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All the movies made about Celts and Vikings that portray how ferocious and brave they were, haven’t been wrong.
Of course, there is a little exaggeration here and there but these movies have greatly depicted their lifestyle and gave us a closer look at their history. They adorned their swords, not only with the blood of their opponents, but also with little animal or human-like figures.
History can be boring but learning how cool Celtic swords were and how greatly these people treated their swords is intriguing. Celtic swords first emerged in the early Iron Age, but they were not widely used until the 8th century BC. Celtic swords were different from steel swords as showcased by excavations from the site of La Tène.
Scottish swords are Celtic short swords. It is a traditional sword just like basket-hilted swords (swords with hilts). There have been double-edged, leaf-shaped, and Hallstatt swords. Sacked Rome was home to Celtic people who wore protective armor whilst holding a long sword which had a sharp edge during wars. They also used a short sword. The length of the sword didn't matter during these battles.
Celts were a wandering group of people who inhabited Europe and also the British Isles from the fifth century BC to 50 AD.
From this diverse cluster, the Scottish, Irish and Welsh cultures developed. Their design was distinctive and extended to their weapons. The anthropomorphic Celtic blade is an example of a distinctive design. The Celtic sword symbolizes power, strength, honor, and the ultimate glory in battle. The sword was typically buried with its owner or thrown in the ocean as a present to the gods or spirits.
The length of this iron weapon used to vary as per the battle requirements. Some bent swords have been found amongst excavation sites.
Here are some interesting aspects of ancient Irish weapons and ornaments.
Falcata swords existed before the Roman era and presumably could be a developed version of the Greek’s falcata swords or also referred to as kopis. The falcata is legendary for delivering powerful blows burning a battle.
Longer Celtic swords were used. Many archeologists have excavated these Celtic swords which depict the standards of iron and steel of the people of that time and the standard of the same is exceptional. These evolved from Roman spatha which was extensively used by Roman armies.
The spear was an important weapon. Following military expertise gained after initial contact with Roman armies from the 1st century AD, Celts modified the look of their spearheads so that they possessed a narrower profile. This was a reaction to the Roman use of protecting body armor and the need to realize a spear that might effectively puncture their plate armor. These were paid mercenaries who had gained an awful name for their bravery. Once they'd thrown all their spears at the enemy, they'd retrieve them from the bottom of their opponents' bodies.
Here are some important aspects related to different Irish warriors of the era.
Vikings who arrived in Ireland in the latter half of the eighth century did not make any significant changes in the art of war. After completing some raids on monasteries, these warriors from Scandinavia settled and integrated with society. The ports of Wexford, Dublin, and Waterford offered them the chance to use their naval power to the fullest.
The Gaelic resurgence occurred when Irish warriors started to wear mail shirts, hauberks, cushiony aketons, and conical iron helmets, equipped by or bartered or purloined from the Scots. In the make-believe world of the storytellers, de Clare and his commanders become disconcerted by the unnatural stillness and emptiness of the landscape over which they traveled. One fanciful account even has them assailed by the spirit Morrighan.
Irish warriors in English service existed from as early as the reign of Henry III (d. 1272). Even before the Wars of the Roses, Irishmen were assisting to fight wars for England. They comprised light-weight infantry and might have appeared innocuous except for the ‘devilish tokens’ they wore on their heads and for their distinctively long, plaited locks of back-combed hair, their half-shaven skulls, and their habit of carousing and picking over possessions of boys they killed.
Celts are believed to have emerged as early as 1400 B.C. Celts were Indo-European folks that dominated central and northern Europe as the most powerful and important people. They originated in Austria, Switzerland, France, and Spain, and stirred westward over time, eventually subsiding in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Vikings were from Scandinavia and from 800 AD to the 11th century, they tried to make their lives via attacking coastal locations, seizing land, plundering, trading, and being mercenaries. They'd leave their imprint as pirates, raiders, traders, and settlers on most of Britain and Europe, as well as areas of contemporary Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland, throughout the following three centuries.
There were similarities between Celts and Vikings. Though both Vikings and Celts were ethnically diverse communities, residing on the British Isles, both Vikings and Celts were in constant feuds for 100 years. In contemporary Britain, the supposed Anglo-Saxons are ancestors of Vikings and Celts.
Both these communities weren’t civilized in the way we generally are used to and they weren’t Christian like the European people and that was what would differentiate them from the European people.
