Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Julie Wileman, author and lecturer, gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘Who were the Celts’.

In the 18th Century English and French authors distinguished people of Celtic origin in Western regions of France and Britain from the rest of their people.  Previously the Greeks named people north of the Alps as Celts and the Romans placed Celts in north-east Gaul, Germany and Iberia.  In the 5th and 6th Centuries BC there were massive Celtic migrations from the East to an area between the Balkans and Iberia and from the Channel coast to Northern Italy.  In 390BC Celtic tribes invaded Italy and sacked Rome.  There were later Celtic mercenaries in Greece, Egypt and Rome and Celtic peoples had similar languages.

By contrast the Pretanni (Britons) were north of Celtic areas with round instead of rectangular houses.  A hierarchical society was led by a King or Council over warriors, druids and priests, skilled craftsmen, peasant farmers and slaves.  In Celtic design there were gold and other metal drinking cups, figurines and jewellery but the designs were different in Britain.  In conclusion, Julie Wileman saw similarities in Celtic languages, design and societies but doesn’t think the Celts were a separate people.


Who were the Celts? by Julie Wileman