Archive for the 'Celts' Category

Myths and Heroes


From the website:
Host Michael Wood takes an epic journey, following in the path of the Queen of Sheba, searching for Shangri-La in Tibet, untangling the tales of King Arthur’s Celtic Brittan and tracing the trek of Jason who sought the Golden Fleece.

More info here.

The Strangest Things Pulled Out of Peat Bogs


From the article:
A few thousand years ago, someone living in what is now Ireland made some butter, stuck it into an oak barrel, wandered out into a bog about 25 miles west of Dublin, and buried it.

Somehow, that someone lost track of it, which two lucky archaeologists discovered when they dug up the stashed loot earlier this year in the Gilltown bog, between the Irish towns of Timahoe and Staplestown.

But that wasn’t the first keg of butter that’s been preserved by the strange chemistry of the bog. Or the 10th. More than 270 kegs of bog butter have been retrieved from the wetlands, along with dozens of ancient bodies, swords, and ornaments. Here, we run down some of the strangest things that scientists and citizens have pulled from the peat.

Read the article here.

Táin Bó Cuailnge

It’s amazing to me how few people have ever heard of this story, in my opinion it should be as well known as the Iliad. The summary below, from, is the most concise version of I could find.

Tain Bo Cuailnge meaning the Cattle Raid of Cooley is a legendary epic from early Irish literature. The Táin Bó Cuailnge represents the oldest vernacular tale of Western Europe, predating both Beowulf and Homer’s Odyssey. It describes the invasion of Ulster by the armies of Queen Medb of Connaught and her husband Ailill intending to steal the Brown Bull of Cuailnge. They are faced only by the boy warrior Cuchulainn, the rest of the men of Ulster being incapacitated by an ancient curse placed by the ancient Celtic goddess of war, Macha. Cuchulainn is young enough to be free of the curse, he manages to hold off the invading armies until the Ulstermen are free of the curse. 
Read the rest of the summary here

More about the Tain here
More about Cúchulainn here

Here is a look at the version of the story I have read. It can be purchased at

Vae Victis


"Le Brenn et sa part de butin" by Paul Jamin (1893)

"Le Brenn et sa part de butin" by Paul Jamin (1893)

Subject: Brennus

Artist: Paul Jamin 

Meaning of  “Vae victis“, which is an actual quote by Brennus from the time the painting depicts.

Stonehenge builders had geometry skills to rival Pythagoras

From the article:
Stone Age Britons had a sophisticated knowledge of geometry to rival Pythagoras – 2,000 years before the Greek “father of numbers” was born, according to a new study of Stonehenge.

Five years of detailed research, carried out by the Oxford University landscape archaeologist Anthony Johnson, claims that Stonehenge was designed and built using advanced geometry.

The discovery has immense implications for understanding the monument – and the people who built it. It also suggests it is more rooted in the study of geometry than early astronomy – as is often speculated.

Mr Johnson believes the geometrical knowledge eventually used to plan, pre-fabricate and erect Stonehenge was learnt empirically hundreds of years earlier through the construction of much simpler monuments.

He also argues that this knowledge was regarded as a form of arcane wisdom or magic that conferred a privileged status on the elite who possessed it, as it also featured on gold artefacts found in prehistoric graves.

Read the article here.

Stonehenge centre ‘will be ready for Olympics

From the article:
Ambitious plans for a world-class visitor centre for Stonehenge may have dwindled to a world-class prefab, but yesterday both English Heritage and the government pledged it would be built in time for the 2012 Olympics.

After over 20 years of bitter public debate, and an estimated £9m spent on consultants, designs and planning inquiries, the proposed £57m visitor centre collapsed last year when the government abandoned, on cost grounds, the plan to tunnel the A303 where it passes one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments.

Ordered by culture minister Margaret Hodge to sort the site in time for the expected Olympics tourism bonanza, English Heritage yesterday launched yet another public consultation, this time on a new quick fix solution: a “temporary” building lasting up to 20 years, costing up to £20m, and providing a café, a shop and twice as much parking.

It could be achieved either by drastically upgrading the present site – damned almost 20 years ago by a parliamentary committee as “a national disgrace” – or on one of four other sites scattered across the edge of the world heritage site: some on National Trust land, others on privately owned or Ministry of Defence land.

In most options there would be park and ride schemes leaving visitors to walk the remaining 1.25km to the stones, across a landscape spattered with other monuments completely overlooked by most visitors today. In every case the A344 branch road, which passes within yards of the stones, would be closed and turfed over.

Read the article here.

Greatest Warriors, Military leaders, or Tacticians in the Ancient World

This is a list constructed by N.S. Gill for

Alaric the Visigoth
Alexander the Great
Attila the Hun
Cyrus the Great
Julius Caesar
Scipio Africanus
Sun Tzu

If you follow the link to the article you can read descriptions of each man.

See the article here.

Western Paradigm