The Early Celts of Ireland and Britain

Bernhard Maier

in The Celts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780748616053
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672219 | DOI:
The Early Celts of Ireland and Britain

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)


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This chapter traces the history of the early Celts of Ireland and Britain. The earliest reports on Britain and Ireland came from Greek seafarers who reached the ‘tin islands’ in the North Sea, known as Kassiterides, on their trading voyages beyond the Straits of Gibraltar in the sixth century bc. The traces of the Roman occupation of Britain can be seen in the countryside and in numerous museums. Remains in larger cities such as Canterbury, London and Colchester, as well as the elaborate defensive positions on Hadrian's Wall between Carlisle and Newcastle and the Antonine Wall between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth, even today communicate to the observer a lasting impression of the southern civilisation and mode of life which was stamped upon the face of the island in the first five centuries after the birth of Christ. The personal names and names of regions, localities, rivers, and peoples in ancient texts show that a Celtic language was spoken in large parts of Britain and Ireland before the beginning of any native written sources.

Keywords: Celts; Britain; Ireland; Celtic language

Chapter.  3387 words. 

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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