Celtic Historical Timeline ( a rough date line, added to continually)
First, who were the Celts?
Celts were a mix of Alpine and Nordic, part Beaker, part Battle Ax mingled with Urn people. W Europe Celts pressured by northern Teutonic tribes and eastern Illyrians moved to central England with the Urn people who adopted their finer tools.
Celts were fusion of Mediterranean, Alpine, Nordic strains including dark Iberian and light hair. Archaeological evidence says they had contact with Iberian Peninsula.
True Celts were either Goidels (Gaels) in Northern Ireland and high Scotland or Brythons /Britons in Wales, close in kin, especially the Belgi. The religious Druids dominated all.
Belgae Celts consisted of many tribes, including:
Ambiani Sea-faring nation dwelling along the valley of the Samara (Somme), and on the eastern Belgic coast of the Oceanus Britannicus (English Channel), where it narrows towards the Fretum Gallicum (Straits of Dover). Their tribal capital was Samarobriva, now Amiens on the banks of the Somme, in the Picardy region of France.
Atrebates Bordered to the north, south and west by the sea-faring nations the Menapii, the Ambiani and the Morini respectively, and on all other sides by friendly Belgic states. Their tribal capital was Nemetacum, now known as Arras, on the Scarpe River in the Artois region of northern France.
Catalauni Occupying the central Plaine de Champagne along the upper valley of the Matrona (Marne), this tribe bordered with the Gallic Tricasses to the south and south-west, and the Germanic Lingones to the south-east, but was surrounded on all other sides by friendly Belgic states. Their tribal capital was Durocatalaunum (Châlons-sur-Marne, France).
Leuci Inhabited the uplands of the Lorraine, between the upper reaches of the rivers Mosella (Moselle) and Mosa (Meuse). Though supported by the friendly Belgic Mediomatrici and Catalauni to the north and west, they were surrounded by the Germanic Raurici, Sequani and Lingones to the east, south-east and south. Their tribal capital was Tullum (Toul, France), on the Moselle.
Mediomatrici Inhabited the upper valley of the Mosella in the northern Lorraine, between the Treveri in the north and the Leuci to the south, they also bordered with the Germanic Nemetes on the east. Their tribal capital was Divodurum (Metz, France), on the Moselle.
Menapii Inhabited the southern shores of the Oceanus Germanicus (North Sea) in the area now known as Flanders which lies mostly in Belgium, though their tribal capital Castellum Menapiorum, was at Cassel in France.
Morini Occupied the territory nearest to Britain, overlooking the Fretum Gallicum (Strait of Dover), their major towns were Gesoriacum/Bononia and Tarvenna, known nowadays as Boulogne and Thérouanne, both in the Artois region of France.
Nervii A powerful tribe of central Belgica, bordering on the north with the minor Germanic tribe the Texuandri, but supported on all other sides by their Belgic neighbours, notably the eastern Tungri and the western Atrebates. Their tribal capital lay at Bagacum, now Bavai near Maubeuge, on the upper Sambre in France.
Remi Occupied the northern Plaine de Champagne on the southern fringes of the Ardennes, between the rivers Mosa (Meuse) and Matrona (Marne), and along the river valleys of the Aisne and its tributaries the Aire and the Vesle. They were surrounded on all sides by friendly Belgic states, and their tribal capital was at Durocortum (Reims, France), on the Vesle.
Treveri This important tribe inhabited the lower valley of the Mosella, within the southern fringes of the vast Arduenna Silva (Ardennes Forest). They were bordered on the north, west and south by the friendly Belgic tribes the Tungri, the Remi and the Mediomatrici, respectively, while to the east were the Germanic Vangiones. Their tribal capital Colonia Augusta Treverorum (Trier, Germany), was also the site of a Roman colony, and the provincial capital of Belgica itself.
Tungri Occupied the lands of the northern Arduenna Silva (Ardennes), along the lower valley of the Mosa (Meuse). They shared borders to the north and east with Germanic tribes, but were bolstered by the Belgic Nervii on the west and the Remi and Treveri to the south. Their tribal capital lay at Atuatuca, modern Tongeren in the Limburg district of Belgium.
Greeks called the Celtics Keltoi, the Romans called them Celtai, present-day Yorkshire, "the Arras Culture."
