The Britons known as Celtic Britons or Ancient Britons, were Celtic people who inhabited Great Britain from the British Iron Age into the Middle Ages, at which point their culture and language diverged into the modern Welsh and Bretons. They spoke the ancestor to the modern Brittonic languages; the traditional view that the Celtic Britons migrated from the continent across the English Channel, with their languages and genes in the Iron Age has been undermined in recent decades by the contention of many scholars that Celtic languages had instead spread north along the Atlantic seaboard during the Bronze Age, the results of genetic studies, which show a large continuity between Iron Age and older British populations, suggesting trans-cultural diffusion was very important in the introduction of the Celtic 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, Latin and British Vulgar Latin coexisted with Brittonic.
During and after the Roman era, the Britons lived throughout Britain. Their relationship with the Picts, who lived north of the Firth of Forth, has been the subject of much discussion, though most scholars now accept that the Pictish language was related to Common Brittonic, rather than a separate Celtic language. With the beginning of Anglo-Saxon settlement and Gaelic Scots in the 5th and 6th centuries, the culture and language of the Britons fragmented, much of their territory was taken over by the Anglo-Saxons and Scots Gaels; the extent to which this 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 colonies in Brittany, the Channel Islands as well as Britonia in modern Galicia, Spain. By the beginning of the 11th century, remaining Brittonic Celtic-speaking populations had split into distinct groups: the Welsh in Wales, the Cornish in Cornwall, the Bretons in Brittany, the Cumbric speaking people of the Hen Ogledd in southern Scotland and northern England, the remnants of the Pictish people in the north of Scotland.
Common Brittonic developed into the distinct Brittonic languages: Welsh, Cumbric and Breton. The earliest known reference to the inhabitants of Britain seems to come from 4th century BC records of the voyage of Pytheas, a Greek geographer who made a voyage of exploration around the British Isles between 330 and 320 BC. Although none of his own writings remain, writers during the time of the Roman Empire made much reference to them. Pytheas called the islands collectively αἱ Βρεττανίαι, translated as the Brittanic Isles; the peoples of these islands were called the Πρεττανοί, Pritani or Pretani. The group included Ireland, referred to as Ierne "inhabited by the race of Hiberni", 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 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, compiled by the orders of King Alfred the Great in 890, subsequently maintained and added to by generations of anonymous scribes until the middle of the 12th century, starts with this sentence: "The island Britain is 800 miles long, 200 miles broad, there are in the island five nations: English, Scottish and Latin.
The first inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia, first peopled Britain southward." The Latin name in the early Roman Empire period was Britanni or Brittanni, following the Roman conquest in AD 43. The Welsh word Brython was introduced into English usage by John Rhys in 1884 as a term unambiguously referring to the P-Celtic speakers of Great Britain, to complement Goidel. "Brittonic languages" is a more recent coinage intended to refer to the ancient Britons specifically. In English, the terms "Briton" and British for many centuries denoted only the ancient Celtic Britons and their descendants, most the Welsh and Bretons, 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 to all inhabitants of the Kingdom of Great Britain, including the English and some Northern Irish; the Britons spoke an Insular Celtic language known as Common Brittonic. Brittonic was spoken throughout the island of Britain, as well as offshore islands such as the Isle of Man, Scilly Isles, Hebrides, Isle of Wight and Shetland.
According to early medieval historical tradition, such as The Dream of Macsen Wledig, the post-Roman Celtic-speakers of Armorica were colonists from Britain, resulting in the Breton language, a language related to Welsh and identical to Cornish in the early period and still used today. 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 began to diverge.
Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia corresponding to the provinces of Ankara, Çorum, Yozgat, in modern Turkey. Galatia was named for the Gauls from Thrace, who settled here and became its ruling caste in the 3rd century BC, following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC, it has been called the "Gallia" of the Roman writers calling its inhabitants Galli. Galatia was bounded on the north by Bithynia and Paphlagonia, on the east by Pontus and Cappadocia, on the south by Cilicia and Lycaonia, on the west by Phrygia, its capital was Ancyra. The terms "Galatians" came to be used by the Greeks for the three Celtic peoples of Anatolia: the Tectosages, the Trocmii, the Tolistobogii. By the 1st century BC the Celts had become so Hellenized that some Greek writers called them Hellenogalatai; the Romans called them Gallograeci. Though the Celts had, to a large extent, integrated into Hellenistic Asia Minor, they preserved their linguistic and ethnic identity. By the 4th century BC the Celts had penetrated into the Balkans, coming into contact with the Thracians and Greeks.
In 380 BC they fought in the southern regions of Dalmatia, rumors circulated around the ancient world that Alexander the Great's father, Philip II of Macedonia had been assassinated by a dagger of Celtic origins. Arrian writes that "Celts established on the Ionic coast" were among those who came to meet Alexander the Great during a campaign against the Getae in 335 BC. Several ancient accounts mention that the Celts formed an alliance with Dionysius I of Syracuse who sent them to fight alongside the Macedonians against the Thebans. In 279 BC two Celtic factions united under the leadership of Brennus and began to push southwards from southern Bulgaria towards the Greek states. According to Livy, a sizable force split off from this main head toward Asia Minor. For several years a federation of Hellespontine cities, including Byzantion and Chalkedon prevented the Celts from entering Asia Minor but this changed when Nikomedes I of Bithynia allied with some of the Celtic leaders in a war against his brother Zipoetes and the Seleucid king Antiochus I.
When the Celts entered Asia Minor chaos ensued until the Celts were routed by Antiochus' army in the Battle of Elephants. In the aftermath of the battle the Celts withdrew to Phrygia settling in Galatia; the territory of Celtic Galatia included the cities of Ancyra, Pessinus and Gordion. Upon the death of Deiotarus, the Kingdom of Galatia was given to Amyntas, an auxiliary commander in the Roman army of Brutus and Cassius who gained the favor of Mark Antony. After his death in 25 BC, Galatia was incorporated by Augustus into the Roman Empire, becoming a Roman province. Near his capital Ancyra, the king's heir, rebuilt a temple of the Phrygian god Men to venerate Augustus, as a sign of fidelity, it was on the walls of this temple in Galatia that the major source for the Res Gestae of Augustus were preserved for modernity. Few of the provinces proved more enthusiastically loyal to Rome. Josephus related the Biblical figure Gomer to Galatia: "For Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, but were called Gomerites."
Others have related Gomer to Cimmerians. Paul the Apostle visited Galatia in his missionary journeys, wrote to the Christians there in the Epistle to the Galatians. Although possessing a strong cultural identity, by the 2nd century AD, the Galatians had become assimilated into the Hellenistic civilization of Anatolia; the Galatians were still speaking the Galatian language in the time of St. Jerome, who wrote that the Galatians of Ancyra and the Treveri of Trier spoke the same language. In an administrative reorganisation, two new provinces succeeded it, Galatia Prima and Galatia Secunda or Salutaris, which included part of Phrygia; the fate of the Galatian people is a subject of some uncertainty, but they seem to have been absorbed into the Greek-speaking populations of Anatolia. Ancient regions of Anatolia History of Anatolia This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Galatia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 11. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 393–394.
