Who Were the Celts? How Did They Save Britain?

I like to think of my ancestry as Celtic as opposed to Roman and Anglo-Saxon. The Celts, it seemed, were not particularly interested in dominating others, not interested in building empires, but were very soulful — musicians, poets, religious leaders, faeries, story-tellers. The Celts of the British Isles — the Scottish, the Irish, the Welsh — had to defend themselves against encroaching empire — struggled to maintain their own identity — but have so far survived.

Where did Celts come from? Who were the Druids?

Survive the Jive: “The origins of the Celtic culture lie in the Unetice culture of Bronze age central Europe and it spread out with the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures. In this history documentary, I look at the genetic evidence for the spread of Celts into Britain and Ireland in the Iron Age, as well as the Galatian Celts into Anatolia. Then I examine some Celtic archaeological artefacts such as the Gundestrup cauldron and the Marlborough bucket and I introduce the viewer to some of the basic aspects of Druidry and the Indo-European religion of the ancient Celts.”

 

Hazel Allen: “Dan Snow blows the lid on the traditional, Anglo-centric view of history and reveals how the Irish saved Britain from cultural oblivion during the Dark Ages, in this provocative, two-part documentary. Travelling back in time to some of the remotest corners of the British Isles, Dan unravels the mystery of the lost years of 400-800 AD, when the collapse of the Roman Empire left Britain in tatters. In the first episode, Dan shows how in the 5th century AD Roman ‘Britannia’ was plunged into chaos by the arrival of Anglo-Saxon invaders. As Roman civilisation disappeared from Britain, a new civilisation emerged in one of the most unlikely places – Ireland. Within a few generations, Christianity transformed a backward, barbarian country into the cultural powerhouse of early medieval Europe. This is a visually and intellectually stimulating journey through one of the least known chapters of British history.

Snow “follows in the footsteps of Ireland’s earliest missionaries as they venture through treacherous barbarian territory to bring literacy and technology to the future nations of Scotland and England.”

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