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Fredrik
Friday, March 25th, 2005, 11:45 PM
I have read from several sources that the Kelts had a sort of cultural tradition which consisted in bleaching their hair.

From this, one can conclude that they probably weren't blonde-haired but, most likely, brown or even black-haired (were they brown-eyed too, or did they have light eyes?).

Despite the common reference to this keltic hair bleaching habit, I have never found an explanation to it in History books nor in the Web.

So, my questions are: does anyone knows why did the Kelts bleach their hair? Is this an historically accepted fact or is there divergent beliefs surrounding it?

Thanks in advance.

Rhydderch
Saturday, March 26th, 2005, 02:18 AM
I have read from several sources that the Kelts had a sort of cultural tradition which consisted in bleaching their hair.

From this, one can conclude that they probably weren't blonde-haired but, most likely, brown or even black-haired (were they brown-eyed too, or did they have light eyes?).

Despite the common reference to this keltic hair bleaching habit, I have never found an explanation to it in History books nor in the Web.

So, my questions are: does anyone knows why did the Kelts bleach their hair? Is this an historically accepted fact or is there divergent beliefs surrounding it?

Thanks in advance.I'm not sure that anyone knows the reason for this custom, but that it was indeed practised is known from Roman writers. One writer said something to this effect, "Their hair is blond, but not naturally so, because they bleach it with lime"; however, although brown or dark haired, they were blue eyed and fair skinned, and Roman writers also attest to this.

Some have speculated that the reason for this custom was pursuance of a "blond ideal", but the evidence from Celtic legends indicates otherwise; the ideal appearance was usually regarded as being "hair as black as a raven, skin as white as snow, and lips (or cheeks) as red as blood"; I think blue eye colour was also the most admired.

So I suppose the reason for the bleaching custom remains unknown.

Edwin
Saturday, March 26th, 2005, 04:04 AM
I'm not sure that the state of Celtic hair was restricted to either or. It would depend on which clans were observed. Likely, the unfree and client clans were usually more gracile and therefore usually darker, and had within them traditions in which the rising youths altered their appearances to look more like the youths of the free clans.

The Celtic free clans seem to have been quite redhaired, as Celtic (and other) redheads were most often noted in martial terms by the Romans and Greeks.

If you want to check, start in:

Strabo, 4 and 7; I think
Ammianus, 15; I think
Tacitus, Agricola and Germania (chapters?)

There are many more but they don't come to mind at this moment.

Altruist
Saturday, March 26th, 2005, 05:28 AM
Are we talking about Kelts that were all over Europe, or my Scottish brethren? I can tell you one thing: these girls bleach their hair like crazy! I don't live in Scotland, but my community is mostly Scottish and there is a good lot of blondes, not so many redheads, dominantly brunettes and very few black-hairs- very few. A lot of girls, mostly unattractive ones, bleach their hair blonde. This is modern of course! Most ladies 'round these parts have blues eyes; some have the iciest variety! Some browns, fewer greens. Of course, if we're talking about a particular species or whatever, these kids run the gambit from Keltic to all the other Scottish phenotypes.

I imagine it was done by others.

Hagalaz
Saturday, March 26th, 2005, 06:16 AM
I've read into this before and from what I remember the Kelts naturally had light hair but only used lime wash to increase the intensity.

"Strabo makes special mention of their hair which, he tells us; 'Is not only naturally blonde, but they also use artificial means to increase this natural quality of colour. For they continually wash their hair with lime wash and draw it back from the forehead to the crown and to the nape of the neck, with the result that their appearance resembles that of the Satyrs or Pans, for their hair is so thickened by this treatment that it differs in no way from a horse's mane."

