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The rise and fall of the Celtic warriors - Philip Freeman

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    One summer evening in 335 BCE,
    Alexander the Great
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    was resting by the Danube River after
    a day of fighting the Scythian tribes
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    when a band of strangers
    approached his camp.
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    Alexander had never seen anything
    like these tall,
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    fierce-looking warriors with huge
    golden neck rings and colorful cloaks—
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    so he invited them to feast with him.
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    They proudly said they were Keltoi
    or Celts who came from the far-away Alps.
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    Alexander asked what they feared
    the most in the world,
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    hoping they would say him.
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    They laughed and said they feared
    nothing at all.
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    This is one of the earliest stories
    about the ancient Celts.
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    While we don’t know
    where the first Celts came from,
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    by Alexander’s time
    they had spread across Europe
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    from Asia Minor in the east to Spain
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    and the Atlantic islands of Britain
    and Ireland in the west.
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    The Celts were never one unified empire,
    and they didn’t build cities or monuments.
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    Instead, they were hundreds of independent
    tribes who spoke the same language.
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    Each had its own warrior-king
    and religious center.
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    The tribes fought each other
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    as enthusiastically as they fought
    their enemies.
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    Few armies could stand up to them.
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    Somewhat unusually for the time,
    the Celts believed in reincarnation—
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    that they would be reborn on Earth
    to live and feast and fight again,
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    which may have contributed
    to their fearlessness in battle.
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    Some of them fought naked,
    scoffing at their enemies’ armor.
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    The greatest trophy a Celtic warrior
    could possess
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    was the severed head of a foe.
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    They preserved these heads
    in jars of cedar oil
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    and showed them to guests
    who visited their homes.
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    Celtic warriors were so valued
    in the ancient world
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    that foreign kings often hired
    them as mercenary soldiers
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    to serve in their armies.
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    But the Celts were much more
    than just warriors.
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    Among them were many skilled craftsmen,
    artists, and great poets called bards.
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    The bards sang of the brave deeds
    of their ancestors
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    and praised the accomplishments
    of warrior kings—
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    and composed biting satires
    about cowardly or selfish leaders.
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    The Celts worshipped many gods,
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    and priests known as druids
    oversaw this worship.
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    Anyone could become a druid,
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    but the training required many years
    of study and memorization—
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    the druids were not allowed to record
    any of their teachings in writing.
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    Druids supervised religious practices
    and sacrifices to the gods,
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    but they were also teachers, healers,
    judges, and scientists.
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    They were so respected that they could
    step between warring tribes
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    in the middle of a battle
    and call an end to the fighting.
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    No Celt would dare to harm a druid,
    or question their decisions.
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    In the 2nd century BCE, the Romans
    began to encroach on Celtic territory,
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    conquering the tribes of northern Italy.
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    Rather than unite against the Roman
    legions in response to this defeat,
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    the Celts maintained
    their tribal divisions.
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    The tribes of Spain fell soon after.
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    In the 1st century BCE, Julius Caesar
    marched his armies across France,
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    using bribery, threats, and lies
    to turn tribes against each other.
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    Only in the closing days of this great war
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    did the Celts unite
    against their common enemy
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    under the leadership
    of king Vercingetorix,
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    but it was too late.
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    Countless warriors and their families
    died or were enslaved
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    as the Romans conquered France.
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    Protected by the surrounding waters,
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    the Celtic tribes of Britain and Ireland
    were the last holdouts.
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    When the Romans finally invaded Britain,
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    the queen Boudicca united her tribe
    in a revolt after her husband was killed.
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    She almost succeeded in driving
    the Roman legions out of Britain
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    before dying as she led a final battle
    against the enemy.
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    By the end of the 1st century CE,
    Ireland alone, far out at sea,
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    remained unconquered by Rome.
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    There, the ways of the ancient Celts
    survived untouched by the outside world
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    long after Rome itself lay in ruins.
Cím:
The rise and fall of the Celtic warriors - Philip Freeman
Speaker:
Philip Freeman
Leírás:

View full lesson: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-celtic-warriors-philip-freeman

One summer evening in 335 BCE, Alexander the Great was resting by the Danube River when a band of strangers approached his camp. Alexander had never seen anything like these tall, fierce-looking warriors with huge golden neck rings and colorful cloaks. They were Keltoi or Celts— a collection of independent tribes spread across Europe. Philip Freeman details the rise and fall of the ancient Celts.

Lesson by Philip Freeman, directed by Paper Panther.

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Video Language:
English
Team:
TED
Projekt:
TED-Ed
Duration:
04:51

English subtitles

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