Barbarians. Celts

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The lich would pass to the Otherworld and, according to barbarian belief, continue their life and affairs within the burial mound, retaining their intelligence and even some of the personality of their former existence.

It was believed that if one visited the howe of one's ancestors, one's fate could be revealed by communing with them. This was not a form of necromancy; rather, it was similar to divination or meditation.

It was also believed that if one sat upon a burial howe for an entire night without going insane, one would be gifted with bardic talent; the ability to compose and perform sagas and poetic songs.



Early Barbarian homes were huts - with the Chieftians' hut in the middle. Later stones were used to build homes.

Barbarians enjoyed swimming and outdoor games in summer.

In the winter they played games such as the use of Runes. They belived that the Gods controlled the roll of the dice. (Then again - don't we as we throw the Runes to see our fortunes).

They also enjoyed jewerly making - especially working with stones, leather, wood, and metal.

Women were involved with sewing, weaving, food preparation, brewing, spae-crafting (working magic to protect the family and tribe), and their general tasks. They were as fond of storytelling as were the men; however, many a barbarian woman was secretly thankful when the long winter months were finally over and her lively warrior husband, sons, and brothers were out from under her feet at last.

Most of the people were illiterate - so their folklore was passed down through oral traditions.

Many of the written works including the Kalevala, Beowulf, the legends of King Arthur, the Mabinogion, the poetic Eddas (stories of the elder Gods and heros), and many other sagas were once transmitted through song and poetry until they were written down by literate barbarians or medieval scribes.

There were people called 'skalds' - 'bards' - who could obtain free room and board for the whole winter with a family in exchange for entertainment services, music, and storytelling. Skalds who excelled at this art were in high demand. Skalds who were less than talented were generally presented with a rotten cabbage and sent on their way, if they survived!



The settled Germanic peoples, the Norse, Gauls, Franks, Celts, and Picts, all achieved civilizations which, although never rivalling those achieved by Greece and Rome, could never be thought to be uncultured or uncivilized. Barbarians were not anarchistic.

Their society was similar to that of a monarchy, with the exception that the right of kingship was earned and proven, not inherited. If a king or drighten (warlord) became unfit to rule, it was the duty of the thanes (similar to knights) of the king or drighten to sacrifice him so that fertility would return to the land.

This became known as the ritual "sacrifice of the Sacred King" enacted by most druidic-based faiths.

The progeny of a ruler did not automatically inherit the throne (this was never the case until Carolus Magnus (Charlemagne), first Holy Roman Emperor, established the precedent).

Rather, the ruler's sons (or daughters, if he had no sons) had to prove themselves worthy of leadership before the thanes and people would allow them to accede to the High Seat.

Generally speaking, barbarian society was hierarchically arranged as it was in most cultures of that day. The most noble of the barbarians were the Drighten class, or the class of Kings (depending upon which title was given) A drighten was, basically, a warlord, similar to that of the Japanese Shogun. The terms "drighten" and "king" were interchangable within barbarian culture, depending upon local custom and the size of the ruling area.

Noblewomen were known as "Frowes" (the German word "Frau" for lady derives from this term), and could hold land and reign in the same stead as men, if no males of this class were present, such as the Celtic queen Boadicea (Boudicca).

Generally speaking, a married Frowe was the social leader of a tribe or clan.

Most historical evidence (Owen, Wulfram) points toward females having much autonomy within the Germanic clan.





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QUICK LINKS:

Maya:
Mayan Pyramids in Mexico - Teotihuacan

Easter Island:
Easter Island: stones, history

Celts:
Druids
Celtic Calendar
Runes, Celtic runes
Celtic civilization
Celts, another overview

Inca:
Nazca Lines