally lived in the Rhine and Seine areas. Cunobelinus was a great Celtic king who ruled from about 10 AD to 40 AD, possessing a mint and started extensive trade with Gaul.
Belgae Celts from between Seine and Rhine in France (Gaul) pressured from northern Germans and Romans from France and Mediterranean to leave homelands and they invaded SE Britain, creating sharp divide between themselves and residents. Introduced coins, traded with Romans and Gauls. Belgae were tall, fair haired, warlike with Germanic strain, dark superstitious religious beliefs of goblins, elves, spirits living in sacred groves & places. masters of daily life crafts, weaving, pottery, blacksmithing, boat building. Priestly caste were the Druids, the priests, teachers, magistrates. Belgae maintained closeness with kin in France.
England remained mostly non-Celtic and turned Roman, while Wales and Scotland were run by Celts.
74 Deiotarus drove out the new governor of Galatia, Zeumachus. Mithridates had declared war on Rome, leaving Deiotarus the ruler of Galatia, and he quickly made treaties with Rome. Mithridates fled and was killed at the hand of a Celt.
66 Allobroges revolt
62 Another revolt by the Allobroges against Rome.
61 Caesar defeats the Celts in Spain.
Battle of Admagetobriga between Ariovistus and the Gauls (Celts).
59 Dacians defeat the Scordisci and attack the Boii and Taurisci.
58 Caesar begins to conquer Gaul.
57 Battle of Nervii, Nervii Belgae Celts were annihilated by the Romans
56 Roman occupation of Brittany and Normandy.
The Venetii rebel on the Amorican Peninsula.
55 Julius Caesar invades what is now British Isles, started in 54 and 55. Caesar knew Gaul Celts received aide from British Celts and the invasion was considered punishment and Romans wanted Brits to export grain to Rome. First expedition failed due to boats damaged in storms and was met by Celts in chariots who fought him off. On the second expedition, he stormed Belgic hill fort near Canterbury, fighting the Belgic king Cassivellaunus (thought to have ruled from Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire), crossed the Thames near London, obtained submission form southern chieftains and returned to Rome with slaves and promises of tribute from the Celts. Beglic princes extended their territories west. Belgic tribal centers became towns of Winchester, Chichester, Verulamium (St Albans) and Colchester, which was run by Cunobelinus (Shakespeare's Cymbeline), the greatest king who had docks for trade with Gaul. Warlike eastern Celts fought with the Belgae Celts. Commius (Caesar's Roman ally left as king of the Atrebates in the Belgi area) stayed behind and retained a weak Roman influence.
54 Revolt against the Romans led by the Eubrones.
52 Vercingetorix, one of the greatest Celtic chiefs is defeated.
Caesar has successfully conquered all of Gaul.
50 The La Tene era is over on the Continent.
Celtic tribal organization for the first 1000 years AD was basically the same. The tribe (tuath) was ruled by a king (ri) through a general assembly of the people (oenach). The land the tribe lived on, in Celtic law, belonged to the tribe, unlike other culture's law, like English law which stated it belonged to the king. The land was owned by the nobility of the tribe, collectively as families. The extended family (cineadh) was the basic unit. The family usually was four generations, grandparent to grandchildren. This family unit was known as the Iarfine. It expanded to include great grandparents (Infine) if they were living, and contracted to just a father and sons (Derbfine) if there were no other generations alive.
Land did not pass to the eldest son when a father died, it simply remained a possession of the clan. Individual rights came from one's position in the family.
Celtic society was divided into three classes: The Nobles, the Freecommoners, and the Unfree. Each man had an honor price, which was dependent on his class and status within the class. This formed the basis for any compensation to his family for death, injury, or insult. The Noble class was made up of a sub-strata that included the warriors, specialists, master craftsmen, jurists, doctors, and men of learning [the bards and priests (Druids)]. The Freecommoners were peasant farmers and craftsmen of lesser ability than master craftsmen. The Unfree were degraded families, subjected communities and slaves.
Women were given a high place in Celtic society. According to the marriage laws women controlled all the possessions they owned before the marriage, and could leave with them if necessary. If the woman's wealth exceeded that of her husband, she controlled the household. Wives frequently joined their men in battle. One of the most famous Celtic women warriors was Boudicca who assisted in the burning of Rome in 60 A.D.
A Chief was a leader of his people, there could be sub-chiefs under his authority. The Chief gave his allegiance to a king. A king (ri) could be an "over king" meaning other kings paid him honor, in turn the "over kings" were subordinate to a "high king" (ard ri) if one could rise to subordinate them. Celtic law held that only the king could rules his people, no "over king" had direct power over a lesser king's tribe or area.