Dr. Solar Wolff
Saturday, March 26th, 2005, 06:44 AM
Roman sources also stated Germans had red hair but someone here said Germans of those days colored their hair red to make them more scary in battle. Roman women also used lime on their hair also. This practice may have been widespread but only of concern to some Roman paleo-anthropologist trying to "type" the people he encounters.

keltic_stijn
Saturday, March 26th, 2005, 08:50 AM
I somewhere read that the Kelts had all sorts of hair, from blonde to brown, with a great amount of red hair. A alsow read that they bleached their hair with chalk, and they used it alsow to make spikes in their hair. I have an image of a celtic warrior with his wife where you can see the red hair bleached with chalk...

http://forums.skadi.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=32692&stc=1

Rhydderch
Saturday, March 26th, 2005, 11:16 AM
"Strabo makes special mention of their hair which, he tells us; 'Is not only naturally blonde, but they also use artificial means to increase this natural quality of colour.I have often seen the passage translated in that way, but I think it's a mistranslation, because it's not quoted like that by those who seem to have a greater expertise, and who are familiar with the original Greek; and as I said the legends also indicate otherwise.


I'm not sure that the state of Celtic hair was restricted to either or.That's true to an extent, but considering the Celts had a distinctive phenotype which was dominant (at least, among the the freemen and upper classes, i.e those of 'true' Celtic descent), it is likely that the hair colour tended to fall within a certain range too.
Of course, we do hear of redheads (Boudicca for example) and there were probably blonds as well, but I would think that they were likely considerably outnumbered by the darker haired. Because of the legends etc. my estimate is that the hair colour perhaps ranged around darkish or maybe dark to medium brown; it appears that black hair was not uncommon.


It would depend on which clans were observed. Likely, the unfree and client clans were usually more gracile and therefore usually darker, and had within them traditions in which the rising youths altered their appearances to look more like the youths of the free clans.The appearance of the unfree in Celtic society would depend on the region. In the British Isles, they would have been descended from the Upper Palaeolithic Brunns, Atlanto-meds, Dinarics etc. In Gaul there would have been an Alpine element as well.
So the unfree probably had a greater variety of phenotypes and hair colours than the free.

green nationalist
Saturday, March 26th, 2005, 04:12 PM
"hair as black as a raven, skin as white as snow, and lips (or cheeks) as red as blood";
Sounds like a buetifull Irish Girl I know

Edwin
Saturday, March 26th, 2005, 08:12 PM
The appearance of the unfree in Celtic society would depend on the region. In the British Isles, they would have been descended from the Upper Palaeolithic Brunns, Atlanto-meds, Dinarics etc. In Gaul there would have been an Alpine element as well.
So the unfree probably had a greater variety of phenotypes and hair colours than the free.

Very true, except that the literary evidence suggests the Western Irish very early were able to dominate over the Eastern and truly Celtic Irish, so the Brunn were likely never made subject; it would have been impossible anyway, as it was more recently.

Whenever the expanding Celtic aristocracies encountered UP populations, they probably were dealt with as peers, since the original Celtic aristocrats were Borreby themselves. The graciles would of course have been brought into service, just as is done today. :)

RedJack
Sunday, March 27th, 2005, 08:31 PM
Baker, in "Race" states that the Gallokelten practised hair bleaching in order to more closely resemble their Germanokelten cousins.

Waarnemer
Sunday, March 27th, 2005, 09:32 PM
Baker, in "Race" states that the Gallokelten practised hair bleaching in order to more closely resemble their Germanokelten cousins.That's of course bullshit, you really believe that the celts bleached there hair to look more nordid?! Baker's book is based on nordicism (if im correct he claims that rome had a nordid structure). Moste of the statements in his book are fairytales.

I can remember reading his book, could somebody give me a internetlink to his book? Perhaps am wronge and i'm talking about the wrong guy and the wrong book, if so than hereby my apoligise.

RedJack
Sunday, March 27th, 2005, 09:53 PM
You must be thinking of a different book. Baker doesn't make any claims about Nordic Romans. He does have a chapter on the Celts, though. He notes two types of Celts, the Gallokelten (Alpine type) and the Germanokelten ( yep, more nordid). He doesn't seem to be an extreme nordicist, though.

green nationalist
Sunday, March 27th, 2005, 09:53 PM
Baker, in "Race" states that the Gallokelten practised hair bleaching in order to more closely resemble their Germanokelten cousins.
Bollox

Irish hated those invading norsemen, that makes as much sense as the idea of you tatooing your skin black in order to be like the nig who is seducing your women,

The poxy thing about this forum is you cant punch someone square in the face for making stupid comments, what a idiot.