The Celts in Britain used a language derived from a branch of Celtic known as either Brythonic, which gave rise to Welsh, Cornish and Breton; or Goidelic, developing in to Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx.
Celts brought their religion to Britain, particularly that of the Druids, the guardians of traditions and learning who glorified the pursuits of war, feasting and horsemanship. They controlled the calendar and the planting of crops and presided over the religious festivals and rituals that honored local deities.
On to the time line:
1200's BC - Celts are of two categories: Gaels in northern Ireland and high Scotland, Brythons or Britons in Wales
1000's BC - Celts occupied W Europe north of Alps, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany & W Alps. It is thought their original home to be east of the Rhine, in what is now Bavaria and Bohemia, as west as the Rhine itself.
800's BC- Celtic speaking people lived on the Iberian peninnsula of Spain and Portugal reaching to Belgium (Belgae) and to Gaul (Galli) in modern France. Their point of origin is believed to be in the Hartz Mountains in Germany.
750's - The Helverii Celts living on the shores of the lakes in Switzerland were attacked by Germanic tribes and migrated to Britain along with their agriculture tools and knowledge, including the use of iron. The Halstatt culture began in upper Austria (800 - 450 bc), the Celt's wealth developed from the salt they traded with the Greeks and Etruscans.
600's - The Celts arrived in Gaul, merchants from Phocis in central Greece made a treaty with Keltoi in Spain, trading goods for the Keltoi's silver. The Keltoi king was named Arganthonios who died an old man in 564. The Celtic word for silver is arganto.
The Segobrigai ('exaulted' and 'daring of strength') tribe settled in Massilia (Marseilles). Celts had settled in Po Valley.
Celts moved eastward to the Danube and settled in the Czech and Slovak states, Bohemia (named for the Celtic Boii tribe), Illyria near the Balkans and out to the Black Sea.
500's - the Le Tene Celtic culture developed in eastern France and southern Germany. The style was named after the La Tene region of Switzerland at the north eastern end of Lake Neuchatel where much of the metal work has been discovered cast into the waters. The design was initially used to decorate the jugs that held their beloved wine they were so fond of. Celts settled in Britain as well.
475 - Boii and Insubres Celts from the Italian pennisula defeated the Etruscan empire armies at Ticiano, taking control of the Po valley.
400's - Herodotus of Halicarnassus reported a merchant from Samos named Colacus was driven off course by tides and winds when trading off the African shore. He landed at the Tartessus (modern River Guadalquivir in southern Spain) where he found tribes of Keltoi working the silver mines.
More Celts bringing early iron age from central Mediterranean. Iron was more accessible and tools became common. La Tene culture developed among Celts in eastern France, southern Germany, stimulated by trade with Italy & S France. Wine was liked by Celts, brought north in bronze pottery with Mediterranean design The Celt's love of jewelry and personal adornments, finery, elaborate weapons, two wheeled chariots, but squalor for homes which brought contempt of Greeks and Romans.
396 - Celts defeated the Etruscans at Melpum (Melzo, west of Milan)
390 - Senones Celts ('the veterans') led by Brennus defeated the Romans in Rome (July 19) so badly it took the Romans 200 years to recover. After seven months and a ransom of 100 pounds of gold, the Celts moved along to Picenum on Italy's eastern seaboard.
Ephoros of Cyme reported the Celts occupied an area the size of the Indian sub-continent.
369 - Xenphon wrote of Celts fighting as mercenaries against the Thebans in Peloponnesus
334-335 - Alexander of Macedonia met the Celts on the Danube banks to make an agreement: The Celts would not attack his empire while he was off conquering in the east. Only after his death they expanded to Moravia and Thace.
200's - The Celts had reached their height in expansion, from Ireland to Turkey, Belgium to Spain and scross the Alps to Po valley. Celtic settlements have been found in Poland, Russia and the Ukraine.
298 - The Etruscans and the Celts formed an alliance against the Romans, to be joined by the Sammites in a victory at Camerium (Cameria) NE of Rome where an entire legion was destroyed.
295 - Battle of Sentium the Romans won against Sammites and a reported 1000 Celtic chariots
285 - Romans annihilated the Senone Celts at Lake Vadimo
284 - In a continuing war, the Celts were victorious at Arretium (Arezzo) killing the Roman commander Lucius Caecilius.
