By Erik Wroblewski

Versão em Português

Currently, there is much confusion about those peoples which are usually called the “Celts”. In large part, these misconceptions and inaccuracies are due to the romantic arising from movements of national construction of European “countries” during the end of the XVIII century and throughout the XIX century. At that time, there was a need to develop not only politic and military unification but also a cultural one, bringing a sense of regional belonging able to overcome the differences that separated the various populations that composed these “countries” and creating what we now call “national identity”.

These socio-political movements were very important to affirm the power of the status quo in countries like England, France and Germany and to a greater or lesser extent, this need for national affirmation and superiority, coupled with the economic weakness of Europe in this period, were responsible for events that had changed the whole planet, as the First and Second World Wars.

From this perspective of national identity’s construction, the “cultural elite”, directed by economic and political interests, sought, through various arguments, ways to show the masses as their origin was important, as they were established in those regions since immemorial times, and as the “barbaric” blood, together with the “superiority” of the Roman heritage, made up the “plaster” that would unite people in a “unbreakable social structure”.

However, as we said before, these arguments were not grounded in “trustful” research (as we understand as academic study nowadays), but on careful selection of sources and artifacts to corroborate the social elite leaders need. Allied to this, though, we have the fervent adoption of some of these “forged” elements by sections of the population who, consciously or unconsciously relied upon them to assert a supposed “noble” origin, to justify positions, or to take advantage.

Furthermore, with regard to the “Celts”, we have a multitude of constructions of this type, literary romances and pseudo-religious inventions. Thus, we have, in this brief article published by Revista Vernáculo from the Federal University of Paraná (Brazil), which intended to clarify, succinctly and objectively, some of these rich and diverse populations we now call simply “the Celts”.

Original article: (Portuguese)

WROBLEWSKI, Erik. Noções básicas e primeiros passos: “Os Celtas”.Revista Vernáculo, n. 17 e 18, 2006