The Celts- peter Berresford Ellis K. Markley- spring 2010

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The Celts- Peter Berresford Ellis K. Markley- Spring 2010

The questions for each chapter are your text study guide for the quizzes and exams. After you read each chapter you should be able to answer the questions from the text. Some of the questions will be fairly easy to answer. Other questions may require that you re-read the text and critically think about the answers, making your own determination (your own opinion based on the data and critical reasoning). You will need a dictionary to look up some of the terms and it will be helpful to look up some of the individuals listed and get a bit of background information. The weekly quizzes will be largely based on the questions for each chapter. If a question or term has class lecture next to it then this will be discussed in class that day (after the quiz) and you do not have to know it for the quiz.

Quizzes will be given in the first 15 minutes of class and you can bring your own handwritten notes to aid you in taking the quiz. Each student must use their own quiz notes, in their own handwriting. You may study together but the notes you use on your quizzes must be your own. If two students use the same notes for the quiz they will each earn an F. After the quiz, the class lecture will cover the material on the quiz. Quizzes are a significant part of your grade so it is essential that you come to class on time each day, prepared to take the quiz 


Terms; etymology, transalpine, objective and subjective knowledge, mythology, lingua maternal, lingua franca, insular, revisionist history, ethnocentric, culturally relative, holistic

1. What are the roots and geography of the Celts?
2. What is the material culture of the Celts?
3. What is the start of the roots of the Celts?
4. Where does the name Celt come from? What is the etymology of the word?
5. What areas did the Celts cover in their greatest expansion? What timeframe was this?
6. What kind of impression did the Celts make on the Romans and the Greeks? What were the two key events between the Celts and the Romans and the Celts and the Greeks?
7. The Celts are often described as a warlike people, besides their early conquest of the Romans and Greeks what would give this impression?
8. Review Ellis’s description of the Celts on pages xii-xiii, how does he characterize the Celts? Does his portrayal sound objective or subjective? Ethnocentric or culturally relative? What is the basis of your opinion?
9. List at least 5 attributes of the Celts as given by Ellis
10. What data do we have to know about the Celts of the past (be specific as to the sources for the claims about the Celts)? What type of data isn’t available?
11. Where do we get our knowledge of Celtic mythology (be specific as to time, and sources)?
12. What are the two groups of Celts that exist in the present time?
13. What timeframes of the Celts does this book focus on?
14. When was this book published? What is the controversy that broke out within a few months of the publication of this book? Who were the key individuals involved in the controversy and what were their disputed claims?
15. What is the title of the paper by the Megaw’s?
16. What is Simon James’s contention about the Celts? Can you think of any other way that Celtic culture could have been transmitted into Britain and Ireland?
17. Can you relate Ellis’s argument about individuals of the past calling themselves Celtic to any other group of peoples? (Hint- think of the “founding” of the America’s)
18. What can we be sure of per Ellis? What can’t we be sure of per Ellis? Is Ellis’s approach holistic?
19. What is the evidence for people speaking Celtic languages in the British Isles in the 6thcBCE?
20. Per Ellis do the Celts comprise a linguistic or biological group? What is the difference?
21 If the Celts are a linguistic group, not a biological group, can they be categorized as an ethnic group? Why or why not?
22 Who are the two archeologists who state that Simon James is engaging in “anti-Celtic revisionism”? What does this mean?
23. Along with linguistic criteria, what other data or features are used to define the Celts?
24. How can modern politics be affected by archeology?
25. Who are the modern continental Celts?
26. What is the context and knowledge needed to understand the joke “Do you speak Iron Age”?
27. As a means of classification and naming what is the difference between; Iron Age peoples, Celts, and Corieltauui? Which term do you think is more accurate?
28. What do you think Ellis means by the statement that the Celts have weathered other, similar attempts to eradicate them? By whom? Why? When?

