The word CELTIC is in widespread use. What does it mean to you?

Simon   Wednesday, July 09, 2003, 12:50 GMT
What would the difference be between CELTIC and NON-CELTIC? Other than language what is the difference between CELTIC and GERMANIC?

Please let us know.
Clark   Wednesday, July 09, 2003, 19:11 GMT
We are all humans, aren't we?
Ryan   Thursday, July 10, 2003, 00:47 GMT
They're just different historical tribes of Europeans on different areas of the continent. Both languages are related to the ancient "proto-Indo-European" languages. There are North American Indian tribes that have languages that are much more radically different from each other than Celtic and Germanic languages are. People just like to find differences between things because it makes them feel more unique and special and gives them a bond with their immediate neighbors against imaginary "outsiders."

Redacted   Thursday, July 10, 2003, 13:55 GMT
Personally, modern-day Celtic identity refers to the speakers of: Cymraeg, Kernewek, Breizhoneg, Eireannin Gaelic, Alba Gadhlig and Vannin Gaelgeg.

Past-Celtic speaking peoples would include: Cumbric, Pictish, Brittonic, Gaulish, Celtic-Iberian etc.

I would refer to the term Celtic in modern-day as the remaining 6 Celtic languages that are still spoken in parts of Europe, North & South America, Ocenia etc. Although Celtic could also be used as a cultural and historic term e.g, many people of Cumbria, West-Country, Galicia, Asturias, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium etc. still refer to themselves as being "Celtic", eventhough their Celtic-tongue is no-longer in use:

What makes a Scots-English speaker of Southern Scotland more "Celtic" than a Cumbrian-English speaker of Cumbria?
This is the problem, we could look on the French as being Latin speaking Gaulish Celts or Latin speaking Germanic Franks? This is why I use the term Celtic today as those who make daily use of a Celtic language, despite most of the population of mainland Europe having "Celtic, Germanic or Latin" ancestry...
Martin   Monday, July 14, 2003, 23:04 GMT
Just my personal view is that when I think of Celtic I think
of the Celtic art, legends , languages and music that identify a particular
branch of the indo-european tree. Its is also a way of thinking, i.e. the idea
of branches of something is very celtic, identifying a relationship of many to something firm and rooted. Germans and Celts are branches of the same
tree. We are cousins and should celebrate it. A Celt historically speaking is
someone who does not think along linear terms, that is everything is on a straight line, once you have passed point b you can not go back, instead
the Celt believes that life is like travelling along a curve. The ultimate
cirve is the circle ( a curve that loops back on itself). The degenerate
form of a curve is a straight line which is more the Anglo-Saxon way. In essence the Celt enjoys the infinite and the anglo saxon the finite.
Clark   Tuesday, July 15, 2003, 05:58 GMT
Maybe we should just say, "A Celt is someone who speaks a Celtic language." This way, an African could be a Celt, just like an Indian or a Caucasian.
Simon   Wednesday, July 16, 2003, 08:56 GMT
I like your description Martin - whether I believe it or not is irrelevent. The problem comes when people think of England as "straight line" and Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland as "curve".
Martin   Wednesday, July 16, 2003, 18:41 GMT
My description is a traditional one derived from classical celtic study
and Irish sources. I never described countries as straight lines or curves
but the way of looking at life. England is Anglo Celtic and has features
of both indo-european groups.
Simon   Thursday, July 17, 2003, 07:33 GMT
George Bernard Shaw once said that only Ireland was capable of producing an Englishman these days (or something like that).

I think to call Ireland Celtic and England Anglo-Celtic is to forget that parts of Irish culture (the English language, Anglicised place names, rugby, laws, basic recipe of Guinness etc.) came from the East, i.e. England. This is not to put Ireland down or tie its culture to England - I just don't find the word Celtic as a broad term meaningful or useful.

Maybe Celtic is really lots of terms that often get confused.

As an aside, if the Irish are Celts and Catholicism is so much an important part of their identity, why are the Scots Celts and most of them Protestant?

I prefer to think of the people of the United Kingdom and Ireland as being English-speaking island-based Europeans, with Celtic-speaking minorities along the western coasts of these islands.
Redacted   Thursday, July 24, 2003, 13:32 GMT
It isn't as simple as modern-day borders to distinguish Celtic with non-Celtic, e.g,

Welsh speakers from areas outside modern-day Wales such as Llanyblodwel, Trefonen, Birkenhead (Penbedw), Selattyn, Maesbrook, Pant, Pentre, Maesbury, Llynclys, Nantmawr, Croesau Bach, Nant-y-Gollen, Morda, Parth-y-waen, Hengoed, Gobowen, Ostwestry (Croesoswallt), Brogyntyn, Llawnt, Pen-y-park etc. Are these areas purly Welsh or English?

It's never as simple as modern-day borders, many communities within modern-day England are Welsh speaking. Welsh was still spoken in Northern England and the Pennines during the Tudor times, reminants of the language of the kingdom of Hen Goed, wich later became Northumbria.

England is without doubt more of an Anglo-Celtic, rather than an Anglo-Saxon community, with many different minorities in a modern multi-cultural society. The British Isles and France retains modern-day Celtic-language speaking monorities: Welsh (Cymraeg), Cornish (Kernewek), Breton (Breizhoneg), Scottish Gaelic (Gadhlig), Irish Gaelic (Gaelic), Manx Gaelic (Gaelgeg).
Clark   Thursday, July 24, 2003, 18:35 GMT
First off, "GĂ idhlig" is the spelling for Scottish Gaelic, and "Gaeilge" is the spelling for Irish Gaelic.

