Celticity: Migration or Fashion?

Celticity: Migration or Fashion?

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Celticity: Migration or Fashion?

Leggett, Samantha (University of Sydney, Australia)

Vexillum: The Undergraduate Journal of Classical and Medieval Studies, Vol.2 (2012)


The definition of the Celts and Celtic is at the core of Celtic Studies, either in antiquity or the early medieval period. The modern pop-culture understanding of the people, and their culture is very different to the evidence from ancient times; however even when examining archaeological sites and the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans we find discontinuities. The archaeological evidence shows a migration of culture from the Celtic homeland in central continental Europe, a myriad of Halstatt and La Tène artefacts, stone henges and circles, scattered across Gaul and into the British Isles (the home of the modern day Celts). The historical record sees a distinction between the Keltoi/Gauls and the tribes of the British Isles, however similarities between them are apparent. The linguistic evidence is unclear, showing some relationships between the British Celts and the ancient Keltoi, but nothing definitive. The genetic evidence gives the clearest answer to the question “Celticity: Migration or Fashion?”, that the Celts of the British Isles are not genetically related to the original ancient Keltoi (not recently). This paper ultimately shows that Celticity was due to the spread of fashion and not an actual migration of people from the Celtic homeland.

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