Celtic Warriors: 400 B.C. to 1600 A.D.

Once upon a time, the Celts dominated the ancient world from Spain to Turkey. They sacked Rome and invaded Greece. Their war chariots devastated all adversaries. But then it all went wrong. They were crushed by the Roman Empire. Their legendary kingdoms in Europe were obliterated. Only Britain remained a Celtic stronghold. And even there, the Scots, the Welsh, and the Irish were forced to fight for their independence against waves of Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Anglo-Normans.
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Roman campaign - map shows the route the many incursions into British territories over the decades the Romans attempted to subdue the British.

Roman campaign - map shows the route the many incursions into British territories over the decades the Romans attempted to subdue the British.

Woad stained hands. Woad dye was used by Celtic Picts and Gaels in Scotland and Ireland as a form of body art. Today woad can be used to dye clothing.

Woad stained hands. Woad dye was used by Celtic Picts and Gaels in Scotland and Ireland as a form of body art. Today woad can be used to dye clothing.

Ancient Celts - Celtic warriors often painted their bodies with a blue dye from a plant called "Woad". The woad would be painted in different shapes, such as animal. They were very fierce fighters, and the Romans feared them. Sometimes Celtic warriors would enter battle wearing nothing but woad and a necklace. This necklace would supposedly hold healing powers.

Ancient Celts - Celtic warriors often painted their bodies with a blue dye from a plant called "Woad". The woad would be painted in different shapes, such as animal. They were very fierce fighters, and the Romans feared them. Sometimes Celtic warriors would enter battle wearing nothing but woad and a necklace. This necklace would supposedly hold healing powers.

Classical writers attested to the intimidating appearance of a Celtic army in battle, describing powerful men, constant noise, warlike gestures, and a barbaric fury. But faced with disciplined Roman forces, intimidation was not enough. Accounts of Roman engagements with the Celts of Italy, Gaul, and Britain provide an impression of how the Celts fought the Romans—and invariably lost.

Classical writers attested to the intimidating appearance of a Celtic army in battle, describing powerful men, constant noise, warlike gestures, and a barbaric fury. But faced with disciplined Roman forces, intimidation was not enough. Accounts of Roman engagements with the Celts of Italy, Gaul, and Britain provide an impression of how the Celts fought the Romans—and invariably lost.

British charioteer and nobleman, 100 BC, the British Celts of Southern Britain were closely associated with the Belgae across the channel. Many warriors from this region went to assist the Gauls and Belgae in their wars with Caesar.

British charioteer and nobleman, 100 BC, the British Celts of Southern Britain were closely associated with the Belgae across the channel. Many warriors from this region went to assist the Gauls and Belgae in their wars with Caesar.

A Celtic Warrior is ritualistically buried in Iron Age Britain. Artwork by Peter Connolly.

A Celtic Warrior is ritualistically buried in Iron Age Britain. Artwork by Peter Connolly.

One of the earliest names for the British Celts was the 'Pretani', a word perhaps relating to the practice of painting themselves.

One of the earliest names for the British Celts was the 'Pretani', a word perhaps relating to the practice of painting themselves.

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