283 - The Romans led by Curius Dentatus burnt and pillaged the Senones Celts at Picenum. The northern Boii Celts joined the Etruscans to fight the Romans who annihilated the Etruscans and the Celts withdrew, only to form a treaty with the Romans the following year. Roman territory was increasing.
The Greek king, Pyrrhus of Epiros, landed in south Italy to help the Greek cities against the Romans, allied with the Po Valley Celts, but lost to the Romans at Beneventum and returned home taking Celtic warriors with him.
279 - Three divisions of Celts invaded the Greek penninsula. Bolgois' division defeated Macedonia and killed the king Ptolemy Ceraunos, who had been Alexander's foremost general. The army under Brennus and Acichorios entered Greece, passed Macedonia to Thessaly and defeated Callippus, son of Moerocles at the battle of Thermopylae. The third army led by Cerethrios defeated the new Macedonian king Antigonatus Gonatas. The Celts sacked the holy sanctuary of Delphi. Greece had to cancel their annual games that year. The Olympics? Some Celts remained, threatening Macedonia while others returned to the north settling in Trace (Bulgaria), Albania and Rumania.At the invitation of Nicomedes of Bithynia, 20,000 Celts and their families (from the Tolistoboii, Tectosages and Trocmi tribes led by their kings Litarios and Leonnarios) migrated to Asia Minor establishing a settlement in Turkey's central plains, Galatia, becoming the Galatian tribe. Tectosages in Ancyra (Ankara), the Tolistoboii (renamed Gordium) to Vindia, and the Trocmi settled east of the river Halys.
277/276 - 4000 Celt warriors traveled to Egypt to serve the pharaoh Ptolemy II.
263 - The First Punic wars. 3000 Celts fought for Carthage.
261 - Galatian Celts defeated the mighty Syrian army at Ephesus and killed the king, Antiochus I.
259 - Ptolemy II stopped a Celtic troop takeover, banishing the Celts to an island in the Nile where they starved to death.
241 - Attalos I of Pergamum defeated the Celts at the headwaters of Caioc and Pergamum could finally stop paying tribute to the Celts.
225 - Battle of Telamon - Boii and Insubres Celts with their professional warriors, the Gaesatae, commanders Aneroestes and Concolitanus along with 50,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry stood against 700,00 Roman infantry and 70,000 Roman cavalry. The Celts lost in what is described as the most spectacular battle in Celtic history.
224 - The Romans invaded and devastated Boii territory
223 - The Romans took over Insubres territory, whose capital was Milan
222 - The Celts asked for a peace treaty with the Romans. Gnaeus Cornelia Scipio and Marcus Claudius Marcellus refused, holding out for what they clearly wanted, an extermination of the Celts. The Celts recruited the Gaesatae whose reknown leader was Viridomarus challenged Marcellus to single handed combat to determine the outcome. He lost. The Romans took Po Valley in the end of the 'Celtic Wars'.
218 - Hannibal of Carthage had an half Celtic army when he approached Po Valley, resulting in a famous victory against the Romans in 216 at Cannae.
218 - Attalos of Pergamum recruited the Aegosae Celts in his army but they were soon slaughtered by Prusias of Bithynia in 217.
217 - 14,000 Celts now in Egypt were at the battle of Raphia with Ptolemy IV against Antiochis II of Syria, a victory because of the Celt cavalry.
203 - Celts and Celtiberians successfully defend Carthage against Roman attack at Utica
201 - Rome takes Po Valley, eventually exterminating the Celtic Cenomani, Insubres and Boii tribes.
193 - According to Livy, the Boii fought well but were defeated by the Romans along the Po River: 14,000 dead, 1092 captured alive with 721 horses, three chieftains, 212 standards and 63 wagons. A year later a Boii chieftain surrended to a Roman counsel, Titus Quinctius Flaminius who had him and his family ritually slaughtered as entertainment for his boyfriend.
191 - Po Valley and it's remaining Celts were finally, completely Romanized.
191 - Galatian Celts still independent from the Greeks, formed an alliance with Antiochus III of Syria. Their battle of Magnesia was a major Roman victory. The Romans were allied by Eumenes II of Pergamum and the brother of the commander who took down Hannibal, Lucius Cornelius Scipio.
