Sunday, 21 October 2012

S.A. Paranormal: Who Were the Celt's?

Who were the Celts? 
Written for October 2012
S.A. Paranormal Meet-up
Allen Tiller

The Celts were tribes of people that occupied lands stretching from the British Isles to Gallatia, an area that covered some parts of Spain, England, Europe and Turkey, a very vast community in its prime. 

It is thought the name Celt is derived from the Greek work Keltoi, which is a name given to a tribe in Southern France. Any tribe that had similarities in characteristics was also deemed a Celtic tribe, The Celtic culture, expanded through much of Central Europe,and following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC as far east as central Anatolia(Galatians). 

The Celts were most prominent in the Iron age and Medieval Age, After the expansion of the Roman empire, the Celtic lands were slowly pushed back as the Romans conquered town after town, The Celtic lands were restricted to Ireland and the western and northern parts of Great Britain (Wales, Scotland, Cornwall and the Isle of Man), and to northern France (Brittany) - these are the areas we celebrate as being Celtic today, and the areas where our Celtic stories for this evenings SA Paranormal Meetup stem from 

As an interesting side note: 
The people who made up the various tribes of concern were called Galli by the Romans and Galatai or Keltoi by the Greeks, terms meaning barbarian. It is from the Greek Keltoi that Celt is derived. Since no soft c exists in Greek, Celt and Celtic and all permutations should be pronounced with a hard k sound. 

It is interesting to note that when the British Empire was distinguishing itself as better and separate from the rest of humanity, it was decided that British Latin should have different pronunciation from other spoken Latin. Therefore, one of these distinguishing pronunciation-al differences was to make many of the previously hard k sounds move to a soft s sound, hence the Glasgow and Boston Celtics. It is the view of many today that this soft c pronunciation should be reserved for sports teams since there is obviously nothing to link them with the original noble savagery and furore associated with the Celts. 

Our main focus will be Cornwall – or Kernow, to give it its Celtic name, because of its close association with Kapunda's heritage 
Map Kernow, at the entrance way to Kapunda, South Australia

Cornwall is without doubt a region of ancient mystery, where prehistoric stone circles, enchanted pools, abandoned ruins and sea-sprayed cliff tops come together to form one of the last bastions of Celtic England. 

Cornwall is a land of magic and mystery, this is the lands where King Arthur was supposedly conceived in Tintagel Castle, and also the place, at Bodmon Moor, that King Arthur's sword Excalibur was cast by his loyal lieutenant Sir Beldivere on the orders of the dying King. A hand and arm rose up from the surface of the lake, clad in the white samite, caught the sword and drew it underneath. 

The landscape of Cornwall lends well to stories of magic, hauntings and creatures of the night. Churches stand next to low lying wetlands, known as “Moors”, where heavy fogs roll in at night, lending an eerie feeling to an already creepy setting. Castle ruins sit covered in moss, memories of former days of glory...

Cornwall was a mining community, with vast amounts of tin being mined from there, and from the mines came supernatural stories of “the knockers”, mysterious creatures that would wreak havoc in the mines if any miner didn't leave a small portion of his meal behind for them. Knockers also hated to to be sworn or shouted at, and would bring considerable bad luck to any miner who did so. These small creature often acted in a manner we would recognise today as a polteregiest, moving equipment, stealing objects even causing mines to collapse. 

The Cornish came up with a solution to keep the knockers friendly, Cornish Pasties! - The Cornish pasty was made to give the miners a hearty midday meal as they would be down in the mine most of the day, and coming back up for lunch generally was not an option. 

It was quite common for miners to leave a piece of the crust of their meal in a dark corner of the mine as a peace offering to the dreaded Knockers in the hope that it would persuade them to spare the one who had left the offering from any malicious activity. 

there are many other stories from Cornwall about sprites, piskies, fairies and small people, but we wont go into depth here, instead a link will be offered at the end of this blog entry 

Many tales we know today are woven from the fabric of Cornwalls past, The legends of King Arthur, Tristan and Iseult, and Jack the giant Killer top name but a few... 

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