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Who lived in Britain before the Romans arrived?

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Presentation on theme: "Who lived in Britain before the Romans arrived?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Who lived in Britain before the Romans arrived?

2 Answer: The Celts How do you pronounce “Celts?”
Accepted ways include using a “soft” C or a “hard” C sound. Soft C = like Boston Celtics… “Selts” Hard C = like “hockey player….” “kelts”

3 The Celts The Iron Age Celts were a tribe of people who lived all over Europe about two thousand years ago. At one time, you could find tribes of Celts in modern day Spain, France, northern Italy, and as far east as Russia. Around 500 BCE, the ancient Celts migrated and settled in modern day Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

4 The name 'Iron Age' comes from the discovery of a new metal called iron.

5 How do we know information about the Celts?
Archaeologists are always trying to find evidence but sometimes it gets found accidently. Some workmen came across a body. The man had been killed years ago – they still found food in his stomach! His last meal was bread.

6 Unfortunately, evidence such as clothes, pots and shoes are rarely found as they rot in the soil.
Things made out of stone and metal don't rot so they tell us information. The Celts didn't read and write. It was the Romans that told us in books how the Celts lived.

7 What did they eat? They lived on farms. They worked hard. All the people ate well. They had cheese, butter, milk, mead, honey, fish, pork, chicken, beef, lamb, vegetables, and breads and cereals made with wheat, barley, oats, and rye.

8 The Celts The Celts lived in roundhouses with thatched roofs of straw or heather (plant that grows on the hills of northern Britain). In places where there were plenty of trees the walls were made out of wattle and daub (hazel trees with clay and straw). The Celts lived across most of Europe during the Iron Age. People had lived in Britain for thousands of years before the Romans arrived.

9 In the North of Britain they used large stones and clay to make the walls.
This is a roundhouse being built. There are poles to hold up the thatched roof. The settlements are protected by a stone wall with wood.


11 The settlements Families lived together in settlements:They were called “fines.” Children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The roundhouses were built in groups. The walls protected them from wolves and wild boar. Sometimes groups of houses were built on the top of hills. These were called “hill- forts”.

12 Social Groups The Fine: The smallest group in Celtic society was the Fine. -A fine is an extended family group that included grandparents and parents and their kids, and could include aunts, uncles, cousins and their kids. The individual was not important. The fine was a unit, and was treated like one person. Everything belonged to the fine. A person could not break the law. If a member of a fine broke the law, the fine was responsible. By the same token, there was no such thing as individual glory. The fine was victorious.

13 The Clan Each clan was made up of several fines. In some cases, a fine would be so large that it was a clan in itself. You were part of a clan for life and beyond. Clans went back many generations. Each clan had a leader. You did not inherit leadership from your father. Any male could be chosen as long as he had a blood relationship to the clan. Each clan expected certain things of their leaders. Leaders had to be strong warriors. They had to be able to work out disagreements with other clans and conduct trade and raids on neighboring clans. Most importantly, they had to be rich enough to throw really good festivals.

14 Celt social types The Noble Class: The Nobles were landowners.
They were warrior leaders. The nobles had slaves occasionally, but these were people captured in war. Most of the work was done by the peasants, and that left the nobles lots of free time.

15 Noble Men When noble men were not off fighting, they were farmers.
They spent time playing fighting games, games of chance, and board games. They hunted, swam and fished. They conducted trade.

16 Noble Women and their rights
What a noble woman could and could not do was clearly spelled out, although it varied from clan to clan. A noble woman could own property. She could choose her own husband. Women could become warriors, but few chose to do so. Most ran the household, raised the children, and spent a great deal of time on their personal appearance, weaving jewelry into their braids.

17 Marriage When a woman married, she joined her husband's clan.
Yet you were always a member of your own clan. You never escaped that obligation and membership. But your husband's clan took precedence.

18 Fostering Kids: The nobles sent their kids off at quite an early age to live with another clan for training and education. Training could take years. This was one way the ancient Celts developed close ties between various clans. It was called fostering. Sometimes kids were sent away to their mother's clan, but they could be sent to any clan. Some kids became more loyal to their foster clan than they were to their blood clan. After all, they grew up there. Still, in times of war, if things went wrong, kids could be held by their foster clan for ransom. The foster clan might even threaten to kill the kids in their care unless they got their way.