Chapter 1- Origins of the Celts

Terms: language families, language, dialect, bowdlerize, etymology, cognate, temporal, ethnocentric, culturally relative

1. List three different sources as to the origin of the word Celt
2. What etymology for Celt is related to the Druids? What piece of clothing is related to this etymology?
3. What language family do Celtic languages originate from? How widespread are the languages from this language family?
4. What is the difference between languages and dialects? How do dialects form? (class lecture)
5. What features do Indo-European languages have in common? What criteria is used to put a language in a particular language family?
6. What is the speculation as to the Indo-European homeland (location, and data for speculation)?
7. List three similarities between Old Irish and Vedic Sanskrit.
8. What is the word for knowledge in Sanskrit and Old Irish? What segment of Irish culture does the word relate to?
9. What are the problems with trying to know the creation myths of the Celts?
10. Does Ellis see cultural traditions as rapidly changing and evolving? Or as being preserved over time? What is his data and reasoning for his opinion?
11. What category of deities does Ellis see both the Celts and the Indian Sanskrit speakers as worshipping?
12. If we accept the classical writers the ancient Celts believed that they were physically descended from the ___________ ______________ who was himself descended from _________ the divine waters. Is there any reason to doubt the accuracy of the classical writers assertion?
13. What are the three lines of evidence that show us Celtic peoples begin to appear as a distinctive culture at the headwaters of the ________________, ____________________, and _____________________ in Switzerland and ____________ ___________ ________________. Which of these three lines of evidence are objective in their knowledge of the past? Which line of evidence is the most trustworthy or valuable in giving us insight into the past?
14. With who and when does the documentary evidence begin?
15. What is a Romanised Celt?
16. What is the linguistic evidence to show the Celts homeland in Switzerland and Germany?
17. What are the two distinct Celtic archeological cultures?
18. What are the archeological features associated with the Hallstatt culture and its timeframe?
19. What are the archeological features associated with the La Tene culture and its timeframe?
20. When is it the Celts recede and what groups overtake them?
21. How do the Romans and others portray the pre-Christian Celts?
22. Who does Ellis see as the more unbiased classical sources on the Celts?
23. Do you think Julius Caesar is an ethnocentric or culturally relative source on the Celts? What is your reasoning?
24. What is the problem with how the Celts have been portrayed per Ellis?

Chapter Two- An Illiterate Society?

Terms; genealogy, holistic

1. At the beginning of the chapter there is a quote stating that little definite is known about the Celts because they left no written records. What data is available to gain insight into the Celts?
2. Were the Celts illiterate or did they just not desire to put their language into a written form? What does Caesar say as to why the Celts didn’t write down their philosophies and rituals?
3. What are the various languages that the Celts were literate in and wrote in? How many pieces of textual evidence is there of Celtic writings?
4. Was it likely the Celts had one homogenous language? Why or why not?
5. What is one of the most fascinating texts found and why is it so fascinating?
6. What are the lines of evidence for Celtic literacy?
7. Per Ellis what is the context we should take into account when considering the evidence for

Celtic literacy? Is Ellis holistic in his analysis?

8. Ellis talks of a Celtic school of writers; when did they emerge? Where did they come from? What language did they use a lingua franca?
9. When was the bulk of Celtic learning, story telling and history taken from oral to written form?
10. What is Ogam, where does the name come from, and how many inscriptions of Ogam have been found (in relationship to the classical references to Ogam)?
11. What does the Leabhar Buidhe Lecain, compiled in 1400CE tell us about what may have happened to Ogam writings?
12. What does the flowering of Irish literature demonstrate?
13. What is the start of the English conquest in Ireland? The start of the destruction of Irish language and libraries?
14. What is the context that Ellis wants us to know in regards to the survival of Irish writings?
15. What do we know about early Welsh literature?
16. What survives in Irish and Welsh literature that reveals much about their early social systems? How do these documents give insight into early Celtic society?
17. What are the Fenechus or Brehon Laws? When are they thought to have originated? When were they first put to writing?
18. What other codified laws does Ellis compare the Brehon Laws to?
19. What other literary treasures does Irish literature hold that is supported by archeological finds?
20. What is the Coligny Calender?
21. How far back do the Irish Kings genealogies go?
22. To what does the following statement refer to and what can we infer from its sentiments? “Can that nation be deemed barbarous in which learning shared the next honours to royalty?”

