Irish-American Story Volume 1 The Celts – Europe’s First Civilization

I’ve always been annoyed by those who hold to the belief that Northern Europeans were barbarians until pacified by the civilized conquerors from Rome.

Webster’s dictionary defines civilization as “a relatively high level of cultural and technological development.” Unfortunately, the definition continues on to specify, “the stage … at which writing and the keeping of written records is obtained.”

In an essay from my book Irish-American Chronicle, I take issue with such a shortsighted definition. I believe the key words to define civilization should be: “commonly held beliefs, organization, development, and accomplishment.”

In France’s Lascaux Cave, art existed for 20,000 years before the birth of Christ.

Thousands of years before Egypt’s first pyramids; over 50,000 megaliths, Greek for great stones, existed in Europe’s Mediterranean and Atlantic coastal regions from the Göbekli Tepe in Turkey to Sweden. In order for the ancients to accomplish such monumental tasks—universal belief in a Superior Being had to have been widespread.

Before the approach of recorded history, in circa 500 BCE, Northern European Celts, crossed the Alps and invaded Rome. In my eBook, Druids, Celts, and Romans, I portray these people from the Steppes of Russia, who brought the horse to Europe, invented the spoke wheel with its iron tire, and developed the iron plow which enabled the nomadic Europeans to settle in communities. Before their advanced society was overrun by the Romans who adapted many of their inventions, the Celts had developed the wheeled harvester, pioneered the use of fertilizer, and crop rotation. Permitted women to become tribal leaders and own property. The Celts not only used iron, but also invented steel.

Developed a society organized in classes according to their skills:

craftsmen, warriors, priests,  musicians, poets, and intellectuals.

In Chapter 10 of Druids, Celts, and Romans, entitled the “German Intrusion”, I used the Mayri triplets, two males and a female now in their teens, to illustrate the accomplishments of this remarkable race.

By the year 300 BCE, the Celts ruled a swath of Europe from the British Isles to Turkey. Most major European cities were originally Celtic settlements including: London, Paris, Milan, and Budapest. Today, people from countries as diverse as Spain and Hungary still consider themselves to be Celts.

The Celts, the Founders of Europe, may have been illiterate, but they were not uncivilized. These ancients left as their legacy everything—but … a written language.


2 thoughts on “Irish-American Story Volume 1 The Celts – Europe’s First Civilization

  1. Hello, Sligo publishing. What do you think is the greatest achievement of the Celtic civilisation? I am doing a research paper on them and I am currently stuck.Thanks!

    Hi Pablo

    I don’t know whether my reply reached you so I’ll try again to get you unstuck. Your question is a great one and one that could have many answers.

    Many people associate the arrival of the Celts & the Druids as occurring at the same time. I, on the other hand believe the Druids religion came from an even more ancient one which may have begun in Turkey. See my discussion regarding the megaliths, particularly the one in Turkey which resembles Stonehenge. There were over 50,000, so in my view only a religion (possibly the Druids) could have been behind such fervor. Both Julius Caesar and I believe the Druids originated in the British Isles.

    Regarding the Celts, in my opinion, they originally emigrated from the Steppes of Russia and came together as a people in the Hartz Mountains in Germany. They brought the domesticated horse and iron to Europe, where they invented steel. Because Europe at that time was dense forest, most cultures clung to rivers and lakes. The Celts, on the other hand, developed the iron-tired spoke wheel. The are many examples of them using this on their wagons and chariots. Many of their weapons were copied by the Romans, including chain mail. Then of course is Celtic art.

    But in answer to your question, I’d chose their contributions to agriculture – the iron plow, the wheeled harvester, fertilization, and rotation of crops. These enabled Europeans to gather in communities, rather than just be hunters and wanderers. Many European cities, including London and Paris, were originally Celtic settlements. Id suggest you read Barry Cunliffe’s book The Celtic World. Hope this short introduction gives you some ideas Good luck with your project. I’d like to see the finished product.

    James Francis Smith

    • An outstanding question. Off hand I would suggest their contributions to agriculture. The most lasting, which by definition is their greatest achievement is the addition of iron to the plow. An instrument that is still in use today. This could be followed by the spoke wheel with the iron tire. The Celts may have invented these or improved on the invention of others. I’d suggest you read “The Celtic World” by Barry Cunliffe. I wish you the very best with your research.

      Jim Smith

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