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The Celts.

There are various hypotheses of formation Celts as historical people. According to earlier, ancestors of people came in the Central Europe from Black See. However now the majority of researchers are declined to a hypothesis authochtonic origins the Celts in area between Average Rhein and Average Danube to 7-th c. BD In 6 century BD hordes of the Celts have terrorized Europe having carried by on the fighting chariots on territory of modern France, Spain, Britain. The Earth present France began to refer to on their name as Gallia (the Celts, Gauls, Galatians - all this different forms same ethnonim). This country became a core Celt the grounds and base of new expansion, this time to the east. People of leader Bellovez have crushed Etruscian towns in a valley of the river Po (about 397 BD).

The history included their sensational, but unsuccessful storm of Rome and an episode with geese (about 390 BD). More perspective ones were actions of those Gauls that were moved to Orient. They have occupied Bohemia (Czech) and pool of Average Danube (due to that the army Alexander the Great acted the East). Then, having taken advantage of easing of Macedonia after civil war, the Celts have destroyed an army of its king Ptolemeus Keravn and have plundered Greece. Under the invitation of one of king they were forwarded to Asia Minor. It is necessary to say; that Hellenistic kings willingly employed the Celts on service, appreciating their specific military skills (it is possible, similar to what are used in east fighting arts). But the Celts (here them named Galatians) have unexpectedly formed the own state in the centre of Asia Minor, having organised on a sample of Gallia. And, at last, approximately in the same period, the Celts have occupied Ireland.

During 3 centuries BD the Celts have started to suffer defeats. Ease of gains harboured danger. Huge distances weakened lines of the communications. The Celts could not develop own statehood. The governors who have recovered from defeats of the organised powers (Rome, Macedonia, Pergamum, to Syria) began to repulse them. Then the Celts have started development conquested territories. Their cities (the first in Europe to the north from the Alps!) And settlements incorporated a network of roads. There was advanced river navigation. Gaulishes in Brittany built the big wooden ships supplied with leather sails and anchor circuits, much better adapted to navigation in the high sea, than antique galeries. In the political point of mind Celticum on former represented a conglomerate of breeding associations led by "kings" and aristocracy which lived in castles and, similarly to medieval nobility, passionately loved horses and dog hunting.

But the supreme authority belonged to estate of the priests having the uniform organisation. They shared on three categories. Druids formed the highest caste - creators myths and directors of rituals. Filides carried out functions of lawyers, they kept an ancient history of the country closely bound with mythology in memory. At last, bards in the verses glorified military leaders and heroes. According to Caesar, Gaulish druids did not trust a written word and kept huge volume of the information in memory. It is no surprising, that the period of training of the druid reached 20 years. In Ireland the similar period was shorter - than seven years.

But time of domination the Celts on continent left. From the east they were restricted with wild German tribes. In the south gathered force Rome more and more. In 121 BD the Romans occupied Southern France. In the same time, two tribes - Cimvres and Teutonians have intruded in Celt Gallia because of Rhine. It was ruined. And then have come fatal for the Celts 60-50 BD Burebista, tsar Deacons has destroyed or has expelled them from the Central Europe; Ariovist, the German leader has superseded them from Germany. And, at last, Caesar has made the dizzy campaign and for some years has subdued Gallia - a core Celt the grounds. This country has quickly come under influence of the Roman civilisation. Its population has received the name Gaulo-Romans - that is the Gauls living under the Roman legislation. Gallia began one of the most advanced and occupied provinces of empire. The estate of priests, which were avocates of independence was destroyed. But reverence Celt gods proceeded, though and within the framework of growing sincretism.

Similar fatum has comprehended also all other continental the Celts. Their culture has escaped only on British Isles among Brittens (England) and Scottians (Ireland). So Celticum has come in Middle Ages.