Chapter 3- Celtic Kings and Chieftains

Terms; caste system, class system, cognate, autocratic kingship, primogeniture, tanist, matrilineal descent, patrilineal descent, ritual

1. Ellis states that with the first identifiable Celtic culture the Celts were ruled by kings who were immensely rich. What was this culture? What type of data is used to identify this culture? How do we know the kings were so wealthy?
2. What are the divisions of the caste system of the Celts? Is this division of society common or uncommon? Do we have any societies today that are divided in this way?
3. What is the word for king in Celtic languages? What is the history of the meaning of this word? What is the difference between a king and a god?
4. What is the meaning of the ritual where the king mates with the goddess of sovereignty?
5. What is the bull festival of the Celts (ritual, meaning, symbolism)? What evidence do we have for the significance of bulls to the Celts?
6. What is the ritual of the Irish Kings and horses (meaning, symbol, ritual)?
7. How did Celtic kings gain their position (inherited, elected, etc.)? What could have lead to Caesars confusion as to how the Celts kings came to their position?
8. What evidence is there for women as queens/rulers among the Celts? What bias would the Romans have in regards to women as rulers?
9. What can we deduce from the changes in the Hallstatt period (the four phases) and into the La Tene period in relationship to the role of kings/chieftons?
10. What can we deduce from the Vix burial (gender roles, material culture, trade, etc.)?
11. What can we deduce from the Hochdorf burial (gender roles, material culture, trade, etc.)?
12. What does it mean “to go west”?
13. Why do we not have any royal graves in Britain? What other geographic area has a lack of rich princely graves?
14. When do we start to have names for Celtic kings?
15. Who is Vercingetorix, what did he do and what happened to him?
16. Who is Boudicca, what did she do and what happened to her?
17. How did the conquerors disguise the longevity of the Celtic kingdoms in the north-west?
18. Who is the last king of Cornwall and when does he lose his crown?
19. When was Wales annexed to England?
20. When did the kings of Ireland have to surrender their titles?
21. What is significant about the genealogies of Irish aristocracy, and what are the different opinions about these genealogies?

Chapter 4- The Druids

Terms: Romanphiles, propitiate, ethos, Renaissance, context, noble savage, ignoble savage

1. What is the Druid industry Ellis refers to (guess)? In what form does it exist today?
2. What professional occupations comprise the caste that the Druids occupied? Where do they

fall in relationship to the other castes (top, bottom, etc.)?

3. Who are the first to record the name of the Druids? What timeframe are they first written about and what is the meaning of the word druid?
4. In what areas do the classical writers talk of Druids and what areas are not mentioned? What can be said about their limited references to the Druids?
5. What does gutuatri mean? Do we have an equivalent role in our society?
6. Which classical writers speak of the Druids and what are the differences in how they speak of the Druids and Celts?
7. The written works of Poseidonious and Timagenes have been lost in time. What significance do their writings still have on our understandings of the Druids?
8. How are the Druids described? What are the key features of their role in society, beliefs, rituals, and symbols that are known today?
9. How does Pliny describe the Druids? What is Nora Chadwicks view of this description of the Druids? What is the truth?
10. What is fascinating about Tacitus’s writings of the Gauls attempts to stir up insurrection in 69CE? What does it reveal about oral tradition?
11. What was the context within which Roman writers wrote of the Druids? What law was enacted in 54CE?
12. Historically Europeans have characterized other peoples they have encountered as either noble savages or ignoble savages (often the same people will be portrayed in either light at different places in time). What are the features associated with each characterization (class lecture)? To which camp does Professor Stuart Piggott suggest the Alexandrian school falls? What is Piggott’s opinion as to reliable data available on the Druids?
13. Would Professor Stuart Piggott likely accept Dion Chrysostom’s writings on the Druids? Why or why not? What does Chrysostom say about the Druids?
14. According to Diogenes Laertius what is the triad basis of their Druidic belief?
15. When were Druidic believes and practices finally put in writing? Did this finally put to rest the biased perspectives of the pro-Roman writers?
16. Was it a natural progression for Druids to adopt the new teachings of Christianity (your opinion based on data)? What is meant by the Celtic Church?
17. What was Pelagius accused of doing? What timeframe did he exist? To what degree have his teachings affected the Celtic Church?
18. What is Ellis’s opinion of modern day Druidic movements?

