2007 Bob Parrish

About 1,000 years before Christ a collection of people emerged in central
Europe who were known as the Celts.  The word Celt comes from the Greek
word, Keltoi, which means barbarians and is properly pronounced as "Kelt"
(despite what the Bostonians call their basketball team).  They appear to have
been descendants of a variety of European Bronze Age folk mingled with
wanderers from central Asia.  The Celts knew how to breed and manage
horses, skills learned from their Asiatic forebears and they understood iron
technology and were to develop it extensively.

The earliest Celtic settlement thus far discovered by archaeologists is a site at
Hallstatt in Austria.  As they spread to other parts of Europe they exhibited one
major Celtic trait:  inter-tribal fighting--a trait that would ultimately prove to be
disastrous in later wars with the Romans and then the Anglo-Saxons.  No one
knows when the Celts first began settling in the British Isles, but they were
documented there as far back as 333 B.C.  Celtic migration occurred over more
than a century by two distinct groups of peoples:  the Goidels and the Brythons.

Goidels (Gaels)

Goidel (or Gaidhel) is written and pronounced in English as "Gael."  The
Goidels/Gaels were probably the first Celts to come to the British Isles.  They had
probably been there for centuries when the Brythons came and drove them
back to the west and north.  The Goidels/Gaels had done the same to another
people, for when they landed they found a small, dark-haired race inhabiting all
the British Isles.  They were the pre-Aryan population of Europe and were
possibly related to the ancestors of the Basques in northwest Spain.  These
non-Celtic natives were known as Iverians.  After them Ireland was called
Ivernia, which was distorted by the Romans into "Hibernia."  The Ivernians of
Ireland were never completely eliminated, but gradually adopted the manners
and speech of the Goidelic/Gaelic Celts.

The Goidels/Gaels spoke the "Q-Celtic" form of the Celtic language, which is
the mother of Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and Manx languages.

Brythons (Britons)

The Brythons (or "Britons" and pronounced "Brithons") were Gauls from what is
now France.  It is for them the island of Britain is named.  They spoke the "P-Celtic"
form of the Celitc language, which is the mother of the Welsh, Cornish, and Breton

In northern Britain the Strathclyde Britons occupied the southwestern part of
Scotland and the northwest of England known as Cumbria.  Their center was
Dumbarton, or Alcluyd as it was then called, which means "fortress of the

The rule of the Britons of Strathclyde was at its height in the 7th century A.D.
When the kingdom of Alba was created under Kenneth MacAlpin, Strathclyde
survived as a client kingdom until the battle of Carham in 1018.  There the
last king of Strathclyde, Owain the Bald, was killed.


2008 NTDWA