Encyclopedia, MS Encarta 2001, under article "Galatia". Barraclough, Geoffrey, ed. HarperCollins Atlas of World History. 2nd ed. Oxford: HarperCollins, 1989. 76–77. John King, Celt Kingdoms, pg. 74–75. The Catholic Encyclopedia, VI: Epistle to the Galatians. Stephen Mitchell, 1993. Anatolia: Land and Gods in Asia Minor vol. 1: "The Celts and the Impact of Roman Rule." 1993. ISBN 0-19-814080-0. Concentrates on Galatia. David Rankin, 1996. Celts and the Classical World: Chapter 9 "The Galatians". Coşkun, A. "Das Ende der "romfreundlichen Herrschaft" in Galatien und das Beispiel einer "sanften Provinzialisierung" in Zentralanatolien," in Coşkun, A. Freundschaft und Gefolgschaft in den auswärtigen Beziehungen der Römer, 133–164. Justin K. Hardin: Galatians and the Imperial Cult. A Critical Analysis of the First-Century Social Context of Paul's Letter. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Germany 2008, ISBN 978-3-16-149563-2. Celtic Galatians "A Detailed Map of Celtic Settlements in Galati
Welsh mythology consists of both folk traditions developed in Wales, traditions developed by the Celtic Britons elsewhere before the end of the first millennium. Like most predominately oral societies found in the prehistoric Britain, Welsh mythology and history was recorded orally by specialists such as druids; this oral record has been altered as result of outside contact and invasion over the years. Much of this altered mythology and history are preserved in medieval Welsh manuscripts which include the Red Book of Hergest, the White Book of Rhydderch, the Book of Aneirin and the Book of Taliesin. Other works connected to Welsh mythology include the ninth century Latin historical compilation Historia Brittonum and Geoffrey of Monmouth's twelfth-century Latin chronicle, Historia Regum Britanniae as well as folklore such as the 1908 The Welsh Fairy Book by William Jenkyn Thomas. Most mythological stories contained in the Mabinogion collection are collectively titled The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, which concentrate on the exploits of various British deities who have been Christianised into kings and heroes.
The only character to appear in every branch is Pryderi fab Pwyll, the king of Dyfed, born in the first Branch, is killed in the fourth, is a reflex of the Celtic god Maponos. The only other recurring characters are Pryderi's mother Rhiannon, associated with the peaceful British prince Manawydan, who becomes her second husband. Manawyadan and his siblings Brân the Blessed and Efnysien are the key players of the second branch, while the fourth branch concerns itself with the exploits of the family of Dôn, which includes the wizard Gwydion, his nephew Lleu Llaw Gyffes, his sister, Arianrhod; the first branch tells of how Pwyll, the prince of Dyfed, exchanges places for a year with Arawn, the ruler of Annwn, defeats Arawn's enemy Hafgan, on his return encounters Rhiannon, a beautiful maiden whose horse cannot be caught up with. He manages to win her hand at the expense of Gwawl, to whom she is betrothed, she bears him a son, but the child disappears soon after his birth. Rhiannon is forced to carry guests on her back as punishment.
The child has been taken by a monster, is rescued by Teyrnon and his wife, who bring him up as their own, calling him Gwri of the Golden hair, until his resemblance to Pwyll becomes apparent. They return him to his real parents, Rhiannon is released from her punishment, the boy is renamed Pryderi. In the second branch, sister of Brân the Blessed, king of Britain, is given in marriage to Matholwch, king of Ireland. Branwen's half-brother Efnysien insults Matholwch by mutilating his horses, but Brân gives him new horses and treasure, including a magical cauldron which can restore the dead to life, in compensation. Matholwch and Branwen have a son, but Matholwch proceeds to mistreat Branwen, beating her and making her a drudge. Branwen trains a starling to take a message to Bran, his army crosses the Irish Sea in ships. The Irish offer to make peace, build a house big enough to entertain Bran, but inside they hang a hundred bags, telling Efnysien they contain flour, when in fact they conceal armed warriors.
Efnysien kills the warriors by squeezing the bags. At the feast, Efnysien throws Gwern on the fire and fighting breaks out. Seeing that the Irish are using the cauldron to revive their dead, Efnysien hides among the corpses and destroys the cauldron, although the effort costs him his life. Only seven men, all Britons, survive the battle, including Pryderi and Bran, mortally wounded by a poisoned spear. Brân asks his companions to take it back to Britain. Branwen dies of grief on returning home. Five pregnant women survive to repopulate Ireland. Pryderi and Manawydan return to Dyfed, where Pryderi marries Manawydan marries Rhiannon. However, a mist descends on the land, leaving it desolate; the four support themselves by hunting at first move to England where they make a living making saddles and shoes of such quality that the local craftsmen cannot compete, drive them from town to town. They return to Dyfed and become hunters again. While hunting, a white boar leads them to a mysterious castle. Pryderi, against Manawydan's advice, does not return.