They were broken up into separate clans or groups but they shared plenty of similar habits and values. Both of them used animal products to make clothing and accessories. Most of them subsequently converted to Christianity.
The Celtic anthropomorphic sword symbolized its owner's power, strength, honor, and supreme glory in battle. The sword was usually buried with its owner amongst his several alternative possessions or symbolically thrown into the water as a present to the gods or spirits.
As a Celtic symbol, the sword is purported to be related to Nuada, the first king of Tuatha de Danann. Nuada’s greatsword is considered one of the four Celtic treasures (sword, stone, spear, and cauldron). Nuada was related to supernatural forces of the underwater realm. Archaeology has revealed several ancient Celtic swords found underwater. These could also be offerings to Nuada made by ancient Celts honoring their ancestors by passing their broadswords into the waters, effectively ensuring the ability of Nuada to run ferociously through their tribal veins.
This glorious anthropomorphous Celtic blade is additionally one of the best-preserved. The superbly sculpturesque head that terminates the handle is one of the best extant pictures of a Celtic warrior. The hilts prepared from bone, wood or horn—appearing as a geometrical reduction of a classical warrior—must have been meant to boost the facility of the owner and show a talismanic significance. The guard and pommel represent the form of a man, therefore the name 'anthropomorphic' is given. The pommel is the head and arms, whereas the guard represents legs.
The Celtic sword may be a true testament to the Celtic people’s creative sense and also the concentration of superior skill that stands at the core of the Celtic culture. This human-like Celtic weapon system has a sculpted head of a Celtic soul that terminates the weapon system handle. The handle is styled as a simplified warrior form that was intended to boost the facility of the bearer. The face has giant almond eyes, and the head has finely drawn hair, a nose, and a mouth. The body below was protected by body armor.
According to Polybius, Gauls used inferior iron swords at the Battle of Telamon, which bent on the first strike and had to be straightened with the foot against the ground.
Celtic mortals had distinctive shields that were massive and oval or rectangular. These shields were the product of wood and animal skin with buckles in metal with a central boss for added strength. The reverse side generally had one handhold.
Such shields are frequently diagrammatic in art from the Gundestrup cauldron to figurines of warrior gods.
The Battersea shield was recovered from the river in 1855. It was created from many items of sheet bronze hooked up along hidden rivets and a binding strip. The shield measures 30.5 in (77.7 cm) long and 13.7 in (35 cm) in width. It weighs 7.5 lb (3.4 kg). The shield has been dated to between 350 and 50 BCE.
The Witham shield was recovered from the watercourse Witham in Lincolnshire, a European country, in 1826 CE. This bronze shield dates to 400-300 BCE and is in the British Museum. It's an identical type to the Battersea shield - rectangular with rounded corners - and was likewise supposed to be hooked up to a backing of wood or leather. The Witham shield is not as decorative, and therefore the boss and spine are slightly off-center. It measures 43 in (1.09 m) long and 13.5 in (34.5 cm) in width. The shield consists of two sheets and a semi-tubular binding around the edge.
The Chertsey shield was discovered accidentally in 1985 in the Abbey Meads river channel in Surrey, England. It dates back to 400-250 BCE. It measures 33 in (83.6 cm) tall and 18.5 in (46.8 cm) in width. The oval shield weighs 6 lb (2.75 kg). It's the product of bronze and is the sole extant example of an Iron Age shield that was made entirely of bronze while not backing off another material. Composed of nine separate sheets, it has a broad binding around its edge. Less ornamental than either of the shields already mentioned, it has a raised central spine and two little roundels at the top and bottom. The spine rises and widens to surround the shield’s central boss.
The Wandsworth shield was discovered within the River Thames close to Wandsworth, south London, sometime before 1849 CE. It's currently in the British Museum. The circular shield boss measures 13 in (32.8 cm) in diameter, is 1.6 in (4.2 cm) thick and weighs 1.4 lb (0.63 kg). It dates to 350-150 BCE. Inside the wings of the larger birds are little engravings of alternative birds and scroll-like elements. Within the center of the boss there is a depression that probably contained an ornamental piece of glass or coral. The eyes of the birds may even have had some decorative material placed in them.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Celtic sword types then why not take a look at ancient wooden weapons or aboriginal tools and weapons facts.
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