Alpes Poeninae, known as Alpes Graiae, was a small Alpine province of the Roman Empire, one of three such provinces in the western Alps between Italy and Gaul. It comprised the Val dAosta region and the Canton Valais and its strongest indigenous tribe were the Salassi. Their territory was annexed by emperor Augustus in 15 BC and its chief city was Augusta Praetoria Salassorum. The province was named for poeninus mons, the Roman name of the Great St Bernard Pass, near the pass was a sanctuary dedicated to Jupiter Poeninus. The Roman historian Livy explains that Poeninus was actually a corruption of Penninus, Livy adds that it was implausible that Hannibal took such a northerly route, as these high mountain passes would have been inaccessible at the time. Tacitus mentions the Alpes Poeninae in connection with the movements of Otho, most historians agree, according to Polybius that Hannibals army passed through the Alps via the region of the Segusii, and the pass known today as Montgenèvre. After the region was conquered in 15 BC, it was incorporated into Raetia, the population included a number of Celtic tribes, including the Nantuates and Seduni on the northern side of the St.
Bernard Pass and the Salassi on the southern side. By the time of Emperor Claudius the tribes were generally Romanized, Vallis Poenina included much of the valley north of the St. Bernard Pass. A new capital civitas was established near the ruins of Octodurus, the Vallis Poenina district was merged with the Alpes Graiae or Alpes Atrectianae district to form the Alpes Graiae et Poeninae province. By the 3rd century AD there were several senator ranked families living in the province, under the reforms of Diocletian, the province became part of the Diocese of Gaulliae. In 381, the first Bishop of the region, was mentioned, after the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, the region was invaded by the Burgundians and incorporated into their kingdom. In 574 it was invaded by the Lombards and came under their authority, the Roman name and borders fell into disuse and by the Dark Ages it was part of Sapaudia
Battle of Gergovia
The Battle of Gergovia took place in 52 BC in Gaul at Gergovia, the chief oppidum of the Arverni. The battle was fought between a Roman Republican army, led by proconsul Julius Caesar, and Gallic forces led by Vercingetorix, who was the Arverni chieftain. The site is identified with Merdogne, now called Gergovie, a located on a hill within the town of La Roche-Blanche, near Clermont-Ferrand. Some walls and earthworks still survive from the pre-Roman Iron Age, the battle is well known in France, as exemplified in the popular French comic Asterix, where the battle is referenced, specifically in the book Asterix and the Class Act. As with much of the history of Gaul, the knowledge of the war comes principally from Julius Caesars Commentaries on the Gallic War. Vercingetorix had earlier expelled from Gergovia. In winter 53 BC, whilst Caesar was gathering his forces for a strike against the Gauls, leaving two legions and all his baggage train behind in Agedincum, Caesar led the remaining legions to Gergovias aid.
His sieges of Vellaunodunum and Noviodunum en route caused Vercingetorix to lift his siege and march to meet Caesar in open battle at Noviodunum, Caesar besieged and captured Avaricum and resupplied there. Caesar set out in the direction of Gergovia, which Vercingetorix was probably able to once he had divined his direction. The heights of Gergovia itself stand twelve hundred feet above the plain that they overlook and it is a plateau that is a mile and a half long by a third of a mile wide. It was a place to hold, as there was only one way in. It was a reasonably easy guess to make, realizing Vercingetorixs plan, Caesar resolved to trick him and cross under his very nose. Caesar one night camped near the town of Varennes, where there had previously been a bridge before Vercingetorix had destroyed it and that night, he divided his force into two parts, one part being 2/3rds of the force, the other being 1/3rd of the force. However, the force he ordered to march in 6 corps. He ordered it to continue its march south, duped, took the bait and followed this part of the force.