189 - Gnaus Manilus Volso was sent to Turkey to crush the Galatian Celts. The Tolistoboii and Trocmi were defeated at the battle of Mount Olympus near Pessinus, a battle of slaughter including innocents. The Tectosages were defeated at a hill named Magaba near Ancyra. Ortagion, a Tolistoboii chieftain reunited what was left of the three tribes.
c 180 - Cleopatra had an elite Celtic warrior bodyguard.
179 - Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus offered the Iberian Celts enlistment into the Roman army, which was not readily accepted.
152 - Numantia Celts almost destoyed an advancing Roman army, leading to a treaty in 151 which was broken the following year by a new Roman commander, Galba, whose brutality was criticized even in Rome.
148 - The Celts under Viriathos revenged on Galba, forcing his surrender, but a traitor murdered Vitiathos in his sleep.
136 - The Roman Mancinus surrendered with 20,000 troops to the Celts at Pallantia
134 - Publius Cornelius Scipio was sent to Numantia to finish off the Celts, surrounding the tribe and starving them by isolation. Rhetogenes led 400 to break the seige but were captured and paraded in front of the town with their right hands severed. The Celts finally surrended, 8,000 men women and children against 60,000 Romans. Numantia was burnt, Fifty Celtic leaders were taken to Rome for ceremonial sacrifice, the rest sold into slavery.
123 - The remaining Galatian Celts' alliances helped them become independent and powerful once more under Ortagion.
118 - Romans expanded to Massilia, having defeated the Salyes Celts, as well as southern Gaul, Provence, Toulouse, and Narbon.
109 - Romanian Celts and the Dacians made a treaty to try and stop the approaching Romans
88 - Mithridates V 'The Great' of Pontus invited sixty major Celtic chieftains to dine and discuss. He relied on the Celtic tradition of no arms could be worn entering a feasting hall and slaughtered them all save one, Deiotarus, son of Dumnorix of the Tolistoboii. Out of three chieftains that did not attend, one was assassinated..
81 - Schools were set up under the guidance of Sertorius for the children of Celtic kings and chieftains, using Latin for writings.
75 - Belgae tribal centers were in Winchester, Chichester, St Albans (then Verulamium) and Colchester. The Belgae Celts originally lived in the Rhine and Seine areas. Cunobelinus was a great Celtic king who ruled from about 10 AD to 40 AD, possessing a mint and started extensive trade with Gaul.
Belgae Celts from between Seine and Rhine in France (Gaul) pressured from northern Germans and Romans from France and Mediterranean to leave homelands and they invaded SE Britain, creating sharp divide between themselves and residents. Introduced coins, traded with Romans and Gauls. Belgae were tall, fair haired, warlike with Germanic strain, dark superstitious religious beliefs of goblins, elves, spirits living in sacred groves & places. masters of daily life crafts, weaving, pottery, blacksmithing, boat building. Priestly caste were the Druids, the priests, teachers, magistrates. Belgae maintained closeness with kin in France.
England remained non-Celtic and turned Roman, Wales and Scotland run by Celts.
74 - Deiotarus drove out the new governor of Galatia, Zeumachus. Mithridates had declared war on Rome, leaving Deiotarus the ruler of Galatia, and he quickly made treaties with Rome. Mithridates fled and was killed at the hand of a Celt.
57 BC Julius Caesar invades what is now British Isles, started in 54 and 55. Caesar knew Gaul Celts received aide from British Celts and the invasion was considered punishment and Romans wanted Brits to export grain to Rome. First expedition failed due to boats damaged in storms and was met by Celts in chariots who fought him off. On the second expedition, he stormed Belgic hill fort near Canterbury, fighting the Belgic king Cassivellaunus (thought to have ruled from Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire), crossed the Thames near London, obtained submission form southern chieftains and returned to Rome with slaves and promises of tribute from the Celts. Beglic princes extended their territories west. Belgic tribal centers became towns of Winchester, Chichester, Verulamium (St Albans) and Colchester, which was run by Cunobelinus (Shakespeare's Cymbeline), the greatest king who had docks for trade with Gaul. Warlike eastern Celts fought with the Belgae Celts. Commius (Caesar's Roman ally left as king of the Atrebates in the Belgi area) stayed behind and retained a weak Roman influence.
57 BC - Battle of Nervii, Nervii Belgae Celts were annihilated by the Romans
52 BC - Roman victory at Alesia in Gaul devasted the Celts
47 BC - Deiotarus died of old age after surviving a false charge of trying to kill Caesar. His son, Deiotarus II ruled for only a few years before Rome took it as a province.
