What We Don't Know About the Ancient Celts


  • Rowan Fairgrove




Neo-Paganism, Celtic, Celts


When one says that one wants to study and, perhaps, reconstruct the religion of the ancient Celts, it is well to be clear about whom one speaks. 'Celtic' describes a language group which, over time, has divided into two strains - P-Celtic, spoken in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany and Q-Celtic, spoken in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. One must also be clear about the possible tools for such study that are available. As so many things Celtic comes in threes, so do our sources - archaeology, classical commentaries and the vernacular traditions of the Celtic countries.


Brunaux, Jean Louis. 1988 (Eng trans). The Celtic Gauls: Gods, Rites and Sanctuaries. London: B. A. Seaby.

Caesar, Julius, 1980 (new trans). The Battle for Gaul. Boston: David R. Godine.

Chadwick, Nora. 1970. The Celts. New York: Penguin.

Cunliffe, Barry (1979) The Celtic World: An Illustrated History of the Celtic Race, Their Culture, Customs and Legends. New York : McGraw-Hill.

1988. Greeks, Romans and Barbarians: Spheres of Interaction. London: Batsford.

1997. The Ancient Celts. New York: Oxford UP.

Davidson, HR Ellis. 1988. Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions. Syracuse UP.

Gantz, Jeffrey. 1988. Early Irish Myths and Sagas. NY: Penguin.

Green, Miranda. 1992. Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend. London: Thames & Hudson.

1989. Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art. London: Routledge.

1986. The Gods of the Celts. Totawa, NJ: Barnes & Noble.

MacCana, Proinsias. 1968 (1991). Celtic Mythology. New York: Peter Bedrick.

Ross, Anne. 1967. Pagan Celtic Britain: Studies in Iconography and Tradition. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

1970. The Everyday Life of the Pagan Celts. London: Transworld.

Ross, Anne and Robins, Don. 1989. The Life and Death of a Druid Prince: The story of an archaeological sensation. London: Random Century Group.

Rutherford, Ward. 1987. Celtic Mythology: Nature & Influence of Celtic Myth - Druidism to Arthurian Legend. Wellingborough, Eng: Aquarian Press.

Stewart, Robert J. 1990. Celtic Gods, Celtic Goddesses. London: Blandford

On the web:

Clannada na Gadelica – http://chattanooga.net/~clannada/

IMBAS – http://www.aa.net/~morrigan/imbas/

Nemeton – http://www.seanet.com/~inisglas/

O’Dubhain’s Cauldron – http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/odubhain/

The Sanctum of Cathbad – http://www.uoguelph.ca/~bmyers/sanctum.html

In Print:

Laurie, Erynn. 1995. A Circle of Stones: Journeys & Meditations for Modern Celts. Chicago: Eschaton Books.

Keltria Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick. P.O. Box 48369, Minneapolis, MN 55448, $12/four issues. http://members.aol.com/keltria/kjourn.html



How to Cite

Fairgrove, R. (2020). What We Don’t Know About the Ancient Celts. Pomegranate, 2–21. https://doi.org/10.1558/pome.v1i2.2