Celtici

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Iberian Peninsula at about 200 BC [2]

The Celtici (in Portuguese, Spanish, and Galician languages, Célticos) were a Celtic tribe or group of tribes of the Iberian peninsula, inhabiting three definite areas: in what today are the regions of Alentejo and the Algarve in Portugal; in the Province of Badajoz and north of Province of Huelva in Spain, in the ancient Baeturia; and along the coastal areas of Galicia. Classical authors give various accounts of the Celtici's relationships with the Gallaeci, Celtiberians and Turdetani.

Classical sources[edit]

Map of the main pre-Roman tribes in Portugal and their migrations. Turduli movement in red, Celtici in brown and Lusitanian in blue.

Several classical sources, Greek and Roman, mentioned the Celtici.

Strabo (3, 1, 6) echoed Poseidonius when he mentioned the Keltikoi as the main inhabitants of the region located between the rivers Tagus and Guadiana, approximately where the Alentejo (Portugal) stands today. [1]

The Celtici were not considered a barbarian people. On the contrary, they were what the Greeks considered a civilized people, almost in the same degree as the Turdetani.

They shared the same "gentle and civilized" character of the Turdetani. Strabo put this down to the fact that they were neighbouring populations, and Polybius proposed that they were related, "although the Celtici are less [civilized] because they generally live in hamlets (Str., 3, 2, 15)." [1]

Their main cities were Lacobriga (probably Lagos in the Algarve), Caepiana (in Alentejo), Braetolaeum, Miróbriga (near Santiago do Cacém), Arcobriga, Meribriga, Catraleucus, Turres, Albae and Arandis (near Castro Verde and Ourique). Other important cities were Nertobriga, Turobriga, Segida, Ebora, Caetobriga and Eburobrittium (Óbidos), among other settlements.

They appear to be the main group responsible for the "celticization" of the Conii, in the Algarve.[citation needed]

Their most famous city was Conistorgis (Str., 3, 2, 2), which, according to different sources, belonged to the Cunetes or Conii (App., Iber. 56-60). Similarly, Strabo (3, 2, 15) indicated that the Celtici established colonies, such as Pax Julia (Beja).[1]

The origin of the Baeturian Celts was, according to Pliny, from the Celtici of Lusitania and were also kin to the Gallaeci:

Celticos a Celtiberis ex Lusitania advenisse manifestum est sacris, lingua, oppidorum vocabulis, quae cognominibus in Baetica distinguntur.[2]
The Celtici from Guadiana had blood links with the Galician Celts, since there had been large-scale migration to the northwest of these Celts along with the Turduli (Str., 3, 3, 5).[1]
...[Pliny considers the Celtici who extend into Baetica] to have migrated from Lusitania which he appears to regard as the original seat of the whole Celtic population of the Iberian peninsula including the Celtiberians, on the ground of an identity of sacred rites, language, and names of cities.[3]

These migratory patterns have persisted on the same axis until modern times,supporting a centuries old traditional and seasonal farming and animal husbandry transhumance along the ancient Roman or Carthaginian Silver road that served for its rich mines production transport,and for the Astorga region peddlars and wagoneers,the Maragatos.

Pliny also noted that already in Roman times the inhabitants of Miróbriga (one of the Celtic cities of the region) used the surname of Celtici: "Mirobrigenses qui Celtici cognominantur".[4] In the sanctuary of Miróbriga a resident leaves their Celtic origin recorded:

D(IS) M(ANIBUS) S(ACRUM) / C(AIUS) PORCIUS SEVE/RUS MIROBRIGEN(SIS) / CELT(ICUS) ANN(ORUM) LX / H(IC) S(ITUS) E(ST) S(IT) T(IBI) T(ERRA) L(EVIS [5]

The Celtici of Gallaecia[edit]

In the North, in Gallaecia, another group of Celtici[6] dwelt the coastal areas. They comprised several populi, including the Celtici proper: the Praestamarci south of the Tambre river (Tamaris), the Supertamarci north of it, and the Neri by the Celtic promontory (Promunturium Celticum), whom Strabo considered related to the Celtici of Lusitania, settled in Gallaecia after a military campaign held jointly with the Turduli. Pomponius Mela affirmed that all the inhabitants of the coastal regions, from the bays of southern Gallaecia and up to the Astures, were also Celtici: "All (this coast) is inhabited by the Celtici, except from the Douro river to the bays, where the Grovi dwelt (…) In the north coast first there are the Artabri, still of the Celtic people (Celticae gentis), and after them the Astures."[7] He also mentioned the fabulous isles of tin, the Cassiterides, as situated among these Celtici.[8]

The Celtici Supertarmarci have also left a number of inscriptions,[9] as the Celtici Flavienses did.[10] Several villages and rural parishes still bear the name Céltigos (from Latin Celticos) in Galicia. This is also the name of an archpriesthood of the Catholic Church, a division of the archbishopric of Santiago de Compostela, encompassing part of the lands attributed to the Celtici Supertamarci by ancient authors.[11]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d The Celts in Iberia: An Overview
  2. ^ C. PLINII NATVRALIS HISTORIAE LIBER III
  3. ^ Sir William Smith (1854), Dictionary of Greek and Roman geography, Volume 2, Boston, Little, Brown and Company.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ http://revistas.ucm.es/index.php/GERI/article/viewFile/GERI8888220019A/14757.pdf Breve noticia sobre o santuário campestre romano de Miróbriga dos Célticos (in Portuguese)
  6. ^ Celtici: Pomponius Mela and Pliny; Κελτικοί: Strabo
  7. ^ 'Totam Celtici colunt, sed a Durio ad flexum Grovi, fluuntque per eos Avo, Celadus, Nebis, Minius et cui oblivionis cognomen est Limia. Flexus ipse Lambriacam urbem amplexus recipit fluvios Laeron et Ullam. Partem quae prominet Praesamarchi habitant, perque eos Tamaris et Sars flumina non longe orta decurrunt, Tamaris secundum Ebora portum, Sars iuxta turrem Augusti titulo memorabilem. Cetera super Tamarici Nerique incolunt in eo tractu ultimi. Hactenus enim ad occidentem versa litora pertinent. Deinde ad septentriones toto latere terra convertitur a Celtico promunturio ad Pyrenaeum usque. Perpetua eius ora, nisi ubi modici recessus ac parva promunturia sunt, ad Cantabros paene recta est. In ea primum Artabri sunt etiamnum Celticae gentis, deinde Astyres.', Pomponius Mela, Chorographia, III.7-9.
  8. ^ Pomponius Mela, Chorographia, III.40.
  9. ^ Eburia / Calveni f(ilia) / Celtica / Sup(ertamarca) |(castello?) / Lubri; Fusca Co/edi f(ilia) Celti/ca Superta(marca) / |(castello) Blaniobr/i; Apana Ambo/lli f(ilia) Celtica / Supertam(arca) / Maiobri; Clarinu/s Clari f(ilius) Celticus Su/pertama(ricus). Cf. Epigraphik-Datenbank Clauss / Slaby.
  10. ^ [Do]quirus Doci f(ilius) / [Ce]lticoflavien(sis); Cassius Vegetus / Celti Flaviensis.
  11. ^ Álvarez, Rosario, Francisco Dubert García, Xulio Sousa Fernández (ed.) (2006). Lingua e territorio. Santiago de Compostela: Consello da Cultura Galega. pp. 98–99. ISBN 84-96530-20-5. 

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