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Newsletter Blast from the Past: Celtic Spain

People usually don’t think of Spain when they think of Celts, but other than Gaul it is the only other place where the use of the term “Celt” is documented in antiquity in the form of names such as “Celtius” and tribal names such as “Celti Praestamarici.” Celts seem to have been just one of many peoples who lived in the Iberian Peninsula at the time. They seem to have been concentrated in north central Spain by the 2nd century B.C., but place names in the west and north suggest their influence covered a wide range. Linguistic and inscriptions have provided evidence to confirm the claim of Herodotus that Celts were living in Spain as early as the 5th century B.C.

However Spanish Celts do not seem to have shared some of the artistic motifs of other Celtic areas. Evidence of La Tene influence art does appear in some of the metal work, but seems less common, and even less so in other artifacts. Some scholars take this to suggest that the Celts who made their home in Spain must have arrived earlier than the 5th Century B.C. otherwise they would have carried with them many more influences from the late Hallstatt, or early La Tene styles that were already common in central Europe by that time. Some suggest they may have arrived as early as the late Bronze Age, and therefore had become much more integrated with the surrounding cultures, which could explain why except for their language they seem to have been less “Celtic-like” than their cousins in Gaul.

Groomporter

Blogger for The Celtic Croft and owner of MacGregor Historic Games http://historicgames.com

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