19 What did they wear? The ancient Celts loved color. They used huge looms to weave richly dyed wool in colorful plaids. They made tunics to wear from some of their fabrics. Both men and women wore tunics. A man's tunic stopped at the knees. A woman's was floor length. They were both loosely gathered at the waist with a belt. Both men and women wore shawls over their tunics, wrapped loosely around their shoulders. They wore leather sandals. Women wore their thick hair in braids decorated with beads. Men wore their swords and daggers at all times, for decoration and protection. The Celts loved jewelry. Gold was hard to get. Silver was even harder to find. Jewelry made of gold or silver was highly coveted. But they made jewelry from many things, including horn, feathers, stones, bronze and beads. Both men and women were fond of wide necklaces worn like a collar around the neck. They decked themselves out with arm bands, bracelets, ankle bracelets, rings (lots of rings), and ornate belts. They fastened their cloaks with jewelry brooches and ornate pins. They loved glitter and color.

20 Celtic Art Celtic art is full of patterns and spirals and animals and color. Like their daily life, Their art was lively. They made colorful jewelry, fabulous fabrics, beautiful pottery, shapely figurines of bronze and gold, strong wheels for carts and wagons and strong weapons out of iron. Artisans were highly respected. They did not owe any military service to the nobles. Artisans did not usually have to work in the fields. If they were talented, they gained wealth and comfort. They were free to travel and sell their goods to other clans. Artists were appreciated and encouraged.

21 Celtic Cross The Celtic cross, popular for over a thousand years, was not designed by the Celts until the early middle ages.

22 Peasants Peasant Men: Along with hunting and fishing, the men did the heavy labor on the farms. They were wonderful farmers. The Celts invented a reaping machine, an invention that was copied by the ancient Romans. The reaping machine let them harvest more rapidly. With the reaper, they were far less likely to lose crops to an early frost. It also saved on labor. They stored grain in pits for the winter.

23 Peasant Women and Children
Peasant Women: The women gathered berries and other foods that could be harvested. They cooked and cleaned and sewed and looked after the children. Kids: The girls helped their mothers, the boys helped their fathers.. About age 15, both boys and girls began to think of marriage. Most would marry someone they met at a clan festival. The tallest boys might be selected to train as warriors. Some might learn an artisan skill. Most would be farmers. With their free time, kids would play war games. Also popular was a game they played similar to field hockey.

24 Celtic Religion “The Otherworld”- The Otherworld was the home of many gods and goddess. It was a place of joy, where feasts were always happening. The Otherworld was NOT a heaven. It was NOT a reward for doing something good on earth. *The Celts believed that everyone entered the Otherworld when they died. “Celtic Tombs”- They buried their dead in tombs. Their tombs were not huge things like the Egyptian pyramids. But they were the size of a large room. The walls were decorated with drawings of earth gods, sun gods, various spirits, and scenes of battle and daily life. They never placed living people or animals inside a tomb. Instead, they tucked little figures of people cooking and hunting. One tomb was found with a full size four-wheel wagon in it, and a full size bronze kettle for cooking.

25 Waterfalls and Water -Natural waterfalls, especially small ones, were believed to have healing power. To the ancient Celts, they were entrances to the Otherworld. -Gifts were left by waterfalls for the gods. Some gifts were even tossed down wells or into springs. Do you think our “wishing wells” are a result of this tradition? -If you were injured, you might place something in a stream to help you heal. If your leg was injured, you could carve a wooden leg and place it in a stream. -It did not always work, but the Celts remained great believers anyway in the power of the little spirits and gods whom they believed lived in steams and ponds and waterfalls.

26 Gods and Goddesses Every tree, every bush, every flower, everything had a little deity living in it. (hmmm…I wonder if the author of the Spiderwick Chronicles knew that…?) Some of their gods and goddesses were extremely powerful. But most were little deities. The ancient Celts did not worship their gods. They did not go to church. Instead, they left little offerings all over the place. Each fine had their own special little deities. Each clan had theirs.

27 Sacred Animals The Celts believed in omens. Birds, especially, were believed to be able to carry messages between the living world and the Otherworld. Many animals were given special powers that could only be understood by a Celtic priest - the druids. Some animals were hunted for food. Hunting wild boar was considered a great sport.

28 Remember About how many years ago did the Celts exist?
What are our chief sources for knowing about them? What are three rights a woman has in Celtic life? What is a “Roundhouse”? A “Fine”? A “Clan”? What is one main characteristic of Celtic clothing? Why were they so fascinated with water and streams? What is their view of “heaven”? What do they call it?

29 The Romans

30 The start of the Romans in Britain
The Romans came to Britain looking for riches – land, slaves and most of all iron, lead, zinc, copper, silver and gold. Julius Caesar attempted to invade Britain in 55BC and then again in 54BC. Both times the British warriors and rotten weather made him and his army go back to France. The Romans took over Celts land and built towns and roads.

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