117b Celtic Kings, Druids and Romans

Episode 117b Celtic Kings, Druids and Romans

Description: Dr. Carly McNamara joins us again to discuss how the society of the ancient Celts was organized. We will also begin to discuss aspects of pre-Christian religion in Ireland. Dr. McNamara will show the importance of kingship in Ireland. She will also begin to show how Christianity and society in Ireland evolved in different ways compared to Britain and the continent with less influence from the Roman Empire.

About Today’s Guest:
Dr. Carolyn McNamara
On Twitter: @MedievalCarly
Education Evolved: @EducationEvolvd www.educationevolvedltd.com/
Links for Further Reading:
The Deskford Carnyx - includes a video which has the sounds that it could have produced, as played on a reconstruction www.nms.ac.uk/explore-our-collections/stories/scottish-history-and-archaeology/deskford-carnyx/
Jane Webster, ‘Ethnographic barbarity: colonial discourse and “Celtic Warrior Societies”’. In Roman Imperialism: Post-Colonial Perspectives, edited by J Webster and N Cooper. Leicester: Leicester Archaeology Monographs 3, pg. 111-123.
Barry Cunliffe, The Ancient Celts
Bernhard Maier, The Celts
John Koch, Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia

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Music Provided by:
"Danse Macabre" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
"Virtutes Instrumenti" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
"Virtutes Vocis" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
"Funeral March for Brass" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
"String Impromptu Number 1" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Begin Transcript:
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•Dr. Carly McNamara joins us again to discuss how the society of the ancient Celts was organized. We will also begin to discuss aspects of pre-Christian religion in Ireland. Dr. McNamara will show the importance of kingship in Ireland. She will also begin to show how Christianity and society in Ireland evolved in different ways compared to Britain and the continent with less influence from the Roman Empire. Send in your questions for Dr. McNamara to steve@atozhistorypage.com or connect on social media by searching for atozhistory.
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Begin Transcript:
[00:00:00] Before we move on. I, something that kind of came into my mind is we have Caltech as a term. Then we have Cesar would have called them galls, or he often referred to them as galls. And then you have the people who are living up in Ireland and Britain that are being called something different. How are all these names and all these different terms for them in our related?
What, uh, if somebody, uh, back in the day, if somebody likes Caesar would count in golf, Ben's a synonym for him. And then the, what was happening up in Britain, would he have considered that as something completely different and just using Caesar as maybe an, uh, an architect. Yeah, that's an excellent point.
So it's really seems like the Greek world used helps help toy as their term, the Latin world, or the Romans used this kelp Ty, um, gall, golly word. And so we, as I [00:01:00] said, we don't ever really see Britain and Ireland call. Like, they're not called gall. They're not called golly. You know, we've got this Hibernia and Hibernia is what Ireland is frequently called.
We also see Ireland called Scotty. And that kind of seems to be a word that means something similar to pirate almost. Would it make sense as we see kind of rating happening from Ireland into Roman Britain. And then we've got in the far north of Britain, the Pixies are all Celtic language peoples, but the Roman sources never really called them as such.
They call the about Britannia or the pretending Isles when they're searching for 10 there's abundant tin in Britain. And. You know, the word Britain itself comes from a Celtic word pride. And, but there's some kind of separation between gall and pre-tenure Hibernia that I'm not quite [00:02:00] sure how that is.
Understood the Celts. What did they, um, look like to the Romans at least into our sources, uh, physically and then their material culture? Sure. So the men, as I've mentioned, tend to have. Long hair that were told that they washed their hair with lime and would style it by commenting it coming at straight back from their forehead towards the back of the neck.
So it was kind of long just combed back here with these long mustaches. They sometimes mentioned that, you know, the food would get stuck in their mustaches and they were totally fine with it. Um, so you can see from sculpture in Scotland that the higher status figures on some of the sculpture is those that has the longer hair, the bigger mustache.
So kind of the long haired guys are the important guys. They get the fancier clothing and the better. Arms and armor on this sculpture, which is, I think quite [00:03:00] amusing they're described as rather large people and that the women would stand right next to the men in battle that they would wear colorful clothing and would adorn themselves with gold, lots of gold.
And that they would wear trousers and tunics and even the women wore trousers. And to next it's interesting. I don't know where I read this. I'll have to go back and look, but I believe that something that the counts are, those groups invented trousers or pants. I've heard that, but I've not seen the evidence for it.
So that's one of those things that maybe. We'll have to do some research on and see if we can track down any source evidence for that, because it seems like kind of a silly of invention, you know, like all pants, but pants are kind of a big leap, like for riding horses and for doing a lot of things, they're a lot more practical than wearing a tunic or especially in a cold weather situation.
I want to believe that they invented [00:04:00] pants where we're going to have to look into that one more thing. So. Now we have Caltech culture and I think everybody has very certain ideas in their mind. What are maybe some of the w w the more wild or claims about them? Yeah, I think this is a good one. And I want to mention really quick before we get into this.
You know, thinking of this colonization is imperialism that Rome is, you know, pushing out into these Celtic lands, that they had a vested interest in making these kind of brash, broad brush claims about the enduring and unchangeable nature of these peoples that they're trying to. Control and bring them quote, unquote civilization.
So we want to keep all of that in mind and that kind of concept we can even take into the modern period when we're thinking [00:05:00] about, you know, American imperialism or British imperialism, what kind of similar vested interests peoples and governments had and these same perspectives. So one of the big ones is that the Celts were violence and war loving.
Um, again, this is pretty typical. Almost any kind of Western attempts to justify a violent takeover of other people, which we can see in the Americas, Africa, Australia, Micronesia, kind of all over the place. So the Romans claimed that the behavior that Celtic peoples exhibit. In response to Roman aggression was actually an overarching and unchanging cultural characteristic that was kind of frozen in time.
And this is where the idea of the barbarian was useful. You know, the Celts were described as primitive, animalistic, unable to control their emotions and thus divorced from the historical current. In which [00:06:00] these interactions with Rome occurred, they're also called melodramatic drunken. Like they just loves to drink and would drink to excess and to the point that they would get into fights that would ultimately lead in.
Um, there's a story that claimed that any baby that was born to a Celtic, a woman, and man would be washed in the Rhine and that the dad wouldn't claim the child as its own until the baby had successfully been washed in the Rhine, um, that they. Would build these large structures. If you