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Thread: Classification of the Celts

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    Post Classification of the Celts

    i have read that the Celts belong to the cervenole, the celto-slavic, in other words the alpine race, due to their round heads and small frame. is this a just classification, as many roman chroniclers have described the celts as tall, blonde, and kin to the teutons. even caesar praised the physique of the celts. i know that many people tend to equate celts with gauls (french), this is a grevious error as the gauls were only partly celtic and mostly alpinic, whereas the celts of ireland and the british isles were tall and blond or red haired. in short, not all gauls are celts, and not all celts are gauls.

    does anyone have comments on this?


    I will scan the article shortly

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    Post Re: Classification of the Celts

    Nietzsche said something along those lines in The Genealogy of Morals, that the Celts were by many considered to be responsible for some of the darker complected areas of France and Germany, but Nietzsche went on to say that this was a mistake, that the celts were a fair haired, fair skinned, people.

    It has long been my belief within the Indo-European family the Celts were the last to branch off from the Germanic tribes. Which would explain for the numerous similarities in pagan rituals, customs, and gods. As well as similarities in weapons.
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    Post Re: Classification of the Celts

    Recent DNA analyzations linked the Irish/Welsh Celts as closest to basque populations..

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/2076470.stm

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    Post Re: Classification of the Celts

    Here are some posts I've made elsewhere on the issue (I've combined them so it does'nt always flow very well):

    The conclusion that Irish are unmixed descendants of Upper Palaeolithic populations is derived from the fact that DNA surveys indicate a great similarity with the Basques.

    I think it is an erroneous conclusion because the Basques are a mixture of U.P. and a number of Mediterranean types including Atlanto-med. The Irish are a similar mixture and so this is why their DNA is also similar.

    It is well known (or at least was) that there were a number of prehistoric migrations from Spain into Ireland.



    Here is a quote from the anthropologist C.S. Coon:

    "Many modern prehistorians take the stand that the Kelts were everywhere a small minority of aristocrats and conquerors, and that no special racial type accompanied their expansion in Europe. This position, however, becomes invalid when we examine the actual skeletons of Keltic speakers. There was a Keltic physical type, which the Kelts carried to their primary areas of colonization"

    He also says that this type is predominant (i.e most common element) in the population of both Ireland and Britain.

    What seems generally to have happened with ancient migrations is that the free middle and upper classes tended to migrate while the unfree or serfs (usually constituting a majority) stayed put.

    These three main classes tended to intermarry within their own group so the racial type of the latest conquerors tended to remain relatively unmixed even after hundreds of years of migration and conquest of different lands.

    This is why the Roman description of Gaulish warriors as tall, fairskinned and blue-eyed does'nt really sound like a description of modern Frenchmen as a whole (although many are of this Celtic type). The majority of Frenchmen (and British and Irish) are descended from the serfs who never actually fought the Roman army.

    So most of the Gauls who would have fought the Romans were of the standard Celtic type, rather than Alpine. Their skeletons are virtually indistinguishable from the Iron Age skeletons found in Britain and Ireland; i.e the skull is low-vaulted with a pronouncedly sloping forehead, low mesocephaly and an upper face relatively long in proportion to the lower face; a fairly shallow mandible.


    Now although DNA tests indicate a strong similarity between the Basques and Irish, I don't think this means there is no element in Ireland which cannot be found in the Basque region, it's just that the two regions share a majority of lineages in common.




    The Germanics and the Celts were related in the sense of being Indo-European, but I don't think there is any reason to believe they were particularly close in relation; in fact I think there is reason to believe that it was rather distant. Certainly the Celts closest relatives (in both a linguistic and phenotypical sense) were the Italics, and both of them seem to have shared more in common with the Indo-Iranian group than with the Germanics.

    For instance, the social structure among the Celts and Indo-Iranians was strikingly similar, with the Druids corresponding closely in function to the Brahmins of India and the Magi of Iran.
    As far as I remember, no such professional priesthood existed among the early Germanic peoples.
    There is also the fact that kings were known to the Celts, Italics and Indo-Iranians as Righ (Gaulish Rix), Rex and Raj respectively, but there does'nt seem to have been any true concept of kingship among the Germanics until they conquered and settled the Roman world; once this happened, kings were known to them as Koning, Kyning etc (whatever the spelling), which is of course, totally different to the aforementioned words.