Caesar, with the two legions present at Varennes, speedily rebuilt the bridge that had been present there. He sent for the force, which during that next day stole a march on Vercingetorix, and completed a junction with the original force. Realizing that he had been duped, Vercingetorix set out south, realizing its mountainous location made a frontal assault risky, he decided to rely on his superior siege tactics
Roman Britain was the area of the island of Great Britain that was governed by the Roman Empire, from AD43 to 410. Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 and 54 BC as part of his Gallic Wars, the Britons had been overrun or culturally assimilated by other Celtic tribes during the British Iron Age and had been aiding Caesars enemies. He received tribute, installed a king over the Trinovantes. Planned invasions under Augustus were called off in 34,27, in AD40, Caligula assembled 200,000 men at the Channel, only to have them gather seashells. Three years later, Claudius directed four legions to invade Britain, the Romans defeated the Catuvellauni, and organized their conquests as the Province of Britain. By the year 47, the Romans held the lands southeast of the Fosse Way, control over Wales was delayed by reverses and the effects of Boudicas uprising, but the Romans expanded steadily northward. Around 197, the Severan Reforms divided Britain into two provinces, Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior, during the Diocletian Reforms, at the end of the 3rd century, Britannia was divided into four provinces under the direction of a vicarius, who administered the Diocese of the Britains.
A fifth province, Valentia, is attested in the 4th century, for much of the period of the Roman occupation, Britannia was subject to barbarian invasions and often came under the control of imperial usurpers and imperial pretenders. The final Roman withdrawal from Britain occurred around 410, the kingdoms are considered to have formed Sub-Roman Britain after that. Following the conquest of the Britons, a distinctive Romano-British culture emerged as the Romans introduced improved agriculture, urban planning, industrial production, after the initial invasions, Roman historians generally only mention Britain in passing. Thus, most present knowledge derives from archaeological investigations and occasional epigraphic evidence lauding the Britannic achievements of an emperor, over the centuries Roman citizens settled in Britain from many parts of the Empire, such as Italy, Spain and Algeria. Britain was known to the Classical world, the Greeks and Carthaginians traded for Cornish tin in the 4th century BC, the Greeks referred to the Cassiterides, or tin islands, and placed them near the west coast of Europe.
The Carthaginian sailor Himilco is said to have visited the island in the 5th century BC, however, it was regarded as a place of mystery, with some writers refusing to believe it existed at all. The first direct Roman contact was when Julius Caesar undertook two expeditions in 55 and 54 BC, as part of his conquest of Gaul, believing the Britons were helping the Gallic resistance. The second invasion involved a larger force and Caesar coerced or invited many of the native Celtic tribes to pay tribute. A friendly local king, was installed, and his rival, hostages were taken, but historians disagree over whether any tribute was paid after Caesar returned to Gaul. Caesar conquered no territory and left no troops behind but he established clients, Augustus planned invasions in 34,27 and 25 BC, but circumstances were never favourable, and the relationship between Britain and Rome settled into one of diplomacy and trade. Strabo, writing late in Augustuss reign, claimed that taxes on trade brought in annual revenue than any conquest could
Avaricum was an oppidum in ancient Gaul, near what is now the city of Bourges. Avaricum, situated in the lands of the Bituriges, was the largest and best-fortified town within their territory, the terrain favored the oppidum, as it was flanked by a river and marshland, with only a single narrow entrance. By the time of the Roman conquest in 52 BC the city according to Julius Caesar had a population of 40,000 people, aware that he had already been bested three times, decided to change tactics. Calling together a council of the tribes in rebellion against Rome, he convinced them to adopt Fabian strategy, never offering combat with Caesars forces, and denying them supplies. All the towns within range of Caesars foraging parties were destroyed, the land stripped bare, Avaricum was spared this fate since the Bituriges argued the town was impossible to take, and Vercingetorix agreed to make the town an exception. The shortage of grain was so acute that the men ate meat, Caesar personally made the rounds amongst his men, telling them that if the scarcity of food was too much, he would lift the siege and withdraw.