Chapter 5 Celtic Warriors

Terms: paradigm, pax Romana, postmodernism (class lecture), cultural materialism (class lecture)

1. Paradigms influence human observations and interpretations. What paradigms and context do you think influenced Roman writers portrayal of the Celts?
2. What would a postmodernist say in response to Ellis’s question “Is it (the Romans portrayal of the Celts) a just view?” (class lecture)
3. Why did the Senones march on Rome and occupy it? What code of behavior did the Romans break? Do you think this code of behavior was an international law between nations or an understanding within a group of nations?”

4. What did the Celts require to leave Rome? When did they arrive and how long did they stay?

5. What aspects of Celtic culture can we associate with warfare (think of the three levels of the cultural materialist model)? (class lecture)
6. In what way is archeology an antidote to the prejudices of Roman writers?
7. Is it better to have a bronze helmet or an iron helmet for protection? Is it better to have a decorated helmet or a plain helmet? What iconography do we find on helmets?
8. How was the Celtic shield used?
9. What other forms of protection did the Celts have? What weapons did they have and how were they used?
10. What was the Celts “secret weapon” and how was it used?
11. What was the Battle of Telamon (225BCE) and what was its significance? (class lecture)
12. Pausanias’s description of the Celtic cavalry is disputed by Ellis in what respect? What is your opinion?
13. What is needed to use the horse effectively in warfare?
14. Did the Celts go naked into battle as is sometimes claimed? What did they wear into battle?
15. What lines of evidence could be used to discuss the question as to whether or not the insular

Celts were egalitarian farmers without a warrior class or a stratified society with a warrior class?

16. What battle tactic using shields did the Romans learn from the Celts?
17. What is the discussion as to how the Celts were defeated by pax Romana? What is Dr. Simon James’s explanation? What are the different cultural values that have influenced the way in which the Romans and Celt fought?
18. Historically was a request for help from outsiders (Romans, English, etc.) by a disgruntled Celtic leader a common means by which outsiders came to Celtic lands?
19. What excuse did Caesar use to invade Britain? Did the Celts practice primogeniture?
20. In what situations could a single combat determine a conflict?
21. Were women warriors?
22. As far as the organization of troops, what was the relationship between the troops and commanders among the Romans? Among the Celts?
23. What was the age of choice for the Celts?
24. Respond to the statement: The Celts clearly loved going to war and that is why they went into battle screaming, yelling and singing.

Chapter 6 Celtic Women

Terms: derbfhine, polygamous, patriarchal

1. What do we know of the princess of Vix? What is the significance of this burial? (class lecture)
1. Using current American mainstream values as a guide, whose society was more primitive in regards to the rights of women, the Romans or the Celts?
2. What data can we use to discern the roles and lives of Celtic women?
3. Who was Queen Teuta (timeframe, geographic area, what did she do)?
4. Who was Chiomara (timeframe, geographic area, what did she do)?
5. Who was Queen Cartimandua (timeframe, geographic area, what did she do)?
6. Queen Boudicca and her story is one of the most well known of the early Celts. Who was she and what did she do (timeframe, tribe, geographic area)?
7. In your opinion were the Celts or the Romans barbarian in their actions? Can you come up with a culturally relative definition for barbarian?
8. Do you think the women discussed above were exceptions or did they take on common roles for women in their time? What data could you use to make your decision?
9. Were there female Druids?
10. What is meant by the statement that the individuals discussed in Irish history are “mythological”?
11. Who was Medb of Connacht and what is her story in the Tain Bo Cuailgne (hint- look in the index)? (make sure to address timeframe, geographic area, etc.)
12. What do the laws of our society reveal about the status of women
13. What were the laws of early Ireland and what do they reveal about the status of women in their society?
14. Rome was a strongly patriarchal society. Why would the empress Julia Augusta be upset by the rights Celtic women? Wouldn’t she be approving of a fellow female having rights?
15. Can you speculate as to nine different types of marriage? How many types of marriage do we have in the USA today?
16. For what reasons was divorce permissible?
17, What is the difference between an irrational act and cold blooded vengeance?
18. Who was Gráinne Ní Mháille (Grace O’Malley-class lecture)?