    I have noticed Indo-Iranian depictions of what seems to have been their "ideal" physical type and interestingly (to myself anyway) it appears to be very similar to the Celtic type; they have low vaults, sloping foreheads, rather prominent noses and a small lower face (shallow mandible, for instance) relative to the upper facial length; all of these are also typical Celtic traits.

    I think that the Slavs and Germanics are more closely related to one another than Celts and Germanics.



    The Romans sometimes described the Celts as blond; however, I think Tacitus was right in that it was a reference to the custom of bleaching the hair with lime.
    Some have said that this custom indicates they regarded blondism as ideal; I think this is unlikely though, because Celtic legends frequently liken the ideal appearance to a raven eating an animal on the snow. The skin colour is likened to the snow, the colour of the cheeks or lips to the animal's blood, and the hair colour to that of the raven.
    Whilst I doubt that the Celts were predominantly raven-black haired, I think these legends indicate that there was some tendency towards it. I would guess that Celts were generally darkish brown haired.
    Last edited by Rhydderch; Friday, January 28th, 2005 at 05:19 AM.

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    Post Re: Classification of the Celts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhydderch


    What seems generally to have happened with ancient migrations is that the free middle and upper classes tended to migrate while the unfree or serfs (usually constituting a majority) stayed put.

    These three main classes tended to intermarry within their own group so the racial type of the latest conquerors tended to remain relatively unmixed even after hundreds of years of migration and conquest of different lands.

    This is why the Roman description of Gaulish warriors as tall, fairskinned and blue-eyed does'nt really sound like a description of modern Frenchmen as a whole (although many are of this Celtic type). The majority of Frenchmen (and British and Irish) are descended from the serfs who never actually fought the Roman army.

    So most of the Gauls who would have fought the Romans were of the standard Celtic type, rather than Alpine. Their skeletons are virtually indistinguishable from the Iron Age skeletons found in Britain and Ireland; i.e the skull is low-vaulted with a pronouncedly sloping forehead, low mesocephaly and an upper face relatively long in proportion to the lower face; a fairly shallow mandible.


    The Germanics and the Celts were related in the sense of being Indo-European, but I don't think there is any reason to believe they were particularly close in relation; in fact I think there is reason to believe that it was rather distant. Certainly the Celts closest relatives (in both a linguistic and phenotypical sense) were the Italics, and both of them seem to have shared more in common with the Indo-Iranian group than with the Germanics.


    There is also the fact that kings were known to the Celts, Italics and Indo-Iranians as Righ (Gaulish Rix), Rex and Raj respectively, but there does'nt seem to have been any true concept of kingship among the Germanics until they conquered and settled the Roman world; once this happened, kings were known to them as Koning, Kyning etc (whatever the spelling), which is of course, totally different to the aforementioned words.

    I think that the Slavs and Germanics are more closely related to one another than Celts and Germanics.



    The Romans sometimes described the Celts as blond; however, I think Tacitus was right in that it was a reference to the custom of bleaching the hair with lime.
    Some have said that this custom indicates they regarded blondism as ideal; I think this is unlikely though, because Celtic legends frequently liken the ideal appearance to a raven eating an animal on the snow. The skin colour is likened to the snow, the colour of the cheeks or lips to the animal's blood, and the hair colour to that of the raven.
    Whilst I doubt that the Celts were predominantly raven-black haired, I think these legends indicate that there was some tendency towards it. I would guess that Celts were generally darkish brown haired.
    Although I realize your position, and understand the facts behind it, I still can't help but disagree. Even though the popular belief is that the Celts, and Italics are more closely related, and Germanics and Slavs are more closely related.


    Why I Believe as I do:

    There have been many, many accounts of fair skinned, light haired, pale eyed Celts. Although your explanation of a moving aristocratic elite would help to explain the descriptions of Celts, as you stated, prior to the fall of Rome the Germanics didn't really have Kings, Nobility, or an upper ruling class. The majority of Celtic tribes were under control of the Roman Empire for hundreds of years before it's collapse, which means two things. One the Germanic ruling elite you proposed would have need to be in control before Rome, but the Germanic tribes had no real aristocracy at that time, and they wouldn't for hundreds of years. And two, as Rome ruled the majority of Celtic tribes their accounts of Celts would have been first hand, and the majority of Celts would have been serfs under Rome's aristocracy.