His soldiers protested, refusing to end a siege in disgrace when they still had to avenge the innocent Romans murdered by the Gauls, contented by this, Caesar designed and began engineering an impressive siege apparatus. Starting from high ground, he built a terrace of sorts. Two flanking walls were made, along with two towers to be advanced fully made, another wall was built between the flanking walls to connect them and open the front for the battle. As construction on Caesars siege terrace continued, Vercingetorix moved his cavalry into a closer to Caesars. Having discovered this, Caesar countered, marching in the dead of night and this drew Vercingetorix back to his main camp, rushing to its aid. After twenty-five grueling days of construction, and contending with Gallic raids and attempts to set the whole siege terrace on fire, Caesars apparatus was completed. Caesar ordered the advanced, and much to his good fortune. Taking advantage of lack of discipline, Caesar stealthily moved his soldiers into the towers and the wall.
The walls fell quickly, and the surviving Gauls retreated to the center of town, forming a wedge formation, however, no Roman legionary descended from the walls, simply stood at their ease, watching the Gauls. Panic struck the Gallic defenders, and they all fled for wherever they thought there was an avenue of escape, Caesars legions were in no mood to spare any of the forty thousand Gauls within Avaricum, especially after twenty five days of short rations and great frustration. Only eight hundred managed to escape the massacre that followed, Julius Caesar, Commentaries on the Gallic War vii
They spoke the Common Brittonic language, the ancestor to the modern Brittonic languages. The earliest evidence for the Britons and their language in historical sources dates to the Iron Age, after the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century, a Romano-British culture emerged, and Latin and British Vulgar Latin coexisted with Brittonic. During and after the Roman era, the Britons lived throughout Britain south of the Firth of Forth, with the beginning of Anglo-Saxon settlement in the 5th century, the culture and language of the Britons fragmented and much of their territory was taken over by the Anglo-Saxons. The extent to which cultural and linguistic change was accompanied by wholesale changes in the population is still a matter of discussion. During this period some Britons migrated to mainland Europe and established significant settlements in Brittany as well as Britonia in modern Galicia, Common Brittonic developed into the distinct Brittonic languages, Cumbric and Breton. Although none of his own writings remain, writers during the time of the Roman Empire made much reference to them, the group included Ireland, which was referred to as Ierne inhabited by the race of Hiberni, and Britain as insula Albionum, island of the Albions.
The term Pritani may have reached Pytheas from the Gauls, who used it as their term for the inhabitants of the islands. The first inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia, the Latin name in the early Roman Empire period was Britanni or Brittanni, following the Roman conquest in AD43. Brittonic languages is a recent coinage intended to refer to the ancient Britons specifically. In English, the term Briton originally denoted the ancient Britons and their descendants, most particularly the Welsh, who were seen as heirs to the ancient British people. After the Acts of Union 1707, the terms British and Briton came to be applied not just to the remaining Brittonic peoples themselves, the Britons spoke an Insular Celtic language known as Common Brittonic. Brittonic was spoken throughout the island of Britain, as well as islands such as the Isle of Man, Scilly Isles, Hebrides. Thus the area today is called Brittany, Common Brittonic developed from the Insular branch of the Proto-Celtic language that developed in the British Isles after arriving from the continent in the 7th century BC.