Second, let's stop talking about genetics, because the farther we go back into history, we find out that we are a bit of everything! There were ROman legions in Britain from Africa and Spain, which means that these soldiers probably stayed in Britain when their service was finished. They probably had children, who had children, whi had children, etc... which means that a lot of British people have African and Spanish genetics.

Also, everyone forgets the huge impact the Danes had on Eastern England. Everyone is so fond of saying, "Anglo-Celtic," but never "Anglo-Celto-Dane."

All in all, this genetics stuff really bothers me because some people will never see that there is more to being "Celtic" than genetics. I have read stories aboout Irish-speaking people going to the Carribean with slaves, and the slaves adopted Irish as their language. When other Irish people went to the island, they were amazed that these black people were almost more Irish than they were.

And your first sentence of your last post Redacted, I think Simon has said that repeatedly.
Simon   Friday, July 25, 2003, 07:21 GMT
The Danes have played a really big role in this:

The so called Anglo-saxons came from a variety of continental Germanic groups, a good few of which were from southern Denmark or just to the south of Denmark.

The Vikings were (I think) mostly Danes.

The Normans were Danes who had settled in France.

So yes, let's not the Danish input. Curiously a Swede once said "the Danes are just Germans pretending to be English". Look at the Danish national flag and royal crest and then do the same for England (not UK).
Redacted   Monday, July 28, 2003, 12:35 GMT
For the BBC series 'Blood of the Vikings', University College London undertook a survey to uncover Scandinavian Heathen-Viking, Danish genes in the British Isles:

North & East England:

After a series of battles in the 9th century, a treaty was drawn up between King Alfred and the Danish 'Great Army', giving the north east region of the country to the Viking leader Guthrum. Many Vikings are thought to have settled in this region and so we expect to see traces of Viking genes in the people there today.
It was impossible to separate the Anglo-Saxon from the Danish input (The Anglo-Saxons: Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Frisians & Geets were more-or-less of the same genetic stock as the Danish Vikings) in the British Isles, but the North and East of England showed more signs of the invading groups than anywhere else in Britain. North & East England's population showed main traces of Briton, Anglo-Saxon & Scandinavian genetic input.

South & West England:

This area of England was the stronghold of King Alfred's Anglo-Saxon kingdom when the Danish Great Army arrived in the country. Although the Vikings did carry out raids in the south-west of England, they are not recorded as settling here, so it is unlikely many Viking genes will be revealed in the population of this region.
It was impossible to separate the Anglo-Saxon and Danish input into the British Isles, but the Southwest (Devon, Western Somerset) and Cornwall 'Kernow' showed far more signs of the Ancient Britons (Celtic) than of the invading groups. South & West England's population showed main traces of Briton, Irish Gael and Anglo-Saxon.


The Vikings began attacking monasteries in Ireland in the late 8th century. Soon the Vikings had a permanent base at Dublin, and they also established settlements at Waterford, Wexford, Limerick and Cork. Dublin in particular became a major Viking port, so genetic tests were done just outside this city.
Central Ireland was virtually entirely Ancient Briton, or Goidelic Gaelic Celtic but strangely no traces of Norwegian ancestry were found near Dublin, a city known to have been settled by the Vikings. Ireland's population showed main traces of Irish Gael, Anglo-Saxon/Scot in Northern Ireland & Scandinavian genetic input.

Isle of Man:

Pagan Viking graves are found on the Isle of Man from the 9th century. The Isle of Man became a powerful independent Viking kingdom, before being conquered by a Norwegian king in 1098. Although the Isle of Man was ceded to Scotland in 1266, its long Viking history suggests Viking genes could be uncovered in the Manx population.
Over 15% of the Y chromosomes from the Isle of Man showed traces of Norwegian origin, supporting the strong archaeological evidence for Viking settlement. Man's population showed main traces of Briton, Manx Gael & Scandinavian genetic input.

Scotland & The Northern Isles:

Pre-900 the Northern Isles were populated by the Pictish Britons. By 900, the Vikings had established bases on Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides, as well as at Caithness on mainland Pictland. These areas remained under Scandinavian control for centuries- with Orkney and Shetland the last to be lost in the 15th century. The long period of Norse settlement suggests Viking genes will be found here.
Viking genes were not prevalent in mainland Scotland but male DNA samples from the Hebrides were over 30% Norwegian. Those from the Northern Isles, Shetland and Orkney were 60% Norwegian. Scotland's population showed main traces of Pict, Briton, Scots Gael, Anglo-Saxon & Scandinavian genetic input.

Wales 'Cymru':

Evidence for the Vikings in Wales is sparse compared to other regions, but they did raid here and there are some Scandinavian placenames. But as there is little evidence for long-term settlement, it's unlikely any Viking genes will be uncovered here.
DNA samples from north and south Wales were virtually entirely Ancient Briton (Celtic). However, the test site not far from the Welsh border with England was predominantly a mixture of Ancient Britons, Anglo-Saxon/Dane. Wales's population showed main traces of Briton, Irish Gael, Anglo-Saxon & Scandinavian genetic input.

Conclusion, the descent of most of the population of the British Isles is mainly a mixture of: Picts, Britons: Cymry Cumbric, Cymraeg & Kernewek, Gaels: Irish, Scots & Manx, Anglo-Saxons: Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Frisians & Geets, Scandinavian Haethen-Vikings: Danes, Norwegian. Normans: Scandinavian Vikings, Britons: Cymry Breizhoneg & Gauls etc.
Redacted   Monday, July 28, 2003, 12:36 GMT
....+ populations from all over the Roman Empire.
dongordo   Sunday, August 03, 2003, 14:49 GMT
Celtic: Corny crappy music.