Celtic law was based on custom and not by enforcement from autocratic authority. The family enforced, through custom and tradition, the law as guided by legal specialists called brehons who interpreted the law for their family. There existed, for centuries, a hatred by the Celts for those invaders who imposed on them a state-enforced legal system.
Poets were very important in Celtic society, there was a whole range of titles a poet passed through before he was called the highest title (Ollam). An Ollam was considered on a level with a petty king. A poet's function in Celtic society was to praise and eulogize his Chief and the Chief's family. The poet preserved and recited the Chief's genealogy. A poet had the right to travel and provide the service to other Chiefs for which they must pay a fee. In fact the Chiefs so visited were obligated to play host to the poet and his retinue, sometimes as many as 24 people for an Ollam.
The Celts introduced soap to the Greeks and Romans; they gave the basic shape to tools still in use to this day: the handsaw, chisel, file, and other tools; the Celts developed the seamless iron rim for chariots; their chariot wheels were 4'8" apart, a standard that is today shown on the gauge of our railroads; the Celts pioneered the iron plowshare, the rotary flour mill, a rotary reaper, and horseshoes. Celtic art is interesting because it was abstract.
The Celts gave to mankind from its culture, and in the Dark Ages it was the Celts who preserved the enlightenment, the arts and Christianity and gave it back to man when he saw the light.
Many of the place names used today in Europe come from the names of Celtic tribes. Paris is named for the Parisii, Rheims comes from the Remi. Helvetia, the official name of Switzerland comes from the Helvetii. Belgium is named from the Belgae.
The Boii left forms of their names in Bologna and Bohemia. The Gauls left their name in: Galicia, Spain; Nuevo Galicia in Nueva Espana (modern Mexico); Galicia, Poland; and Galatia, Turkey. It was to the latter Saint Paul addressed his epistle to the Galatians.
Some of the Celtic tribes, their general locations and principal known leaders are listed in Appendix V. Names of Celtic Tribes.
...European culture is inconceivable without the Celtic contribution. Even when the presence of the Celts in their original territory is no longer obvious, we must acknowledge the fact: they are at the root of the Western European peoples who have made history.
While they (Celts) never managed to forge an empire, a stable state, or even an absolute ethnic unity, they laid the economic, social, and artistic foundations of northern European civilization.
The Celts were energetic, and most inventive. They introduced to northern Europe the use of iron. Iron for tools and weapons, abundant, more efficient than bronze in felling man and forest, tilling the soil, providing transport. And in seven centuries of cultural dominance, they created Europe's first industrial revolution, its first common market, and its first international court of arbitration.
The ancient Celts bequeathed more than language, literature, and works of art to European civilization; they gave it a sensitivity and an intellectual disposition...
4 B.C. Herod the Great died, his funeral was attended by Celtic bodyguards
10-100 A.D. During this period the Celtic tribes in Ireland vigorously raided and immigrated into Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, and Brittany.
43 Aulus Plautius (currently ruling Hungary) landed unopposed in East Kent, England with a strong calvary, defeated Cymbeline's son and made it to the Thames where the Roman Emperor Claudius, took over, complete with elephants. At Colchester, Caludius received submission from about a dozen kings, then returned to Rome sixteen days later. The Fosse Way was built, a frontier line from Bristol Channel to the Humber. Colchester, Lincoln, Glouchester and York became settled with cooperative Celts and Romans.
Cymbeline's son headed for free Wales. Cartimandua, the queen of the Brigantes Celts made peace with the Romans. Ostorius Scapula replaced Aulus and tried to take Wales until his death in 52.
The Durotiges of the Dorset area offer stiff resistance
50c Approximately during this period there was a Milesian King of Ulster named Conor Mac Nessa. MacNessa had a wife named Maeve, she was a strong willed woman. Their marriage did not last long. Maeve left Ulster and married the King of Leinster, that too did not work out, she next married the King of Connacht. Each time she married, she increased her wealth. There was an argument with her new husband over who had the most wealth, this was important, because as stated above, it meant who ran the household. In this case it was the Kingdom of Connacht. She was the daughter of an Ard Righ, and had been the wife of two kings of Ireland, she did not like it when people referred to her as the King's wife. The argument got serious as to who had the most wealth, to the point there was a count made. After all the jewels, land, slaves, and other property was counted, it was found the King owned an especially fine brown bull that made him the richer.