Chapter 7 Celtic Farmers

Terms: subsistence, agriculture, plough

1. Humans have historically engaged in five major types of subsistence (the way in which food is procured). What type of subsistence did the early Celts engage in? (class lecture)
2. How did Caesar describe lives of British Celts?
3. Ellis states that the plough is the basis of agriculture. Where do we find the first representation

of this plough? What is so special about the Celtic plough?

4. Among the British Celts what technology and practices marked a major change in intensive farming?
5. What is the significance of the wheel and iron in farming?
6. What crops did the Celts grow?
7. What is the story in the Dindshenchas about King Cormac and water mills?
8. How did the Celts store and preserve their food without electricity?
9. What is pastoral farming? What do we know about the Celts and the animals they farmed?

How do we get this data?

10. What was the role of cattle in Celtic culture (address subsistence, myth, symbol, ritual)?
11. What was the role of pigs in Celtic culture (address subsistence, myth, symbol, ritual)?
12. What do the Brehon Laws state about the responsibility of farmers to their community?

Chapter 8 Celtic Physicians

Terms: trephination, votive offering, botany

1. What does Grave 7 at Obermenzing reveal about Celtic medical practices?
2. What evidence can we use to discern early Celtic medical practices?
3. Why was trephination done by the Celts? Why is trephination done today (class lecture)?
4. What was the role of water in healing (physically, mentally, spiritually)? What data can we use to answer this question?
5. What were the Springs of Sequana and what votive offerings were found there?
6. How was the sweating house, such as was found at Inishmurray in Donegal Bay, used?
7. What was Belenus a diety for?
8. Who is the god of medicine in Irish mythology? What stories are associated with this god?
9. What were Druidic physicians skilled in?
10. What is the significance of mistletoe to the Druids?
11. What was the typical view of illness, causation and prescription, in pre-Christian Europe?
12. What do the Brehon Laws reveal about medicine and health care among the Celts? How similar were the Celts in this regard to other European communities?
13. What was the role of astrology in healing?

Chapter 9 Celtic Cosmology

Terms: astronomy, astrology, cosmology, epistemology, Age of Reason

1. Caesar lists some of the activities of the Druids. Compare his list to the different fields of study and work in our society today. Are there any jobs/professions which combine all of the roles of the Druids in today’s society?
2. What is the difference between astrology and astronomy? Are they compatible?
3. What is the Coligny Calendar (what type of calendar, when developed, what does it reveal)? What are the differences between the Coligny Calendar and Julian Calendar? Differences to our calendar?
4. When do we find a great deal of written evidence from the insular Celts?
5. What is the earliest evidence of zodiac signs in Britain?
6. Aibhistin, an Irish astronomer (655CE) was the first Christian writer to proclaim that the Three Wise Men were _______________? What do you think?
7. What did Dr. Dan MacCarthy of Trinity College in Dublin find when he collated the observations of astronomical phenomena between 442CE to 1133CE? How did he resolve the conflict between the Irish and Italian records of a supernova in the Crab Nebula?
8. How did the knowledge of Irish astronomers and astrologers change in the 11thcCE?
9. Why is the identification of parallels between Celtic cosmology and the cosmology of the Veda’s important? What ultimately can it help us understand?
10. How did the Celts view the heavens and relate to them?

Chapter 10 Celtic Road Builders

Terms: loan word, focal vocabulary, relative dating methods, absolute dating methods, dendrochronology, radiocarbon dating, fossilization, anaerobic, (class lecture on linguistics and dating methods)

1. Prior to the archeological discoveries of the 1970’s what would a discerning student of the Celts likely think about the situation of the early Celts and roadways? What lines of evidence, along with critical thinking, could be used to look into the question of the Celts and roadways?
2. How many Celtic words does Dr. Stuart Piggott estimate were adopted into pre-empire Latin?

What is meant by pre-empire Latin? What is the significance of these early loan words?