    The descendants of Celts today not conquered and influenced by the Italic Roman Empire, are fair skinned, light haired and, pale eyed Celts. Looking at Celtic lands not conquered by the Roman Empire, namely Ireland, and Scotland we see a fair skinned, light haired, pale eyed people similar to what the Romans described the Celtic inhabits of Gaul as.

    Genetic similarities placing Germanics and Slavs as closely related can be attributed mostly to genetic drift do to close proximity of some of the ancient Germanic and Slavic tribes, and to Germanic invasions of Slavic lands. Such a mixture can be seen very heavily in sections on the east German and West Polish border. However comparing the Northern Germanic tribes for instance to the less Germanicly influenced Slavs, shows a striking difference. Language similarities can also be attributed to word exchange do to proximity, and Germanic invasions into Slavic lands.
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    Post Re: Classification of the Celts

    [QUOTE=Rhydderch]

    I have noticed Indo-Iranian depictions of what seems to have been their "ideal" physical type and interestingly (to myself anyway) it appears to be very similar to the Celtic type; they have low vaults, sloping foreheads, rather prominent noses and a small lower face (shallow mandible, for instance) relative to the upper facial length; all of these are also typical Celtic traits.

    I think that the Slavs and Germanics are more closely related to one another than Celts and Germanics.

    Your idea that Celts have shallow mandibles is totally wrong. I don't think you'll find a larger jawed people than the Irish anywhere in the world. A sloping forehead is more prominent Eastern Europeans than the Irish. I have keenly observed prominent sloping foreheads on Eastern European peoples that I have encountered.

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    Post Re: Classification of the Celts

    [QUOTE=Ferg]
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhydderch
    Your idea that Celts have shallow mandibles is totally wrong. I don't think you'll find a larger jawed people than the Irish anywhere in the world. A sloping forehead is more prominent Eastern Europeans than the Irish. I have keenly observed prominent sloping foreheads on Eastern European peoples that I have encountered.
    The large jaw is from the UP (Irish Brunn or whatever term you prefer) element, which is strongest in western Ireland, but also an element in the east.

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    Post Re: Classification of the Celts

    There is no question that certain classes and/or tribes of Celts were more blond than others, but by mquote=Berkanoval times very few Celts belonged to the Hallstatt Nordic Type, which was the type that earlier Celts belonged to. The Celts who settled Britain and Ireland were of the Keltic Nordic Type, which was predominantly Hallstatt mixed with Bell-Beaker and Alpine elements, as well as perhaps a small amount of Meditteranean. After arriving in Britain, these Celts in various areas mixed with the pre-Keltic populations, which included various types of Meditteraneans and both blond and brunette UPs.
    The Italics, upon their arrival in Italy from the north, were probably mainly of Keltic Nordic and Noric/Subnordic types. The situation that existed in central Europe after the Celts settled there in the Iron Age was that the Celts themselves settled heaviest in the larger river valleys where the Bell-Beakers and Alpines lived, but in lesser numbers than in the more remote mountain districts, where the Celts settled in lesser numbers. These mountain districts eventually were ruled by the Celts as well, and the original inhabitants (Rhaetians, Ligurians, and others) abandoned their languages and adopted the Celtic tongues. So today the Hallstatt, Bell-Beaker and Alpine elements each exist all over central Europe, but the proportions of each vary from region to region, and the pattern is generally the lower the elevation the stronger the Hallstatt is, the higher the elevation the stronger the Bell-Beaker or Dinaric is. The later Germans seemed to follow the same pattern as the Celts, settling more thickly in the valleys.

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    Post Re: Classification of the Celts

    [QUOTE=Ferg]
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhydderch
    I think that the Slavs and Germanics are more closely related to one another than Celts and Germanics.
    There are some similarities that exist between Celtic and Germanic languages that do not exist between Germanic and Slavic, but Germanic and Slavic also share some similarities not found between Celtic and Germanic.
    Besides probably springing from a common ancestral group, the various IE-speaking groups interacted, ruled over and mixed with each other after their separation. Many of the differences between the subgroups come from borrowings from non-IE-speakings groups that they mixed with, both prior to and after settling in their eventual homes that they occupy now.

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    Post Re: Classification of the Celts

    I'd like to participate in this discussion, but, there is so many completely
    ignorant statements made here, I wouldn't know where to begin.

    Honestly, I'd advise you guys to FIRST grab and read something about these issues,
    and THEN discuss.

    I know you like wishful thinking and using only the informations you like,
    but, please, there has to be some measure.

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