RedJack
Sunday, March 27th, 2005, 09:59 PM
Take it easy, mate! :D I just quoted Baker, don't shoot the messenger.

green nationalist
Sunday, March 27th, 2005, 10:04 PM
Take it easy, mate! :D I just quoted Baker, don't shoot the messenger.
Consider it taboo in future, to quote that anti Irish waste of space

RedJack
Sunday, March 27th, 2005, 10:07 PM
LOL, he wasn't talking about Irishmen and Norsemen, anyway. He was talking about Celts on the continent.

Edwin
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 12:14 AM
The statement in question is based ultimately on Baker's imperfect knowledge of the sources, so no more passionate criticism, or praise for what it strives to be, needs be made of it. ;)

green nationalist
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 12:21 AM
Jumped the gun a bit there, Bennet, cheers mate.

Far to drunk fot this shit

Good night all!

green nationalist
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 12:41 AM
Same to you rejack, sorry about the agression, just get pissed off when my Nation gets dragged through the dust,

RedJack
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 12:50 AM
No offense taken, mate. :thumbup

Rhydderch
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 04:54 AM
Very true, except that the literary evidence suggests the Western Irish very early were able to dominate over the Eastern and truly Celtic Irish, so the Brunn were likely never made subject; it would have been impossible anyway, as it was more recently.
The Brunns are predominant (in the sense of being the most common type) in parts of Western Ireland, but as far as I know, "true" Celts settled in both Western and Eastern Ireland and dominated over the earlier populations.


He notes two types of Celts, the Gallokelten (Alpine type) and the Germanokelten ( yep, more nordid). He doesn't seem to be an extreme nordicist, though.
I'm not sure what he means by Germanokelten, but I assume that by Gallokelten he means Gauls. From the archaeological record, we know that the Gauls were of the same physical type as the Celts in Britain and Ireland, although there were some regional exceptions in Gaul; so in general, the Gauls (and again I'm referring to the free and upper classes, who were probably a minority of the total population) were not Alpinid but were of the usual Celtic type, i.e low mesocephalic, with a low vault, sloping forehead and narrow, rather prominent nose etc.

Waarnemer
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 07:50 AM
I'm not sure what he means by Germanokelten, but I assume that by Gallokelten he means Gauls. From the archaeological record, we know that the Gauls were of the same physical type as the Celts in Britain and Ireland, although there were some regional exceptions in Gaul; so in general, the Gauls (and again I'm referring to the free and upper classes, who were probably a minority of the total population) were not Alpinid but were of the usual Celtic type, i.e low mesocephalic, with a low vault, sloping forehead and narrow, rather prominent nose etc.According to Dr. P. van Emst in his book Panorama van de Wereld (1966) the celts in northern gaul (belgium/flanders) were of the alpinid sub-type, and then we can see that coon related the nordic keltic type to the frankish tribe (at least in gaul and aspecialy northern gaul), and this sub-type is nothing more than a mixture of nordid with dinardid/mediterranean/alpinid elements, so a germanic nordid mixed in old celtic regions. This is my opinion and only for the continent and more precisely for the history of my homeland, i don't know the story for the british islands at least not precicely, but one thing is for sure, the only places where we can speak of a a iron age nordic or keltic nordic are places were the celts were the first inhabitants and later mixed with the nordid germanic invaders.

Waarnemer
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 08:48 AM
RedJack[/b]]Baker, in "Race" states that the Gallokelten practised hair bleaching in order to more closely resemble their Germanokelten cousins.


That's of course bullshit, you really believe that the celts bleached there hair to look more nordid?!

Apparently i was wrong. This is from the races of europe.

The descriptions of the Kelts, in Britain, in France, and in other parts of Europe, at the hands of classical authors, give us a definite picture of their pigmentation. Blondism was by no means characteristic of the Kelts as a whole. Rufosity was common, and the hair color was essentially mixed. Caesar himself noted the contrast between the ordinary Gauls and the partly Germanic Belgae, to whom he had to turn to find real blonds for his triumph. Furthermore, the Romans noted the Keltic practice of bleaching the hair to simulate a blond ideal, as in Greece.