Rhiannon finds him clinging to a bowl, unable to speak. The same fate befalls her, the castle disappears. Manawydan and Cigfa return to England as shoemakers, but once again the locals drive them out and they return to Dyfed, they sow three fields of wheat. The next night the second field is destroyed. Manawydan keeps watch over the third field, when he sees it destroyed by mice he catches their leader and decides to hang it. A scholar, a priest and a bishop in turn offer him gifts if he will spare the mouse; when asked what he wants in return for the mouse's life, he demands the release of Pryderi and Rhiannon and the lifting of the enchantment over Dyfed. The bishop agrees, he has been waging magical war against Dyfed because he is a friend of Gwawl, whom Pwyll, Pryderi's father humiliated. While Pryderi rules Dyfed in the south of Wales, Gwynedd in the north of Wales is ruled by Math, son of Mathonwy, his feet must be held by a virgin. Math's nephew Gilfaethwy is in love with Goewin, his current footholder, Gilfaethwy's brother Gwydion tricks Math into going to war against Pry
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 and Scottish Gaelic; 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. 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 and the Isle of Man. There was some Gaelic settlement in Wales and Cornwall. In the Viking Age, small numbers of Vikings raided and settled in Gaelic lands, becoming the Norse-Gaels. In the 9th century, the Scots Gaels of Dál Riata merged with Pictland to form the Gaelic Kingdom of Alba. Meanwhile, Gaelic Ireland was made up of several kingdoms, with a High King claiming lordship over them. In the 12th century, Normans conquered parts of Ireland. However, Gaelic culture remained strong throughout the Scottish Highlands and Galloway.
In the early 17th century, the last Gaelic kingdoms in Ireland fell under English control. James I sought to wipe out their culture. In the following centuries the Gaelic language was suppressed and supplanted by English. However, it continues to be the main language in Scotland's Outer Hebrides; the modern descendants of the Gaels have spread throughout the Americas and Australasia. Gaelic society traditionally centred around the clan, each with its own territory and king, elected through tanistry; the Irish were pagans who worshipped the Tuatha Dé Danann, venerated the ancestors and believed in an Otherworld. Their four yearly festivals – Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasa – continued to be celebrated into modern times; the Gaels have a strong oral tradition, traditionally maintained by shanachies. Inscription in the ogham alphabet began in the 4th century, their conversion to Christianity accompanied the introduction of writing in the Roman alphabet, Irish Gaelic has the oldest vernacular literature in western Europe.
Irish mythology and Brehon law were preserved, albeit Christianised. Gaelic monasteries were renowned centres of learning and played a key role in developing Insular art, while Gaelic missionaries and scholars were influential in western Europe. In the Middle Ages, most Gaels lived in ringforts; the Gaels had their own style of dress, which became the belted kilt. They have distinctive music and sports. Gaelic culture continues to be a major component of Irish and Manx culture. 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 early modern concept of the nation state, which encompasses non-Gaels. Other terms, such as Milesian, are not as used. An Old Norse name for the Gaels was Vestmenn. Informally, archetypal forenames such as Tadhg or Dòmhnall are sometimes used for Gaels; the word Gaelic is first recorded in print in the English language in the 1770s, replacing the earlier word Gathelik, attested as far back as 1596.
