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The CeltsA History from Earliest Times to the Present$
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Bernhard Maier

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780748616053

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748616053.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Celts

Bernhard Maier

Edinburgh University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the people, language and culture behind the history of the term ‘Celtic’. It shows that the term ‘Celt’ is applied in three distinct ways. First in the ethnographical writing of antiquity, the word ‘Celt’ (Greek Keltoí, Kéltai, and Galátai, Latin Celtae and Galli) stands for a variety of central European peoples with whom the Greeks and Romans came into contact from the sixth century bc, first through trading relations and later in armed conflict. The second application of the term occurs in comparative philology, as it emerged in the early nineteenth century. And here, in contrast to the broad use of the term in the classical period, the term ‘Celtic’ referred exclusively to linguistic facts. The third application of the term Celt is in modern archaeology and here its use remains far from uniform.

Keywords:   Celts, history, Celtic, antiquity, philology, archaeology

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