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About the history of the Celts - life habits and culture

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About the history of the Celts - life habits and culture

The inhabitants of the landscapes north of the Alps were described by ancient Greek philosophers like Herodot, Strabon and many others as Keltoi or Celtae, by the Romans as Galli.

Celtic culture developed very strongly during the early Iron Age (8th-6th century BC) in Central Europe.

Certainly the Celts were never, according to the modern way of thinking, a nation as such. However, cultural differences and linguistic similarities reveal similarities between southern Germany, Northern Spain and France as far as Hungary, Slovenia and the Upper Italy.

In the course of the Celtic migrations some Celtic groups came to Delas and even conquered Rome. Neighboring the Celts were the Etruscans, Scythians, Greeks, Thracians, Germans, and Romans.

The Celts' epoch in Central Europe coincides with the pre-Roman Iron Age. Since the middle of the 8th century BC, the iron as a new material has gained more and more importance in comparison to bronze. At the same time, an early development of the Celtic culture, which is known as Hallstatt culture after some famous discoveries in the Salzkammergut, developed as well. The first centers of power, the so-called Fürstensitze (seat of a prince), arise in the course of the early Iron Age.

The classical Celestial period, which lasts from the middle of the 5th century BC to the beginning of the Roman era, is called the Latène Period. La Tène is located on Lake Neuchâtel in Western Switzerland, where numerous Celtic finds were made in the 19th century. Typical settlements of the later Iron Age are the oppida, the city-like fortified large settlements, and the quadrangles, fortified rural farmsteads.

In the Hallstatt period, the "Fürstensitze" and the courtyard facilities (rectangles) play an important role besides the small farms and villages of the simple rural population. The settlements during the Latène period are determined by the so-called quadrangles - fortified rural farms - and the oppida, as Caesar called the fortified cities of the Celts. As a rule, a Celtic homestead consisted of several residential and commercial buildings (mullion or block wall buildings and mines). In excavations, only the traces of the wooden posts and the waste pits of the settlements are found. There is little knowledge of the interior of the houses - apart from the hearths and technical installations such as ovens. It is striking that the fortified sites and large settlements are often located on important trade routes, such as on large rivers, or in a scenic position, such as on heights. This reflects the power policy and economic conditions, which were based on long-term contacts.

In addition to the museum building on the history of the Celts in Hochdorf, there is a small open-air museum with reconstructions of various Celtic buildings, the remains of which had been found at this place. Here, Hallstatt craftsmanship, such as the iron production, is presented with a stove and a comprehensive overview of the intensive ice age settlement of the Ludwigsburg region, in which more then 150 sites of this time were discovered.

The livelihoods of humans also represent agriculture and livestock farming during the Iron Age. Due to the agricultural overproduction, highly specialized crafts can also develop. Above all, in the vicinity of the "Fürstenitze" of the 6th and 5th century BC workshops flourished, from which masterful products mainly metal and textile processing emerge. Demanded goods such as salt, iron or exotic items from the Mediterranean world are transported on fixed trade routes. In the third century BC the Celts shaped their first own coins according to Greek models. Gradually, money management is replacing the traditional barter trade. Thus the oppida of the Late Celtic period are not only production centers, but also market places and handling centers for goods.

Please read as well:

The Celtic Cycle Route - 9 sites of Celtic culture on the way

Visit of the Celtic Museum in Hochdorf - Celtic Hiking Trail

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