On the whole, the Kelts were a mixed group in race as in culture; their ancestry includes both long heads of some central European Nordic type, which was in turn a combination of several Mediterranean sub-types, and brachycephals from the region in southwestern Germany in which the Dinarics of Early Bronze Age introduction had blended with earlier round heads of Mesolithic origin. Out of this combination, the Kelts developed an easily identified national type, of considerable constancy, which was a to be of some importance in the world, especially in Britain and the nations derived from her.

Rhydderch
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 11:08 AM
According to Dr. P. van Emst in his book Panorama van de Wereld (1966) the celts in northern gaul (belgium/flanders) were of the alpinid sub-typeThe archaeological evidence indicates otherwise, at least for what is now France, although I'm not sure about Belgium/Flanders.


and then we can see that coon related the nordic keltic type to the frankish tribe (at least in gaul and aspecialy northern gaul)The Franks in Gaul were largely of the Celtic type but that may well be because the cemeteries mostly contain people of Gaulish descent. But Coon himself says that individuals of Germanic Nordic type can also be found in cemeteries of Frankish Gaul.


and this sub-type is nothing more than a mixture of nordid with dinardid/mediterranean/alpinid elementsThat is a common theory, but I think it's quite unlikely; the Scythians, and possibly also the Indo-Aryans, were of a very similar physical type to the Celts, and I find it hard to believe that those two peoples would happen to be also a Dinarid/Med/Alpinid mixture. Also, I think such ideas may come from a time when there was much less knowledge of genetics, because if we look at it on the genetic level, such a conglomeration of types is highly unlikely to give rise to one relatively homogeneous type. It's theoretically possible, but in practice, it simply wouldn't happen as far as I can tell.


This is my opinion and only for the continent and more precisely for the history of my homeland, i don't know the story for the british islands at least not precicely, but one thing is for sure, the only places where we can speak of a a iron age nordic or keltic nordic are places were the celts were the first inhabitants and later mixed with the nordid germanic invaders.Again, the archaeological evidence (from Roman and earlier times) indicates that the Gaels (in Ireland), Britons and Gauls were all generally of the same Celtic type (Coon calls it Keltic Nordic). This was before any Germanic people had entered these areas.

Besides, the evidence from linguistics and social structure indicates that the Celts were more closely related to the Italic, and to a lesser extent, Indo-Aryan peoples than to the Germanics.


Furthermore, the Romans noted the Keltic practice of bleaching the hair to simulate a blond ideal, as in Greece.That is Coon's opinion on the issue; I don't think the Romans claimed that the custom was intended to simulate a blond ideal, and as I said earlier Celtic traditions indicate that dark hair (with white skin, blue eyes etc.) was considered 'ideal'.

Milesian
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 12:43 PM
attest to this.

Some have speculated that the reason for this custom was pursuance of a "blond ideal", but the evidence from Celtic legends indicates otherwise; the ideal appearance was usually regarded as being "hair as black as a raven, skin as white as snow, and lips (or cheeks) as red as blood"; I think blue eye colour was also the most admired.



It is true that my own family prize this as a "real Irish look" so there might be some truth to that.

executiona9
Monday, March 28th, 2005, 02:22 PM
I have spend many vacations in Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

My observations are that on average the Irish are the darkest haired. They are darkerhaired than the Scottish, English and Welsh.

Rhydderch
Tuesday, March 29th, 2005, 04:59 AM
My observations are that on average the Irish are the darkest haired. They are darkerhaired than the Scottish, English and Welsh.
Interesting. That is probably fairly accurate, although to some extent it could depend on the region, and on what one means by darkest.

Wales has the highest proportion of black headed, with ten percent. England probably has the most blonds, then probably Scotland, although the percentage with black hair is perhaps a little higher in England.

It may be that Ireland has the highest proportion of dark brown headed; at any rate, there are smaller regions in Ireland which have a higher "index of nigrescence" than any part of Britain.

The index of nigrescence is determined by subtracting the light browns and blonds from the dark browns and twice the black; medium brown is left out of the equation.