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Celtic Religion in Pre-Christian Times   By: (1866-1914)

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CELTIC RELIGION IN PRE CHRISTIAN TIMES

By EDWARD ANWYL, M.A.

LATE CLASSICAL SCHOLAR OF ORIEL COLLEGE, OXFORD PROFESSOR OF WELSH AND COMPARATIVE PHILOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF WALES, ABERYSTWYTH ACTING CHAIRMAN OF THE CENTRAL WELSH BOARD FOR INTERMEDIATE EDUCATION

LONDON ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & CO LTD 16 JAMES STREET HAYMARKET 1906

Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty

FOREWORD

It is only as prehistoric archaeology has come to throw more and more light on the early civilisations of Celtic lands that it has become possible to interpret Celtic religion from a thoroughly modern viewpoint. The author cordially acknowledges his indebtedness to numerous writers on this subject, but his researches into some portions of the field especially have suggested to him the possibility of giving a new presentation to certain facts and groups of facts, which the existing evidence disclosed. It is to be hoped that a new interest in the religion of the Celts may thereby be aroused.

E. ANWYL.

ABERYSTWYTH, February 15, 1906.

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTORY: THE CELTS

In dealing with the subject of 'Celtic Religion' the first duty of the writer is to explain the sense in which the term 'Celtic' will be used in this work. It will be used in reference to those countries and districts which, in historic times, have been at one time or other mainly of Celtic speech. It does not follow that all the races which spoke a form of the Celtic tongue, a tongue of the Indo European family, were all of the same stock. Indeed, ethnological and archaeological evidence tends to establish clearly that, in Gaul and Britain, for example, man had lived for ages before the introduction of any variety of Aryan or Indo European speech, and this was probably the case throughout the whole of Western and Southern Europe. Further, in the light of comparative philology, it has now become abundantly clear that the forms of Indo European speech which we call Celtic are most closely related to those of the Italic family, of which family Latin is the best known representative. From this it follows that we are to look for the centre of dissemination of Aryan Celtic speech in some district of Europe that could have been the natural centre of dissemination also for the Italic languages. From this common centre, through conquest and the commercial intercourse which followed it, the tribes which spoke the various forms of Celtic and Italic speech spread into the districts occupied by them in historic times. The common centre of radiation for Celtic and Italic speech was probably in the districts of Noricum and Pannonia, the modern Carniola, Carinthia, etc., and the neighbouring parts of the Danube valley. The conquering Aryan speaking Celts and Italians formed a military aristocracy, and their success in extending the range of their languages was largely due to their skill in arms, combined, in all probability, with a talent for administration. This military aristocracy was of kindred type to that which carried Aryan speech into India and Persia, Armenia and Greece, not to speak of the original speakers of the Teutonic and Slavonic tongues. In view of the necessity of discovering a centre, whence the Indo European or Aryan languages in general could have radiated Eastwards, as well as Westwards, the tendency to day is to regard these tongues as having been spoken originally in some district between the Carpathians and the Steppes, in the form of kindred dialects of a common speech. Some branches of the tribes which spoke these dialects penetrated into Central Europe, doubtless along the Danube, and, from the Danube valley, extended their conquests together with their various forms of Aryan speech into Southern and Western Europe. The proportion of conquerors to conquered was not uniform in all the countries where they held sway, so that the amount of Aryan blood in their resultant population varied greatly... Continue reading book >>




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