3. How many words can you think of that we have in English for transportation and roads? Where do these words come from?
4. When did the Romans start road-building? When did the Celts arrive at the gates of Rome?
5. What is the history of the wheel?
6. What is the significance of the wheel to the Celts (address all aspects of significance, material, mythological and symbolic)?
7. What is a felly and what is the significance of the Celts giving the felly a double thickness?
8. What is the evidence for Celtic roadways? What is the timeframe for the Corlea roadway and how was the time frame determined? How big were their roadways?
9. Where have the oldest Celtic roadways been found?
10. To what degree does the archeological, historical and linguistic evidence converge to give us a picture of Celtic road-building and transport?
11. What do the Brehon Laws reveal in regards to the Celts and roadways? How do these laws compare to our laws in regards to roadways?
12. What is the history of the Celtic word for chariot in Latin?
13. What conclusions can we draw from the high preponderance of Celtic words in Latin from an early date?
14. If the Celts required sailing ships to pay a toll what does this tell us about their shipbuilding and sea travel?
15. The evidence for extensive trade between Ireland and Britain reveals what about Celtic travel on the seas?
16. What were the main exports of Britain to the Mediterranean world?
17. What are the three types of ships listed in the Brehon Laws?
18. Who was St. Brendan of Clonfert (when did he live, what did he do)? What was the significance of the explorer Tom Severin repeating St. Bredan’s journey (how did he do this, how similar was his journey to St. Brendan’s)?
19. What is the significance of communication to the different Celtic groups (and how was this communication possible)?

Chapter 11 Celtic Artists and Craftsmen

Terms: diffusion, independent invention (class lecture)

1. What is Polybius’s view of the Celts and their knowledge of arts and science? Who was Polybius (where from, timeframe, audience he wrote for, etc.)? What data can be used to evaluate his statement?
2. When did Celtic arts and crafts evolve into a distinctive form? How is the art of the Celts characterized? What speculation is there in regards to the lack of human figures?
3. When did Celtic art flourish? What was the content of their art? What type of art did they create (pictures, statues, etc.)
4. When did the Celts first start making coins? What Celts made coins and what Celts did not? What images were put on coins?
5. What are the most popular animals on Celtic coins?
6. What was the standard of value that was the basis for Celtic money?
7. What did the cross symbolize to the Celts?
8. What was the foundation of the Celts technical advancement?
9. Why were the smiths in Celtic society ranked as a part of the intellectual caste? What gods are associated with smiths?
10. Besides metalworking what other technologies did the Celts develop?
11. What does the 3rdcBCE sword found at Kirkburn in Yorkshire tell us about the Celts level of technology and artwork?
12. Is there artwork that is popular today that is identified with the Celts?
13. Were the Celts barbaric savages?

Chapter 12 Celtic Architecture

Terms; megalith, wattle huts

1. What are the two popular views of Celtic architecture? How are these views false? What data undermines this false perception of the Celts?
2. When was Newgrange built? (class lecture)
3. What timeframe do we find Scottish buildings and what is known about them?
4. What are oppida, when were they built, and what is different about them from earlier sites?
5. What type of buildings are found in Britain and Ireland?
6. What changed in the 2ndcBCE with Celtic settlements?
7. What do we know of Numantia (time frame, place, history)?
8. Why does Ellis state that the most important cities and towns of the Celtic world were; Alesia, Bibracte and Gergovia in France, Heidengraben and Manching in Germany, and Stare Hradisko and Zavist in eastern Celtic areas?
9. What impedes our understanding of what Celtic Europe looked like?
10. Why does Scotland have more surviving Celtic construction?
11. What is a broch? When and where did they first appear, how many have been found?
12. What is a crannog? Why would the Celts have built on crannogs? What level of science and technology would be needed to build crannogs?
13. What do the Brehon Laws tell us about builders and building?

