Ornaments & Jewellery

cropped-img_0322_edited1.jpgOrnaments and Jewellery

By the third Century BCE a distinctive and clearly recognisable Iron Age Celtic society emerged. Known for its widespread use of jewellery and ornaments, its common artistic designs were developed first in central Europe by Celts and became known as the La Tène style from the area on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland, where thousands of objects were discovered in 1857.

3385221167_2d87308566_z The Torc is a twisted metal ring usually worn around the neck and could be of gold, bronze or iron. It was almost certainly a symbol of rank. Gold, pretty much like today, was out of reach of all but the nobility and champions.  Far more common were bracelets and necklaces of bronze and polished stones or pottery beads.

Examples of Celtic art include torcs, or neck rings, with the two open ends ornamented with animal heads; the silver repoussé Gundestorp cauldron (circa 100 bc, National Museum, Copenhagen); a bronze lozenge-shaped shield with circular medallions and small enamel circles (1st century bc-1st century ad); and a bronze mirror with enameled decoration (1st century bc).

Brooches were made from silver and gold studded with amber and pieces of glass, used to hold a cloak in position.

Glass was made from salt, crushed limestone and sand and coloured by adding powdered minerals. Glass was also used as enamel, a thin transparent layer bonded to metal underneath.

Personal ornaments include pins, fibulae, beads, bracelets and neck ornaments. Simple collars of twisted gold strips are known but there is also the sumptuous gold collar found on the seashore at Broighter, Co. Derry.

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Celtic Clothes

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Holy-Moly, I’ve been uploading bits of Celtic Trivia into what I though was an on-going bloggy thing on Celtic Trivia but it turns out,I think that it was one post, which I inadvertently opened and edited or added stuff to it and called it, each time, a new name, i.e. Celtic Trivia 2 and then later on Celtic Trivia 3, expecting them to be listed one under the other.  Instead I appear to have a single post.

But what, I’d like would be for each post, under the category of Celtic Trivia, to follow one after the other. So, here goes

This piece of Celtic trivia features Clothes.  Men wore a thigh length tunic (léine) over baggy trousers; brightly coloured. The léine was fastened at the waist with a sash. Wool was often dyed before being woven. The principle dyes were made from flowers, bark, berries, leaves or lichen boiled with salt or stale urine. The wool was first soaked, then boiled. Imported dyes, especially the scarlet from Parthia / Scythia, much favoured for its intensity, or the royal purple, the dye of the Phoenicians (made from the glands of the murex snails), were much sought after but were beyond the reach of most.

Women’s clothes were long and loose, made of linen or wool.- a sleeveless tunic over a long dress with a lightweight shift underneath. A shawl or cloak (brat) fastened at the shoulders with a brooch or pin completed the outfit.

Cloaks could have a small hood (cochall) with bands of decorative weaving and tasseled fringes round the lower edge but most were simple and unadorned.

Celtic Trivia – Who and When

cropped-img_0322_edited1.jpgCeltic Trivia  – when & who

Here’s a snippet of info about the Celtic Way of Life. I suppose I had better clarify what I mean by Celtic or rather when and who I refer to.

Late Bronze Age C1300 – 800 BCE (before the current era)
Iron Age 800 – 600 BCE (Hallstatt Iron Age C)
Late Iron Age 600 – 475 BCE (Halstatt iron Age D)

Now I am certainly not an expert or even particularly knowedable about much of these periods but, because of the novel I was writing, Raiding Cúailnge, I found my self adapting background details for my setting of the North East of Ireland circa 400 BCE and while much of the information and backropund information I collected was to do with the widely varying tribes of Celtic people roaming Europe, my tale is firmly set in Ireland during what is known among the manuscripts as the Ulster Cycle, which describe some episodes from the life of my main character, Setanta, aka Cú Chulainn.

Anyway, these are the original documents on which all the known translations  are based.

None of the manuscripts contain a complete account of the period so I hope my stitching together of events in my novel will be acceptable, even to the purists.

The Book of the Dun Cow Written in the 11th century. Thought to have been based on texts from the 9th century which in turn were based on texts from 7th century (texts no long extant)
The Yellow Book of Lecan Circa 14th century. Ditto re earlier texts
The Book of Lenister Late 12th century

That’s probably enough for now.