1

I apologize for this ridiculous question. I have little knowledge of European history. The following is a passage from Charles Dickens' A Child's History of England:

"But the Phoenicians, sailing over to the opposite coasts of France and Belgium, and saying to the people there, ‘We have been to those white cliffs across the water, which you can see in fine weather, and from that country, which is called Britain, we bring this tin and lead,’ tempted some of the French and Belgians to come over also. These people settled themselves on the south coast of England, which is now called Kent; and, although they were a rough people too, they taught the savage Britons some useful arts, and improved that part of the Islands. It is probable that other people came over from Spain to Ireland, and settled there. Thus, by little and little, strangers became mixed with the Islanders, and the savage Britons grew into a wild, bold people; almost savage, still, especially in the interior of the country away from the sea where the foreign settlers seldom went; but hardy, brave, and strong."

Are the strange people mentioned here Celts? The book goes on to describe the people of Britain after the migrations mentioned above and how they loved horses. Aren't horses associated with the Celts?

The book makes no mention of the Celts by name.

1
1

The Celts are a cultural group united by a common family of languages and traditions that officially originated somewhere near modern day Austria in about 500BCE, but can be traced back much further into the Hallstatt & Urnfield cultures. For this answer to make much since, you need to begin with the understanding that Celtic is a VERY broad term. A modern equivalent might be like saying "Westernised" to describe all of the peoples, natations, languages, and cultures that descended from Western Roman civilization.

In general, the Celts did not write down their own histories; so, most of what we know about them comes from the histories of Rome and their interactions with them. The terms most people use today to talk about the Celts are mostly based on what would eventually become the Roman names for the territories where they lived, and not so much the names of the individual kingdoms. So, the term Gauls refers to the Celts who lived in the Roman region called Gaul (modern day France), the Iberians (Spain), the Britons (Great Britain), the Hibernians (Ireland), etc. These names each represent a collection of kingdoms or tribes that would have each had their own slightly unique cultural identities that are mostly lost to time, but could all be called Celts. So, on this level, you would not say the Celts were introduced to the Britons since the Britons were also Celts.

Based on language reconstruction, genetic evidence, and archaeology it appears that the introduction of Celtic languages and culture were the result of a slow dispersion of intermingling populations over the course of many centuries that began with the proto-celtic civilizations long before the Phoenicians even reached Northern Europe. So the Celtic, Hallstatt, Urnfield, and their predecessor cultural groups always has some degree of connection between mainland Europe and Britain and did not need the Phoenicians to introduce one group to the other.

So to answer your question, it can be a bit hard to say what groups exactly Charles Dickens was referring to without more context, but based on how much History was actually understood before the advent of modern archaeology, he probably meant the Gauls.

Wikipedia:Celts

Wikipedia:Celtic_Britons

Wikipedia:Hallstatt_Culture

Wikpedia:Urnfeld_culture

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.