Gael, defined as a "member of the Gaelic race", is first attested in print in 1810. The name derives from the Old Irish word Goídel/Gaídel spelled Gaoidheal in pre-spelling reform Modern Irish, but today spelled Gaeil or Gael. In early modern Irish, the words Gaelic and Gael were spelled Gaoidhealg and Gaoidheal; the more antiquarian term Goidels came to be used by some due to Edward Lhuyd's work on the relationship between Celtic languages. This term was further popularised in academia by John Rhys. According to the scholar John T. Koch, the Old Irish form of the name, Goídel, was borrowed from a Primitive Welsh form Guoidel meaning'forest people','wild men' or, later,'warriors'. Old Welsh Guoidel is recorded as a personal name in the Book of Llandaff; the root of the name is cognate at the Proto-Celtic level Old Irish fíad'wild', Féni, derived from the Proto-Indo-European *weidh-n-jo-. This latter word is the origin of Fenian. A common name, passed down to the modern day, is Irish; the ultimate origin of this word is thought to be from the Old Irish Ériu, from Old Celtic *Iveriu associated with the Proto-Indo-European term *pi-wer- meaning "fertile".
Ériu is mentioned as a goddess in the Lebor Gabála Érenn as a daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Along with her sisters Banba and Fódla, she is said to have made a deal with the Milesians to name the island after her; the ancient Greeks. This group has been associated with the Érainn of Irish tradition by others; the Érainn.
Celtic knots are a variety of knots and stylized graphical representations of knots used for decoration, used extensively in the Celtic style of Insular art. These knots are most known for their adaptation for use in the ornamentation of Christian monuments and manuscripts, such as the 8th-century St. Teilo Gospels, the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels. Most are endless knots, many are varieties of basket weave knots; the use of interlace patterns had its origins in the artwork of the late Roman Empire. Knot patterns first appeared in the third and fourth centuries AD and can be seen in Roman floor mosaics of that time. Interesting developments in the artistic use of interlaced knot patterns are found in Byzantine architecture and book illumination, Coptic art, Celtic art, Islamic art, Kievan Rus'ian book illumination, Ethiopian art, European architecture and book illumination. Spirals, step patterns, key patterns are dominant motifs in Celtic art before the Christian influence on the Celts, which began around 450.
These designs found their way into early Christian manuscripts and artwork with the addition of depictions from life, such as animals and humans. In the beginning, the patterns were intricate interwoven cords, called plaits, which can be found in other areas of Europe, such as Italy, in the 6th century. A fragment of a Gospel Book, now in the Durham Cathedral library and created in northern Britain in the 7th century, contains the earliest example of true knotted designs in the Celtic manner. Examples of plait work predate knotwork designs in several cultures around the world, but the broken and reconnected plait work, characteristic of true knotwork began in northern Italy and southern Gaul and spread to Ireland by the 7th century; the style is most associated with the Celtic lands, but it was practiced extensively in England and was exported to Europe by Irish and Northumbrian monastic activities on the continent. J. Romilly Allen has identified "eight elementary knots which form the basis of nearly all the interlaced patterns in Celtic decorative art".
In modern times, Celtic art is popularly thought of in terms of national identity and therefore Irish, Scottish or Welsh. The Celtic knot as a tattoo design became popular in the United States in the 1980s. Draw Your Own Celtic Knotwork Comprehensive list of links to both knotwork tutorials and a knotwork bibliography Celtic Interlace - An Overview by Stephen Walker, reproduced with permission from Dalriada Magazine, 2000 Celtic Knot Generator Online Celtic knot designer that uses the Knots typeface. Http://www.hypknotix.com Celtic knots generated algorithmically
The carnyx was a wind instrument of the Iron Age Celts, used between c. 200 BC and c. AD 200, it was a type of bronze trumpet with an elongated S shape, held so that the long straight central portion was vertical and the short mouthpiece end section and the much wider bell were horizontal in opposed directions. The bell was styled in the shape of an open-mouthed boar's, it was used in warfare to incite troops to battle and intimidate opponents, as Polybius recounts. The instrument's significant height allowed it to be heard over the heads of the participants in battles or ceremonies; the word "carnyx" is derived from the Gaulish root, "carn-" or "cern-" meaning "antler" or "horn," and the same root of the name of the god, Cernunnos. Until 2004, fragments of only five carnyces had been preserved, from modern Scotland, Germany and Switzerland, but in 2004 archaeologists discovered a first-century-BC deposit at Tintignac in Corrèze, France. In September 2004, over 500 fragments of iron and bronze objects were discovered in a Gallic pit.