Maeve was aware of a bull in Ulster, from her days with Conor MacNessa, which if she owned, would make her more wealthy than her husband. The owner of the bull would not sell it. Maeve was determined to have it. She raised an army for the purpose of going into Ulster and taking it. She offered land to Firbolgs in Alba if they would return and fight for her. When a large number of them accepted and began to arrive in Connacht, Conor MacNessa became alarmed. Knowing his former wife, he prepared for an invasion. MacNessa was a warrior king who had organized a band of warriors known as the Order of the Red Branch Knights.
The Order brought security and prosperity to Ulster and allowed an environment in which the arts, music, art, and writing flourished. Now there was a threat to this level of civilization Ulster had never previously known.
Conor MacNessa sent his Red Branch Knights to intercept Maeve's Firbolg Army before it entered Ulster. The leader of the Red Branch Knights was the warrior, Cuchullain. He single-handedly killed so many of Maeve's soldiers that she tried to bribe him. Cuchullain would have none of it, but he did ask Maeve to send him her best soldiers, and he would fight them one at a time. Maeve agreed and all she sent were killed by Cuchullain. She then called for Ferdaid, the best warrior in Connacht, and Chief of an order known as the Fir Domniann (Knights of the Sword).
Ferdaid would not fight Cuchullain, they were friends. They learned the art of being a warrior from the same teacher.
Maeve made it a point of honor between Connacht and Ulster, and so Ferdaid took up the sword against Cuchullain.
They fought furiously during the day, for three days. Neither emerged as the victor, nor as the vanquished. At night they camped together. On the fourth day Cuchullain was able to kill Ferdaid. He immediately began to mourn his friend.
The Red Branch Knights, led by Conor MacNessa, then attacked the Firbolg Army of Maeve, and routed them.
After a relatively short time, Maeve was able to regroup her army and to again approach Ulster. One of the reasons Maeve was able to have another army in the field so quickly was because hardly a family in Connacht did not have at least one of its members killed by Cuchullain. They wanted revenge and sent more sons to accompany the Firbolgs. Again the Red Branch Knights led by Cuchullain blocked the way. This time things were different.
In the interim, Conor MacNessa did something that broke the unity of the Red Branch Knights. There was a girl in Ulster named Diedre whom a druid prophesied would bring hurt, harm, and evil to Ulster. She was exiled to Alba, where she matured into one of Ireland's most beautiful women. The King of Alba wanted to take her for his wife.
To escape him, she fled with her true love, a knight of the Red Branch and two of her brothers. Conor MacNessa sent a trusted aide to kill these men and to bring her to him, that he might enjoy her renowned beauty. This was done. Diedre's sorrow and misery was so great that Conor became displeased with her and was sending her away.
MacNessa was riding in the chariot with her on the first part of her journey that was eventually to take her far away to another man to whom MacNessa had given or sold her. When the chariot reached a high speed, Diedre leaped from the chariot - head first onto a large rock, killing herself.
Besides Diedre's family and the family of the Knight of the Red Branch who was her true love, Conor also earned the displeasure of the King of Alba and his men, as well as his own Knights of the Red Branch who found it difficult to accept that their own king would kill one of them over an exiled woman.
The Army of Maeve was strengthened with personal feelings for revenge against Cuchullain, and vengeance against Conor MacNessa, and by additional men from Alba who wished to punish the Ulsterites for taking Diedre in the first place. On the other side, the Red Branch Knights were weakened with internal dissension over the incident.
Cuchullain took the lead in the first battle, somehow he was pierced by his own spear. The battle stopped. With great difficulty and with both sides watching him, Cuchullain, holding his entrails, tied himself into a standing position against a rock. No one dared approach. He died standing up, sword in hand. No one moved near him until the vultures landed on his corpse and began rending the flesh.
The battle was joined again and Conor MacNessa emerged the victor, but the Milesian hold on Ireland had already begun to weaken from within as result of MacNessa's indiscretion.
About this time in Jerusalem, there was a member of the Red Branch Knights called Conal Cearnach, He was in the city when Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. He later was in Ulster and had a conversation with Conor MacNessa. He learned there was a day in Ulster when the day turned to night at mid-afternoon, this was accompanied with great lightning and high winds. Conal explained that was exactly the way it was in Jerusalem the day the man called Jesus Christ was crucified. MacNessa asked who was the man called Jesus, and Conal told him he was a man of peace who wanted to help all men, and loved all men. He told MacNessa the teachings of Christ provided for a better world, but he was crucified for saying it. Conor MacNessa, it is said, flew into such a rage, of the Romans inhumanity to this man of humanity, that he died of the strain.
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