The warriors were not a social class of people. All the ancient
Celtic people were warriors if they needed to be. Although most
women stayed home, looking after the crops and the children, when
their men went off to war, women could choose to train and fight as
warriors if they wished.
There were warrior schools in the world of the
ancient Celts. A couple of
those schools were run by women. But they were the
exceptions. Most of the warriors were well trained men.
You might hear tales of warriors running naked
into battle with only a shield and a sword for protection. There was
one tribe that painted their body blue and ran naked into battle.
But most warriors wore some protection. The nobles wore chain mail,
and carried a shield and a sword. Peasant's shields might be made of
wood instead of iron, but they were covered in leather. Their
weapons were made of iron.
Celtic warriors used many tricks to scare their
opponents. The Celts were naturally tall, with blonde or red hair.
They rode horses into battle, which not only gave them a fighting
advantage, but made them look even taller. Many warriors wore bronze
or wood helmets shaped with two horns, that made them look
Men put lime in their hair before a battle.
Lime burns and acts as a bleach. It lightened their hair so it
was even more blonde. The lime also stiffened as it dried. This gave
the men a protective glowing crown. Just before entering a battle,
musical horns were blown. Men beat their swords against their
shields and screamed battle cries and insults at their opponents.
The Celts like to chop off the head of the
leader of their enemies. That head was cured and rubbed with oil,
and nailed over the doorway, somewhat like modern hunters do
with deer heads.
If you were facing an army of Celtic warriors,
you would see a seemingly endless field of tall, screaming scary
looking god-like creatures with lime spiked hair glowing brightly in
the sun, and severed heads hanging from their belts and wagons. It
would have been a most terrifying sight. The Celts were not only
fierce fighters. They looked and sounded like fierce fighters. They
often won, sometimes without even entering into battle. Between
trading and raiding, the Celts soon became rich.
Before long, the Celts had taken over nearly all of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the Isle
of Man. The other tribes in these areas either moved away, were
killed in battle, or joined the Celts. When the ancient Celts ran
out of other tribes to fight, they began to fight each other. Close
relationships between clans did not stop them from raiding each
other - stealing cattle and other wealth. This led to many a battle.
Various clans rarely went into full battle
with each other. What they would do is show up in full battle
dress at a pre-arranged location. Each side would line up at
some distance from the other, and scream insults at each
other. Each side made as much racket as they could. They beat
their shields and screamed and shouted and blew horns. Finally, when
they had just about exhausted themselves from all their noise,
each side would send a predetermined number of men - one or two or a
handful - forth to fight for them. These fights were usually to
the death. The outcome of the fight determined who was the
winner. Goods or lands were distributed accordingly. Then, the
two sides went home.
The ancient Celts had always fought as a clan,
not as a people. Clans might team up against another clan or two,
but they had never banded together totally to defeat one
When the Roman army arrived, the Celts did not band
together to fight them. The well organized Roman army found them
easy prey. The Romans did not wipe out the Celts. But
they did rule the Celts for many years.
Romans in Britain