Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>390BC Celtic cavalry

Subject: cavalry raider
Culture: Celt
Setting: La Tène period, Europe 4th-1stcBC
Evolution500BC Hallstatt warrior > 390BC Celtic cavalry

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Wilcox/McBride 1985 p23
"Gallic nobles and their immediate following filled the ranks of the cavalry.  ...  Cavalry tactics were normally simple: a shower of javelins were [SIC] thrown, and followed up by a charge using spears and swords. Gallic cavalry -- the 'knights' mentioned by Caesar -- were the later equivalent of the noble charioteers of an earlier period."

* Bennett 1998 p322
"trimarcisia (Celtic 'three horses') Celtic combat system involving one cavalryman and two supporting mounted servants, developed after the introduction of the four-pommel saddle in the 3rd or 2nd century BC.  The cavalryman engaged in the battle and the two servants, based at the rear, each in turn provided their master with a new mount or took his place in battle if he fell.
    "Celtic cavalry originally operated without a reliable means of holding the rider on his horse; the four-pommel saddle (one pair at the rear and one pair angled over the thighs at the front) gave the cavalryman the means to fight securely on horseback.  Within a short time cavalry had completely replaced chariots as the mobile wing of Celtic armies on the European mainland.  Celtic experience and skill with cavalry made them prized mercenaries and allies with foreign armies, notably for Carthage during the Second Punic War."




* Foster 2002 p33
"The northern peoples fought as foot soldiers, but they were renowned as cavalry.  The main weapon in the Iron Age was the spear, while in battle warriors would also carry a sword, worn on the right hip.  From the end of the third century BC sword blades were longer than 80cm, at least 20cm longer than the Roman sword."

* Wilcox/McBride 1985 p21
"Swords of the middle La Tène period, to the late 2nd century BC, became longer and round-ended, overall length being about 85 cm to 90 cm."

* Allen 2007 p116-117
"Sword blades found at La Tène measure about 60cm (232/3in) in length.  With improvements in ironworking techniques and the evolution of fighting styles as a result of direct contact with the Mediterranean world, as well as the increasing role of cavalry, longer blades became more common in the last two centuries BC.  Celtic swords were worn on the right, suspended from a bronze or iron chain around the waist.  The chain passed through a loop at the back of the scabbard and kept the weapon upright, helping to prevent the sword from becoming entangled with the warrior's legs as he walked or ran. ...  The quality and efficiency of the Celtic sword is made clear by Dionysius of Halicarnassus who described how the warrior would raise his sword above his head to deliver a downward stroke with his whole weight behind it.  Together with the weight of the weapon itself, such a blow was capable of cutting through shield, armour and bone."


* 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."