The objects included a dozen swords and scabbards, iron spearheads, a shield, ten bronze helmets and an iron bird, 2 animal heads, one animal body, a cauldron, seven Carnyces, one of, complete. These unique military and religious objects are being studied by Christophe Maniquet’s team, are in the process of conservation and restoration by the Materia Viva laboratory in Toulouse. Four of the carnyces had boar's heads, the fifth appears to be a serpent-like monster; the Tintignac finds enabled some fragments found in northern Italy decades before to be identified in 2012 as coming from a carnyx. The only example from the British Isles is the Deskford Carnyx, found at the farm of Leitchestown, Banffshire, Scotland in 1816. Only the boar's head bell survives apparently placed as a ritual deposit, it was donated to Banff Museum, is now on loan from Aberdeenshire Museums Service to the Museum of Scotland. The location and age of the Deskford Carnyx suggests the instrument had a peaceful, ceremonial use and was not only used in warfare.
Before 2004 this was the best surviving example, copied in earlier reconstructions. The Deskford find was made entirely of brass, a metal used exclusively by the Romans, controlled by them. Further, the basic size and shape of the Deskford find suggests it may in fact have been a Roman military draco standard; the instrument is known from depictions on coins and reliefs, notably from Trajan's Column and the so-called initiation scene of the Gundestrup cauldron. The name is known from textual sources, carnyces are reported from the Celtic attack on the Delphi in 279 BC, as well as from Julius Caesar's campaign in Gaul and Claudius' invasion of Britain. Diodorus Siculus around 60-30 BC said: "Their trumpets again are of a peculiar barbarian kind; the reconstruction of the Deskford Carnyx was initiated by Dr. John Purser, commenced in 1991 funded jointly by the Glenfiddich Living Scotland award and the National Museums of Scotland. In addition to John Purser as musicologist, the team comprised the archaeologist Fraser Hunter, silversmith John Creed, trombonist John Kenny.
After 2,000 years of silence the reconstructed Deskford Carnyx was unveiled at the National Museum of Scotland in April 1993. In 1993 Kenny became the first person to play the carnyx in 2,000 years, has since lectured and performed on the instrument internationally, in the concert hall, on radio and film. There are numerous compositions for the carnyx and it is featured on seven CDs. On 15 March 2003 he performed solo to an audience of 65,000 in the Stade De France in Paris. On 15 June 2017 "The Music of the Forest", a specially commissioned work by Lakeland composer, Christopher Gibbs, featuring a reconstructed carnyx, received its world premiere at Slaidburn Village Hall; the four-part song cycle evoked the landscape and history of the Forest of Bowland and was performed by the Renaissance Singers of Blackburn Cathedral under the direction of Samuel Hudson. The carnyx was played by John Kenny; the carnyx is featured in the opening battle scene of Gladiator. It appears in several battle scenes of Druids.
A carnyx appears near the beginning of the 2012 Pixar computer animated film Brave. Dord, another type of Celtic trumpet, revived Lur Delmarre, Xavier Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise Paris: Editions Errance. ISBN 2-87772-237-6 Hunter, The Shamrock Traditional Irish Music Society, reprint of piece by Hunter on the carnyx Ancient Celtic music in the Citizendium Carnyx and co. Carnyx music. Tintignac discoveries Carnyx on a gold stater of Caesar and on a silver denarius, both from 48 BC
Ancient Celtic religion
Ancient Celtic religion known as Celtic paganism, comprises the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age people of Western Europe now known as the Celts between 500 BC and 500 AD, spanning the La Tène period and the Roman era, in the case of the Insular Celts the British and Irish Iron Age. Little is known with any certainty about the subject, apart from documented names that are thought to be of deities, the only detailed contemporary accounts are by hostile and not-well-informed Roman writers. Celtic paganism was one of a larger group of Iron Age polytheistic religions of the Indo-European family, it comprised a large degree of variation both geographically and chronologically, although "behind this variety, broad structural similarities can be detected" allowing there to be "a basic religious homogeneity" among the Celtic peoples. The Celtic pantheon consists of numerous recorded theonyms, both from Greco-Roman ethnography and from epigraphy. Among the most prominent ones are Teutatis and Lugus.