Chapter 13 Celtic Religion

Terms: bowdlerized, polytheistic, triune

1. Where do most people get their knowledge of Celtic religion? What are the stereotypes of their religion? How valid or invalid is the general conceptions of Celtic religion?
2. What evidence is available to gain knowledge of the early Celts religion?
3. How did Greek and Roman writers add to the confusion over Celtic religion?
4. What do we know of Cernunnos? What is speculated?
5. Where did the Celts believe their origins lay?
6. What does it mean that most of the major Celtic deities were venerated in the form of triune gods and goddesses?
7. How does the worship of gods and goddesses in triune form relate to Celtic philosophy?
8. What do we know of Lugh?
9. What do we know of Ogman?
10. What do we know of Caulos?
11. Who was Brigit? St. Brigit?
12. What are the difficulties of the Celtic pantheon?
13. What were the Celtic beliefs about the human head? What practices did this belief lead to? What myths existed in regards to the human head?
14. What were the Celtic beliefs in regards to an afterlife? The soul? Karma? Reincarnation?
15. Does Ellis think the Celts philosophy came about by independent invention or by diffusion?
16. What do you think about the statement “they lent sums of money to each other which are repayable in the next world, so firmly are they convinced that the souls of men are immortal”? Do you think this was likely an actual practice among the Celts?
17. List at least four synonyms for the Otherworld that the Celts used. Can you come up with four synonyms that are used in our culture for the Otherworld?
18. What is known about the Otherworld, specifically how do you get there, what is it like, where is it, what happens at Samhain, who are the gatekeepers?
19. What do Pomponius Mela and Caesar state about the Druids? Does this indicate that political power was secular or religious among the Celts?
20. What have we established so far in regards to the Celts and; their gods, role of the gods, the soul and the Otherworld? Did the Celts have a moral code? If you were a functionalist what role would you see a moral code as having?
21. What is the linguistic basis for the old Irish word for truth? What is the role of truth in Celtic beliefs? What do the Veda’s say about truth?
22. Who was Pelagius and what did he argue?
23. Who was Augustine of Hippo and what were his views?
24. Who prevailed in Christian theology?
25. Does the British Celtic bishop Fastidius echo Pelagius or Augustine? What cultural values of the Celts does he espouse?
26. What forms of divination did the Celts engage in? Was it likely that the Druids “divined from

the death throes of human victims? What data do we have to evaluate this contention?

27. What is Ellis talking about being repeated ad nauseam? What role does hypocrisy play in Ellis’s criticism?

Chapter 14 Celtic Myth and Legend

Terms; mythology

1. When were the insular Celtic traditions first put into writing? What timeframe do the stories come from?
2. If the Tain Bo Cuailgne is a window on the Iron Age, what timeframe is this?
3. What is meant by the statement that the Christian scribes bowdlerized the pagan myths and

gave them a Christian veneer? Can you come up with an example of this?

4. The first of the sections of Irish mythology is the __________________ ________________. This tells the tales of the _________________ of Ireland. How many groups invaded Ireland? Which group form the gods and goddesses? What are the differences between the Children of Danu and the Children of Domhnu? What happens at the end of the cycle?
5. Who are the Iberian Celts?
6. What happens to the old gods and goddesses of Ireland? What are they then called? Who is the best known fairy?
7. What is the history of leprechauns?
8. What are the Ulster Cycle tales about? How significant is the Tain Bo Cuailgne in Irish myth?
9. What is the story of the Tain Bo Cuailgne about?
10. What is the third group of Irish tales?
11. What is the last group of tales? Who is Fionn Mac Cumhail?
12. How many tales are there from early Irish mythology? How many stories are known today? How many are unedited and untranslated?
13. How does Ellis characterize Irish myth?
14. Where do the real parallels to Irish mythology reside? What do we see in these stories (what happens to the deities and humans)?
15. When did the Brythonic forms of Celtic diverge from Goidelic forms?
16. What story is similar to the story of Pwyll, lord of Dyfed? In what way is it similar?
17. What story is seen as an early Arthurian saga? What culture does it come from?
18. Who is Taliesin? What types of transformations does he go through before he becomes Taliesin? What culture is he from?
19. What do we know of the Continental or Gaulish Celtic mythology?
20. What is the symbolism of ravens? What goddess is connected to this symbolism? When does the great Red Branch champion Cuchulainn know he is finished?
21. Who is the most famous of Celtic mythological figures? What do we know about him? How have the tales changed over time?

  1. What is Geoffrey of Monmouth’s role in Arthurian legend?

23. What are the classic essential elements in the story of Tristan and Iseult? Would this be a likely story today? Why or why not?

24. What is the significance of the cauldron to the Celts? What is found at Gundestrup?

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