The origins of the Celts
Where did they come from and what became of them?
It is still not quite clear where the Celtic tribes that settled in all parts of Europe came from - but recent archeological findings suggest that these people maybe came form somewhere in Asia Minor.
The Celts were a diverse group of people whose empire once spanned the European continent. Archeological digs from Halstadt, Germany to the Orkney Isles of Scotland have uncovered evidence of Celtic settlements as far back as the late Bronze Age. But where did these brash, nomadic people come from, and what became of them?
Recent archeological digs in Eastern Europe and Asia Minor indicate the possibility that the Celts were not indigenous to Europe at all. The fact that the original Celtic stock were primarily dark haired people with swarthy complexions only verifies this new theory. This theory is the migratory theory; when applied the Celtics sometime in the millennia of the Bronze Age entered Europe from somewhere in Asia Minor. It wasnít long before they settled in the region of the Danube River basin and soon began raiding and conquering their neighbors. The Celtic conquest continued until their triballands covered most of Western Europe, from the Danube to Rome and westward as far as current-day Belgium.
Though their rise to power was quick, the Celtic domination of Europe was short, as empires go. Over the centuries following the Celtic Golden Age seen at Halstadt, the Celtic people were pushed farther west by new conquerors and empires, sprouting up in Athens, Macedonia, and, eventually, Rome. To the North, the savage Goths pushed the Celts southward as well, condensing the majority of Celtic society into Gaul and Iberia, which today make up France and Spain.
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Roman Celtic Encounters
What the Romans thought about the Celts
Many of the territories that were conquered by Roman soldiers were occupied by Celtic tribes in the first place. And although Rome thought of the Celts as being uncivilized savages they were strong opponents that could not be defeated easily...
Germanic tribes and the Celts
Various etymologies for the Latin word "Germani" are possible. As an adjective, germani is simply the plural of the adjective germanus (from germen, "seed" or "offshoot"), which has the sense of "related" or "kindred" or "authentic". According to Strabo, the Romans introduced the name Germani, because the Germanic tribes were the authentic Celts. Alternatively, it may refer from this use based on Roman experience of the Germanic tribes as allies of the Celts.
Apparently, the Germanic tribes did not have a self-designation ("endonym") that included all Germanic-speaking people but excluded all non-Germanic people. Non-Germanic peoples (primarily Celtic, Roman, Greek, the citizens of the Roman Empire), on the other hand, were called "walha-" (this word lives forth in names such as Wales, Welsh, Cornwall, Walloons, Vlachs etc.). Yet, the name of the Suebi - which designated a larger group of tribes and was used almost indiscriminately with Germani in Caesar - was possibly a Germanic equivalent of the Latin name ("swe-ba-" meaning "authentic").
The History of the Vikings
A short introduction
Besides the Celts and the Germanic tribes the Vikings were the third important population around 1000 in Europe. They were feared for their raids and their knowledge of the sea is legendary...
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