Kilts in History: The Third Century Tartans of Celtic Galicia ~
The oldest examples of tartan in Atlantic Europe date from the 3rd century BC. One example was found in the Galician region of Spain where several statues of Celtic chieftains were discovered at the site of what is now called the San Julião Celtic Hillfort.
The artifacts, some housed at the Quiñones Museum in Vigo, showed Galician kings wearing what appear to be primitive kilts fashioned from a plaid patterned fabrication (perhaps similar to Argyll/Argyle) consisting of criss-crossed bands apparently arranged diagonally.
This image is an illustrative reconstruction by C. Afonzo based upon the research of Andre’ Pena Granha of the Instituto Galego de Estudos Célticos (Galician Institute for Celtic Studies).
Celtic Warrior Training ~
Beltaine, which approaches with summer ahead, is thought the traditional time when Celts of the warrior class who had been living separately gathered together for training and bonding. It is thought that summer was the time of the year when most battles and raids occurred. The warriors would train together forming the close relationships that would stay them in battle and bind them mentally, emotionally and physically.
Although “warrior” wasn’t considered a specific social class, in comparison to modern day societies, warriors were on a par with the aristocracy. There was special training for warriors. From the stories of Cuchulainn it is known that there were at least 27 combat maneuvers which were taught. Names of these acts have come down to us today as the “Apple Feat”, the “Leap Over Poison” and the “Noise Feat of Nine”.
No armor was worn in training and much was likely conducted in the nude. In battle, some groups fought naked, but others wore garb. It was not uncommon for the warrior to paint his face and body with daub made of woad, which also had mind altering effects if internalized.
The Celts used no traditional strategy in warfare but were trained as fierce fighters. Celtic war tactics were often based upon stimulating fear in their enemies. Stories abound of naked warriors, swords held aloft, screaming and charging into battle with wild abandon. They were known to be a large, heavily built and muscular people who would have appeared imposing on the battlefield.
Even the Romans, who looked down on most of their “barbarian” opponents respected the Celts constitution and skill. They were known for their fighting style in that they came on their enemies ”like a horde of beserkers”…