4 BC - Herod the Great died, his funeral was attended by Celtic bodyguards.
43 AD - Aulus Plautius (currently ruling Hungary) landed unopposed in East Kent with a strong calvary, defeated Cymbeline's son and made it to the Thames where the Roman Emperor Claudius, took over, complete with elephants. At Colchester, Caludius received submission from about a dozen kings, then returned to Rome sixteen days later. The Fosse Way was built, a frontier line from Bristol Channel to the Humber. Colchester, Lincoln, Glouchester and York became settled with cooperative Celts and Romans.
Cymbeline's son headed for free Wales. Cartimandua, the queen of the Brigantes Celts made peace with the Romans. Ostorius Scapula replaced Aulus and tried to take Wales until his death in 52.
59 AD - Roman Suetonius Paulinus too over the British area, taking some of North Wales and massacring the Celts, their Druids, women and children upon landing at Anglesey.
54 AD - Claudius prohibited the existence of Druids. Druids were rarely heard of at this point, becoming underground gypsies, traveling and teaching silently.
60 AD - Boudicca, the Queen of the Iceni retaliated against the Romans for their brutality. See Boudicca
76/77 - Julius Agricola finished the conquering of Wales, entered Scotland to the Tweed (current eastern line between England and Scotland), but was recalled to Rome in 83 or 84. His son in law, Tacitus, wrote during this time.
117 - A great force of Picts pushed the Romans back to the short line between the Tyne and the Solway Firth.
123 - Emperor Hadrian built Hadrian's Wall from Solway Firth to Tyne river mouth. The wall held for thirty years, the worst damage done in the first century.
Circa late 300's- Eusebius Hieronymus identified people of Galatia (central Turkey) spoke the same Celtic dialect as those in Treveri, at Trier, Germany.
Gold was extracted from south Wales, copper from Anglesey, iron from Sussex and the forest of Dean. Roman villas included modest homes to ornate residences.
abt 150 - Ptolemy reported Brigantes Celts in Yorkshire up to Scotland, a fierce fighting people, their tribal center at Stanwick, North Riding. To their east were the Parisi Celts at Petuaria, coming from the plains of north east Gaul
300's - Raids on the Romans by the Scoti (Irish) and Picts (Scots) were common, cutting off Britain from Rome, leaving Romans and British Romans to defend themselves
Roman Theodosius cleared London of all enemies in 369.
383 - Magnus Maximus from Spain took troops away form the wall and back to home.
Nordic, Jute, Angles and Saxons enter Britian, forever changing the racial base of England.
410 - Alaric the Goth sacked Rome, requiring all Romans return home to fight.
Romans start their evacuation of the Britain Isles, all Roman government dissolved by 442 or 446. Germanic Anglians increase invasion from the north of Europe, calling themselves Anglo Saxons and Jutes, settling in Kent and the Isle of Wright.
574 - Columba (who converted much of England to Christianity) returned to Ireland to beg for the sacred Druid oak trees, alas, in vain.
577 - West Saxon Ceawlin slew three Briton kings, Commail, Condida and Farinmail at Dyrham, taking Gloucester, Cirencester and Bath in the Battle of Dyrham which permanently separated the Welsh Celts and the Celts in Devon and Cornwall.
613 to 616 - Northumbrian Angles defeated Britons at Chester, dividing Strathclyde and Welsh Celts, ending larger Celt resistance and dividing what was a long strip of Celts from the wall to Land's End into three smaller groups unable to communicate without using the sea. Romanized Celts fled with other Celts, losing their advanced culture
697 - Lex Innocentium at the Synod of Birr forbid women to fight
825 - The Saxon King of England, Egbert, subdued the Celts in Cornwall, bringing all England under one rule.
abt 960 - Edgar the Peaceful was accepted as overlord by the Celts of England
1282 - Llywellyn, the Last, one of the last remaining original Celts was executed for treason by Edward Longshanks.
The Celts were basically lost to the winds of time as the Romans and Christianity took over Europe in the 400's and 500's. Celts remained in the far west. However, there remains millions of people today who use a Celtic Welsh language as their mother tongue, and millions of us who have a Celtic heritage.
For a complete historical timeline, please visit my TIMELINE page.