The language eventually began to diverge, some linguists have grouped subsequent developments as Western and Southwestern Brittonic languages, Pictish is now generally accepted to descend from Common Brittonic, rather than being a separate Celtic language. Welsh and Breton survive today, Cumbric became extinct in the 12th century, Cornish had become extinct by the 19th century but has been the subject of language revitalization since the 20th century. Ideas about the development of British Iron Age culture changed greatly in the 20th century, by this time Celtic styles seem to have been in decline in continental Europe, even before Roman invasions. Throughout their existence, the inhabited by the Britons was composed of numerous ever-changing areas controlled by Brittonic tribes. Part of the Pictish territory was absorbed into the Gaelic kingdoms of Dál Riata and Alba
The Gauls were Celtic peoples inhabiting Gaul in the Iron Age and the Roman period. Their Gaulish language forms the branch of the Continental Celtic languages. The Gauls emerged around the 5th century BC as the bearers of the La Tène culture north of the Alps, Gaul was never united under a single ruler or government, but the Gallic tribes were capable of uniting their forces in large-scale military operations. They reached the peak of their power in the early 3rd century BC, after this, Gaul became a province of the Roman Empire, and the Gauls were culturally assimilated into a Gallo-Roman culture, losing their tribal identities by the end of the 1st century AD. The Gauls of Gallia Celtica according to the testimony of Caesar called themselves Celtae in their own language, the name Gaul itself may be derived from Latin Galli, or it may be derived from the Germanic word Walha. Gaulish culture developed out of the Celtic cultures over the first millennia BC, the Urnfield culture represents the Celts as a distinct cultural branch of the Indo-European-speaking people.
The spread of iron working led to the Hallstatt culture in the 8th century BC, the Hallstatt culture evolved into the La Tène culture in around the 5th century BC. The Greek and Etruscan civilizations and colonies began to influence the Gauls especially in the Mediterranean area, Gauls under Brennus invaded Rome circa 390 BC. Following the climate deterioration in the late Nordic Bronze Age, Celtic Gaul was invaded in the 5th century BC by tribes called Gauls originating in the Rhine valley. Gallic invaders settled the Po Valley in the 4th century BC, defeated Roman forces in a battle under Brennus in 390 BC and raided Italy as far as Sicily. A large number of Gauls served in the armies of Carthage during the Punic Wars, in the Aegean world, an invasion of Eastern Gauls appeared in Thrace, north of Greece, in 281 BC. However, according to the Roman legend of the gold of Delphi. One king Cerethrius invaded the Thracians, while another Gallic king Bolgios invaded Macedonia and Illyria where he killed the Macedonian king Ptolemy Keraunos, in 278 BC Gaulish settlers in the Balkans were invited by Nicomedes I of Bithynia to help him in a dynastic struggle against his brother.
They numbered about 10,000 fighting men and about the number of women and children. They were eventually defeated by the Seleucid king Antiochus I, in a battle where the Seleucid war elephants shocked the Galatians. While the momentum of the invasion was broken, the Galatians were by no means exterminated and continued to demand tribute from the Hellenistic states of Anatolia to avoid war,4,000 Galatians were hired as mercenaries by the Ptolemaic Egyptian king Ptolemy II Philadelphus in the 270 BC. According to Pausanias, soon after arrival the Celts plotted “to seize Egypt, ”, Galatians participated at the victorious in 217 BC Battle of Raphia under Ptolemy IV Philopator, and continued to serve as mercenaries for the Ptolemaic Dynasty until its demise in 30 BC. They sided with the renegade Seleucid prince Antiochus Hierax, who reigned in Asia Minor, after the defeat, the Galatians continued to be a serious threat to the states of Asia Minor
The history of pre-Celtic Europe remains very uncertain. According to one theory, the root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe. Thus this area is called the Celtic homeland. The earliest undisputed examples of a Celtic language are the Lepontic inscriptions beginning in the 6th century BC. Continental Celtic languages are attested almost exclusively through inscriptions and place-names, Insular Celtic languages are attested beginning around the 4th century in Ogham inscriptions, although it was clearly being spoken much earlier. Celtic literary tradition begins with Old Irish texts around the 8th century, coherent texts of Early Irish literature, such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge, survive in 12th century recensions. Between the 5th and 8th centuries, the Celtic-speaking communities in these Atlantic regions emerged as a cohesive cultural entity. They had a linguistic and artistic heritage that distinguished them from the culture of the surrounding polities.
