The CeLtfc Wqrrior

cd by an elite warrior aristocracy, warfare played a central part in a Celtic society that was organized around tribal groupings. As chapter six shows, this warrior society and its loosely grouped, semi-anarchical group of tribes lacked the political unity that would allow them to oppose the Romans. This tailing was reflected in Celtic military operations—continuously individual tribes (occasionally a tribal confederation) went to war without the support of other neigboring tribes, and usually without any proper central command. Celtic disarray was ruthlessly seized on by Julius Caesar in Gaul (and later by Claudius's generals in Britain ) in a strategy of divide and conquer that defeated the Celts in a piecemeal fashion.

During the Roman conquests of Italy, Gaul, and Britain, numerous classical references describe the appearance, weaponry, and tactics of the Celts on the battlefield. This documentary evidence has been augmented by a growing body of archaeological information from the sites of elaborate burials, battlefields, settlements, and isolated finds. Far from being a barbarian society whose methods of warfare were simplistic, the Celts displayed an elaborate understanding of military technology, colored by the rules of their own society. They emphasized personal braver)-, intimidation, bravado, and ferocity over all other warlike virtues. Although the Romans ultimately conquered the Celts, this only came after a series of military setbacks.

Celtic weapons and armor were not as advanced as those used by the Romans. Although the Celts were renowned for being courageous, they lacked the battlefield discipline and technological edge that were the hallmarks of the Roman legionaries. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, the post-Roman Celts were better equipped to confront their enemies, and even demonstrated a tactical and technological superiority that had eluded them before.


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