Culture: Celtic Briton
Setting: Roman wars, Britain 55BC-AD84
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Doughtery 2010 p198 caption
"The ancient Britons fought in a typically 'barbarian' style, using long slashing swords that were unsuited to close-order formations. Individual skill and aggression could bring victory against fellow Britons, but the disciplined Roman forces were adept at defeating chaotic barbarian onslaughts."
* Allen/Reynolds 2001 p21-22
"Of all the Celtic jewellery, the most impressive in the eyes of Mediterranean commentators was the neck-ring, or 'torc'. To the Romans it characterised the Celtic warrior although it was not unique to the Celts. The torc could be of gold, bronze or iron according to the wealth of the wearer. It is quite possible that it possessed a symbolic significance since not all were made of precious metal. It was almost certainly an indication of rank (the Gauls presented a golden torc to the Emperor Augustus supposedly 45 kg [100lbs] in weight), with perhaps in some cases ritual or religious overtones. Many representations of Celtic deities are portrayed wearing the torc."
"It was the Phoenician traders who first taught the Britons how to make metal weapons. Ornamental bracelets and torcs made from twisted gold wire were often worn."
* New Larousse encyclopedia of mythology 1968 p241
"The torc appears on the Gundestrup cauldron and on several Romano-Celtic sculptures as well as being mentioned in Irish mythology. There exist many splendid torcs of bronze and gold, including the beautiful examples from Broighter, Co. Derry and Snettisham, Norfolk. They appear to have been some form of amulet, perhaps serving a purpose similar to that of the votive wheels of Britain and Gaul."
* Scullard 1979 p15
'The physical appearance of the Celts is revealed in skeletal remains, in representations in plastic art and, above all, in descriptions given gy classical writers, who were gretly struck by their height, fair skin, blue eyes and blond hair, so different from the shorter, darker men of the Mediterranean world. Celtic graves often contain remains of both long-headed and round-headed men, and it may be assumed that the former represent the Celtic type, the latter descendants of the older Bronze Age population. So in Britain both types lived together, but the chieftains and warriors were drawn from the tall, fair, long-headed men who impressed and terrified the Greeks and the Romans in battle. The nobles grew long moustaches but otherwise were clean-shaven, and the warriors stiffened their hair into quills with lime."
* Ashdown 1910 p4-5
"The men were habited in a loose-fitting sleeveless tunic, confined at the waist by a belt. Diodorus tells us the Belgic Gauls wore dyed tunics beflowered with all manner of colours, and possibly the Britons may have imitated them. The tunic partly covered the braccæ, or trousers, an article of apparel by which all barbaric nations seem to have been distinguished from the Romans. They reached from the waist to the feet, and were either close-fitting or loose; if the latter, they were partly confined by bandages passed round the limb at wide intervals. By the use of the term 'braccæ,' signifying spotted, we may infer that these garments were fashioned from the native cloth, the predominating colour in which was red.
"The Sagum was a cloak dyed blue or black, which had superseded the skins still worn by the inhabitants of the interior. The hair was long, and fell in curls down the back; the face was clean shaven, except for the moustache, which was apparently cultivated to its utmost extent, and occasionally reached to the chest. Probably no covering for the head was in use."
"By this time the art of spinning coarse cloth had been introduced to Britain. This woollen cloth was dyed various colours using herbs, the blue extracted from woad being particluarly popular. The tunic, mantle and loose pantaloons were made from this coarse cloth, while the shoes were made of raw cowhide."
* Scullard 1979 p14
"[W]oolen and linen clothes were certainly used before Caesar; the application of woad was presumably restricted to battle, of painted on the body, though the reference may be to tattooing"....