Figures from medieval Irish mythology have been interpreted as iterations of earlier pre-Christian Insular deities in the study of comparative mythology. According to Greek and Roman accounts, in Gaul and Ireland, there was a priestly caste of "magico-religious specialists" known as the druids, although little is known about them. Following the Roman Empire's conquest of Gaul and southern Britannia, Celtic religious practices began to display elements of Romanisation, resulting in a syncretic Gallo-Roman culture with its own religious traditions with its own large set of deities, such as Cernunnos, Telesphorus, etc. In Roman Britain this lost at least some ground to Christianity by the time the Romans left in 410, in the next century began to be replaced by the pagan Anglo-Saxon religion over much of the country. Christianity had resumed missionary activity by the 5th and the 6th centuries in Ireland, the Celtic population was Christianized supplanting the earlier religious traditions. However, polytheistic traditions left a legacy in many of the Celtic nations, influenced mythology, served as the basis for a new religious movement, Celtic Neopaganism, in the 20th century.
Comparatively little is known about Celtic paganism because the evidence for it is fragmentary, due to the fact that the Celts who practiced it wrote nothing down about their religion. Therefore, all we have to study their religion from is the literature from the early Christian period, commentaries from classical Greek and Roman scholars, archaeological evidence; the archaeologist Barry Cunliffe summarised the sources for Celtic religion as "fertile chaos", borrowing the term from the Irish scholar Proinsias MacCana. Cunliffe went on to note that "there is more, evidence for Celtic religion than for any other example of Celtic life; the only problem is to assemble it in a systematic form which does not too oversimplify the intricate texture of its detail." The archaeological evidence does not contain the bias inherent in the literary sources. Nonetheless, the interpretation of this evidence can be colored by the 21st century mindset. Various archaeological discoveries have aided understanding of the religion of the Celts.
Most surviving Celtic art is not figurative. Surviving figurative monumental sculpture comes entirely from Romano-Celtic contexts, broadly follows provincial Roman styles, though figures who are deities wear torcs, there may be inscriptions in Roman letters with what appear to be Romanized Celtic names; the Pillar of the Boatmen from Paris, with many deity figures, is the most comprehensive example, datable by a dedication to the Emperor Tiberius. Monumental stone sculptures from before conquest by the Romans are much more rare, it is far from clear that deities are represented; the most significant are the Warrior of Hirschlanden and "Glauberg Prince", the Mšecké Žehrovice Head, sanctuaries of some sort at the southern French oppida of Roquepertuse and Entremont. There are a number of Celtiberian standing "warrior" figures, several other stone heads from various areas. In general early monumental sculpture is found in areas with higher levels of contact with the classical world, through trade.
It is possible. Small heads are more common surviving as ornament in metalwork, there are animals and birds that may have a religious significance, as on the Basse Yutz Flagons; the Strettweg Cult Wagon is associated with libations or sacrifices, pairs of metal "spoons" used for divination have been found. Celtic coinage, from the late 4th century BC until conquest copies Greek and Roman examples, sometimes closely, but the heads and horses that are the most popular motifs may have a local religious significance. There are the coins of the Roman provinces in the Celtic lands of Gaul, Raetia and Britannia,Most of the surviving monuments and their accompanying inscriptions belong to the Roman period and reflect a considerable degree of syncretism between Celtic and Roman gods. A notable example of this is the horned god, called Cernunnos.