By the 6th century, the Continental Celtic languages were no longer in wide use, Insular Celtic culture diversified into that of the Gaels and the Celtic Britons of the medieval and modern periods. A modern Celtic identity was constructed as part of the Romanticist Celtic Revival in Great Britain, today, Scottish Gaelic and Breton are still spoken in parts of their historical territories, and Cornish and Manx are undergoing a revival. The first recorded use of the name of Celts – as Κελτοί – to refer to a group was by Hecataeus of Miletus, the Greek geographer, in 517 BC. In the fifth century BC Herodotus referred to Keltoi living around the head of the Danube, the etymology of the term Keltoi is unclear. Possible roots include Indo-European *kʲel ‘to hide’, IE *kʲel ‘to heat’ or *kel ‘to impel’, several authors have supposed it to be Celtic in origin, while others view it as a name coined by Greeks. Linguist Patrizia De Bernardo Stempel falls in the group. Yet he reports Celtic peoples in Iberia, and uses the ethnic names Celtiberi and Celtici for peoples there, as distinct from Lusitani, pliny the Elder cited the use of Celtici in Lusitania as a tribal surname, which epigraphic findings have confirmed.
Latin Gallus might stem from a Celtic ethnic or tribal name originally and its root may be the Proto-Celtic *galno, meaning “power, strength”, hence Old Irish gal “boldness, ferocity” and Welsh gallu “to be able, power”. The tribal names of Gallaeci and the Greek Γαλάται most probably have the same origin, the suffix -atai might be an Ancient Greek inflection. Proto-Germanic *walha is derived ultimately from the name of the Volcae and this means that English Gaul, despite its superficial similarity, is not actually derived from Latin Gallia, though it does refer to the same ancient region
Roman cavalry refers to the horse mounted forces of the Roman army through the many centuries of its existence. Romulus supposedly established a cavalry regiment of 300 men called the Celeres to act as his personal escort and this cavalry regiment was supposedly doubled in size to 600 men by King Tarquinius Priscus. According to Livy, Servius Tullius established a further 12 centuriae of cavalry, but this is unlikely, as it would have increased the cavalry to 1,800 horse, implausibly large compared to 8,400 infantry. This is confirmed by the fact that in the early Republic the cavalry fielded remained 600-strong, the royal cavalry may have been drawn exclusively from the ranks of the Patricians, the aristocracy of early Rome, which was purely hereditary, although some consider the supporting evidence tenuous. Since the cavalry was probably a patrician preserve, it follows that it played a critical part in the coup against the monarchy. Indeed, Alfoldi suggests that the coup was carried out by the Celeres themselves, the patrician monopoly on the cavalry seems to have ended by around 400 BC, when the 12 centuriae of equites additional to the original 6 of regal origin were probably formed.
Most likely patrician numbers were no longer sufficient to supply the needs of the cavalry. It is widely agreed that the new centuriae were open to non-patricians, as their name implies, the equites were liable to cavalry service in the Polybian legion. It appears that equites equo privato were required to pay for their own equipment and horse, cavalrymen in service were paid a drachma per day, triple the infantry rate, and were liable to a maximum of ten campaigning seasons military service, compared to 16 for the infantry. Each Polybian legion contained a contingent of 300 horse, which does not appear to have been officered by an overall commander. The cavalry contingent was divided into 10 turmae of 30 men each, the squadron members would elect as their officers three decuriones, of whom the first to be chosen would act as the squadrons leader and the other two as his deputies. From the available evidence, the cavalry of a Polybian legion was armoured and specialised in the shock charge, pictorial evidence for the equipment of Republican cavalry is scant and leaves several uncertainties.
