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Celts

(1,028 words)

Author(s): Kurre, Silvia
Concept 1. Today's denotation of the concept Celtic (from ‘Celts’; Gk., Keltoi, Galatai; Lat., Celtae, Galli), from the soccer team to harp music, can be seen as the product of a lengthy, repeatedly interrupted history of its reception. Generally, the concept designates at least three distinct stocks of content: (a) certain ethnic groupings, (b) an Indo-European language group (Irish, Gaelic, Welsh, and Breton are still actively spoken today), and (c) an archaeological complex in western Middle Europe, distinguished by its synonymous style of art. Antiquity 2. The name Keltoi first…

Druids

(549 words)

Author(s): Kurre, Silvia
Etymologies Greek and Roman authors who wrote about Gaul or Britain between the second century BCE and the fourth century CE designated the religious specialists and scholars there as ‘druids.’ Two etymologies are adduced: (a) In the Celtic dru-vides, ‘much knowing’ or ‘farseeing,’ could be the correct one (the Old Irish drúitheach means ‘impressive,’ ‘piercing,’ ‘influential’); (b) the other conjectural derivation, ‘oak expert,’ goes back to Pliny the Elder, who also describes the importance of mistletoe, which grows on oaks, in druid worship. …