Friday, 3 April 2009

Who Are The Celts: Iberian

Main language areas in Iberia, showing Celtic languages in blue, circa 200 BC.

Until the end of the 19th century, traditional scholarship dealing with the Celts acknowledged the celts of the Iberian Peninsula as a material culture relatable to the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures. Since according to the definition of the Iron Age in the 19th century Celtic populations were rare in Iberia and did not provide a cultural scenario that could easily be linked to that of Central Europe, the celts of the Iberian Peninsula were ignored until the end of the 20th century. Three divisions of the celts of the Iberian Peninsula were assumed to have existed: the celtiberians in the mountains near the center of the peninsula, the celtici in the southwest, and the celts in the northwest.
Modern scholarship, however, has proven that Celtic presence and influences were very substantial in Iberia. The Celts in Iberia were divided into two main archaeological and cultural groups, even though that division is not very clear:
One group was spread out along Galicia and the Iberian Atlantic shores. They were made up of the Lusitanians (in Portugal) and the Celtic region that Strabo called Celtica in the southwestern Iberian peninsula, including the Algarve, which was inhabited by the Celtici, the Vettones and Vacceani peoples (of central--western Spain and Portugal), and the Gallaecian, Astures and Cantabrian peoples of the Castro culture of northern and northwestern Spain and Portugal. The Celtiberian group of central Spain and the upper Ebro valley. This group originated when Celts migrated from what is now France and integrated with the local Iberian people. The origins of the Celtiberians might provide a key to understanding the Celticization process in the rest of the Peninsula. The process of celticization of the southwestern area of the peninsula by the Keltoi and of the northwestern area is, however, not a simple celtiberian question. Recent investigations about the Callaici and Bracari in northwestern Portugal are providing new approaches to understanding Celtic culture (language, art and religion) in western Iberia.

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