About 1,000 years before Christ a collection of people emerged in
Europe who were known as the Celts. The word Celt comes from
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
in later wars with the Romans and then the Anglo-Saxons. No one
when the Celts first began settling in the British Isles, but they
documented there as far back as 333 B.C. Celtic migration occurred
than a century by two distinct groups of peoples: the
Goidels and the Brythons.
Gaidhel) is written and pronounced in English as "Gael."
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
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.
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
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.