The Celts in Europe from 800 BCE


Map Code: Ax01465

The Celts, named Keltoi (barbarians) by the Greeks, were a cultural group that occupied much of Europe north of the Alps. The proto-Celtic Urnfield Culture was located in central Europe until the 8th century BCE, when the first recognizably Celtic Hallstatt culture began to disseminate from a heartland in southern Germany. Hallstatt, a lakeside village in present-day Austria, features a massive necropolis, common to the Celts; the distinctive swirling artistry and intricate metalwork would reach its apogee in the successor La Tène culture from around 500 BCE. During this phase, the Celts dispersed widely, quickly colonizing both France and the British Isles, and establishing zones of settlement in Spain. The warlike Celtic tribes practised a form of recreational conflict with each other, honing their battle skills for the conquest of others. They repeatedly invaded Italy, initiating the decline of Etruria in central Italy and sacking Rome (390 BCE). In the east they briefly conquered Thrace, establishing the kingdom of Tylis (279–12 BCE). Initially invited in as mercenaries, they invaded and settled Galatia in Asia Minor.

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