Sources of our knowledge about Celt (and practically any another) mythologies are the literature and the fine arts. Thus as it was already spoken above, they are distributed in time is rather non-uniform. This heterogeneity follows from features Celt histories. For a "barbarous" stage of development on which, as a rule, creation of the well-known eposes richly sated in the mythological images and plots also was carried out, absence of written fixing of these is typical. Sometimes it is connected to absence of writing as such, but is far from being always for it is known, that barbarians adapted the letter of more "advanced" neighbours for the needs. Besides they sometimes, created own, though also primitive writing. Nevertheless, neither in Celtic oghamic the letter, nor on the German fleeces mythological texts were not kept, and there are only data of magic-medical or biographic character. Probably, the reason of "silence" of barbarians is covered in a rigid interdiction of written fixing sacral texts. In exchange, priests cultivated difficult mnemonic approaches. Therefore, after the Roman occupation and destruction of estate of druids, from great Celt religious tradition still would have only obscure descriptions of antique authors, if not two circumstances.

In first there are Gaulish and Gallo-Roman art. It was above said, that the Celts had high craft culture, especially in the field of metallurgy. And the sacral beginning penetrated this culture. In the period Laten - Celtic the Iron Age (6 - 1-th c. BD) Were created numerous products - boilers, grivnas, bracelets, the weapon, richly decorated by mythological images and plots (especially wellknown boiler from Gundestrup). In the subsequent for Laten the Roman Iron Age in territory of Gallia there was a new ethnic generality - the Gallo-Romans, whose religion developed in a channel Roman imperial sincretism. But Roman sincretism everywhere absorbed strong local cults (in Thrace - Thracian ones, Illyria - Illyrian ones, Anatoly - Hittites ones, they in the majority had the blessing general Indo-European roots). And, in Gallia and adjoining areas - Iberia, Britain, Noric (present Slovenia and Croatia) appear numerous statues of gods or the mixed Gallo-Roman character, or is frank Celt.

Second extremely important circumstance in a question of preservation Celt to mythological tradition became the factor of island Celts. The special role here belongs to Ireland. Neither the Roman army has not reached, or the German teams here. Strong influence on life of island rendered the Christian monks who have arrived to Ireland in 4-5 centuries AD. From Egypt, passed Rome. However they have not shown intolerance to local mythopoethic tradition. On the contrary, taken a place of druids, monks closely co-operated with filides. The last, under the direction of church have written down (approximately by the end 1 thousand AD.) Mythological legends, carrying out. Certainly, something should be removed, in particular the myths connected with cosmology and eshatology (they were in part replaced with plots from the Bible). Nevertheless, the volume of the folklore information kept filides is huge. The separate products named sagas (the term is inexact and taken by modern researchers from the Scandinavian tradition, Irish named them "skel" - stories) are grouped in various attributes.

The modern science allocates the following cycles: mythological , historical, heroic and a cycle of the Finn. The first covers the most ancient period of a history (or pseudo-histories) and is extremely strongly sated with characters in whom ancient gods (and even frequently are guessed and refer to). The historical cycle is longest and continues mythological. Sagas of heroic and historical cycles are grouped around of the certain events and characters (in first case Cuchulain and Conhobar; in the second - around of feats of the hero of the Finn and his army). The narration of both these cycles, in which also there are ancient gods, is limited to rather short time pieces.

Monasteries where manuscripts were kept, have strongly suffered from invasions of Vikings, however tradition lived about 17 centuries when Ireland was won Cromvel. After that, many manuscripts were forwarded on continent where were kept in the Catholic centres.

The literary heritage of the Brittens is not so great. Their culture developed not in such favorable conditions. At first the Britons have fallen under authority of Rome, then have tested invasion of the German tribes - Angles and Saxons which has resulted in assimilation or destruction of the most part of the population. Bards undertook the role of keepers of ancient learning. They have left a number of products in which we can see numerous parallels to the Irish mythological images (basically, these are wellknown "Mabinogions" - stories for youth). But the basic function of bards was glorification of the successful military leader. So Legendary Arhtur became such leader. At 6-th century he have headed struggle against Angles and Saxons, for half-centuries having detained intrusion of Germanics. Gradually, around of his name of the beginnings to be formed the extensive epos, becoming property any more the Britons so much, how many all medieval Europe.

 

Alex Fantalov

 

The German-Scandinavians history

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Contact e-mail: fantalov@hotmail.com