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Celts

Spreading far wide through many green lands and beyond, the Celts are a proud, fierce people who understand well the capricious hand of nature.

The Celts were a group of people who settled in the area between the Rhine and the source of the Danube rivers in the ninth century BCE. Sometimes portrayed as a confederation of tribes, Celtic societies established a dense agricultural network in their territory and from the fifth until the first century BCE were the dominant non-Mediterranean European culture.

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Keltoï and Celtae are two terms used in Greek and Latin texts to describe a collection of Celtic groups living between the Pyrenees and the Balkans. These populations, which spoke in dialects descended from a single linguistic origin, are defined by contemporary historians as having common cultural traits, both material and immaterial. This patchwork of different peoples thus worshiped the same gods, practiced the same funeral rites, decorated their belongings with the same ornamental motifs, and had a similar social structure. From the sixth to the fourth century BCE, Celtic civilization expanded eastward along the Danube, all the way to Macedonia, and westward, all the way to the British Isles. In these territories, towns were established next to major routes and became part of the larger Mediterranean trading networks. Ruled by an elite warrior class, these oppida made their money by controlling the surrounding farmland and mining for ore, which they used to make very sophisticated forged products. The Celtic world was mainly rural. Dotted with isolated farms dedicated to agriculture or animal husbandry, it had few villages and market towns. These rural areas soon had efficient forged tools that made it possible to increase agricultural yields and feed a large population.

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There are hardly any written traces of the Celtic language. Their druids could write and had mastered some of the Greek and Etruscan alphabets, but they forbade writing for the society as a whole. This gave the druids complete control over knowledge and education.