The earliest extant representations of Roman cavalrymen are found on a few dated to the era of the Second Punic War. In one, the rider wears a variant of a Corinthian helmet and his body armour is obscured by his small round shield. It was probably a bronze breastplate, as a coin of 197 BC shows a Roman cavalryman in Hellenistic composite cuirass, but the Roman cavalry may already have adopted mail armour from the Celts, who are known to have been using it as early as ca.300 BC. However, a coin of 136 BC and the Lacus Curtius bas-relief of the period show horsemen in composite bronze cuirasses. There is similar uncertainty as to whether cavalryman carried shields and the question of whether they carried long lances or shorter spears. Most representations show cavalrymen with the small parma equestris type of shield, but the Ahenobarbus monument of 122 BC, but the evidence is too scant to draw any firm conclusions
Siege of Uxellodunum
The Siege of Uxellodunum was one of the last battles of the Gallic Wars. It took place in 51 BC at Uxellodunum and it was the last major military confrontation of the Gallic Wars and marked the pacification of Gaul under Roman rule. The battle resulted in a decisive Roman victory, the group had apparently planned to begin a new rebellion against their Roman conquerors. Uxellodunum was heavily fortified both by its position and by its impressive fortifications built by the Carduci tribe. Additionally, one side of the fort was protected by a mountainside which prevented any approach from that direction, for these reasons, it was impossible to besiege it in the same manner the Romans had used at the Battle of Alesia a year before. By this manner, he planned to seal off the city. The Gauls trapped inside the oppidum, having learned the lessons of starvation from the disaster at the Siege of Alesia, made plans to leave the settlement by night to forage for food and provisions. Climbing over the ramparts and Drapes left a garrison of around 2,000 men inside Uxellodunum, some of the local Carduci Gauls in the surrounding areas freely gave the rebels supplies, but much of the provisions were taken by force.
The Gauls tried to sneak past the Roman sentries set by Caninius Rebilus. Caninius Rebilus, upon learning of the Gauls plans, concentrated the bulk of his legions, who was in charge of the convoy, immediately took flight with his warbands without informing Drapes. The rest of the Gauls were massacred almost to a man, Caninius Rebilus left one of his legions behind to defend his three camps and gathered the rest of his soldiers to pursue Drapes. He destroyed the remaining Gaulish forces in the area under Drapes, capturing Drapes and these reinforcements put the Roman forces at four and a half legions, enough to construct competent siege works and completely encircle the fort. While these actions had been ongoing, Gaius Julius Caesar was in the territory of the Belgae in Gaul, there he was informed by courier of the revolt of the Carduci and Senones. Indeed, Caesar made his way so quickly to Uxellodunum that he surprised his two legates, Caesar decided that the city could not be carried by force.
This was a problem for the Romans because they had told by deserters that the city had an abundant food supply, despite the previous blunders of Luciterius. Caesar decided therefore to target the citys water supply, however, noticed the difficulty the Gauls had collecting the water, having to come down a very steep slope to reach the riverbank. Exploiting this potential flaw in the defenses, Caesar stationed archers, more troublesome for Caesar however, a secondary water source flowed down from the mountain directly underneath the walls of the fort. It seemed to be almost impossible to access to this second source
Battle of Alesia
The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia was a military engagement in the Gallic Wars that took place in September,52 BC, around the Gallic oppidum of Alesia, a major centre of the Mandubii tribe. It was fought by the army of Julius Caesar against a confederation of Gallic tribes united under the leadership of Vercingetorix of the Arverni. It was the last major engagement between Gauls and Romans, and is considered one of Caesars greatest military achievements and an example of siege warfare. The battle of Alesia marked the end of Gallic independence in France, the battle site was probably atop Mont Auxois, above modern Alise-Sainte-Reine in France, but this location, some have argued, does not fit Caesars description of the battle. A number of alternatives have proposed over time, among which only Chaux-des-Crotenay remains a challenger today. At one point in the battle the Romans were outnumbered by the Gauls by four to one, the event is described by several contemporary authors, including Caesar himself in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico.
After the Roman victory, Gaul was subdued and became a Roman province, the Roman senate granted a thanksgiving of 20 days for his victory in the Gallic War. In 58 BC, following his first consulship in 59 BC and these were Cisalpine Gaul and Gallia Narbonensis. Although the proconsular term of office was meant to be one year and he had the command of four legions. Caesar engaged in the Gallic Wars, which led to his conquest of Gaul beyond Gallia Narbonensis. When the Helvetii, a federation of tribes from what is now Switzerland, planned a migration to the Atlantic coast through Gaul, Caesar went to Geneva and forbade the Helvetii to move into Gaul. While he went to Gallia Cisalpina to collect three other legions, the Helvetii attacked the territories of the Aedui and Allobroges, Caesar and his Gallic allies defeated the Helvetii. The Gallic tribes asked for Caesar to intervene against an invasion by the Suebi, in 57 BC he intervened in intra-Gallic conflicts and marched on the Belgae of northern Gaul.
From on he conquered the Gallic peoples one by one and his successes in Gaul brought Caesar political prestige in Rome and great wealth through the spoils of wars and the sale of war captives as slaves. After his initial successes Caesar had to confront a number of Gallic rebellions which threatened his control over Gaul, in the winter of 54–53 BC the Carnutes killed Tasgetius, a pro-Roman king who had been installed by Caesar. Caesar sent one legion to winter there, soon after, the previously pacified Eburones, commanded by Ambiorix and destroyed the Legio XIV under the command of Quintus Titurius Sabinus in a carefully planned ambush. This was the first clear Roman defeat in Gaul and inspired widespread national sentiments, the Eburones, obtained the support of the Atuatuci, the Nervii and numerous minor tribes. They besieged the camp of Quintus Cicero, Cicero managed to inform Caesar about this by sending a Nervian noble to him with a letter
The Gaels are an ethnolinguistic group native to northwestern Europe. They are associated with the Gaelic languages, a branch of the Celtic languages comprising Irish, historically, the ethnonyms Irish and Scots referred to the Gaels in general, but the scope of those nationalities is today more complex. Gaelic language and culture originated in Ireland, extending to Dál Riata in western Scotland, in antiquity the Gaels traded with the Roman Empire and raided Roman Britain. In the Middle Ages, Gaelic culture became dominant throughout the rest of Scotland, there was some Gaelic settlement in Wales and Cornwall. In the Viking Age, small numbers of Vikings raided and settled in Gaelic lands, in the 9th century, Dál Riata and Pictland merged to form the Gaelic Kingdom of Alba. Meanwhile, Gaelic Ireland was made up of several kingdoms, with a High King often claiming lordship over them, in the 12th century, Anglo-Normans conquered parts of Ireland, while parts of Scotland became Anglo-Normanized.
However, Gaelic culture remained strong throughout Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, in the early 17th century, the last Gaelic kingdoms in Ireland fell under English control. In the following centuries most Gaels were gradually anglicized and Gaelic language mostly supplanted by English, however, it continues to be the main language in Irelands Gaeltacht and Scotlands Outer Hebrides. The modern descendants of the Gaels have spread throughout Britain, the Americas, Gaelic society traditionally centered around the clan, each with its own territory and chieftain, elected through tanistry. The Gaels were originally pagans who worshipped the Tuatha Dé Danann, venerated the ancestors and their four yearly festivals – Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasa – continued to be celebrated into modern times. The Gaels have an oral tradition, traditionally maintained by shanachies. Inscription in the Gaelic ogham alphabet began in the 1st century and their conversion to Christianity accompanied the introduction of writing, and Irish Gaelic has the oldest vernacular literature in western Europe.
Irish mythology and Brehon law were preserved, albeit Christianized, Gaelic monasteries were renowned centres of learning and played a key role in developing Insular art, while Gaelic missionaries and scholars were highly influential in western Europe. In the Middle Ages, most Gaels lived in roundhouses and ringforts, the Gaels had their own style of dress, which became the belted plaid and kilt. They have music and sports. Gaelic culture continues to be a component of Irish, Scottish. Throughout the centuries and Gaelic-speakers have been known by a number of names, the most consistent of these have been Gael and Scots. The latter two have developed more ambiguous meanings, due to the modern concept of the nation state