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In Britain and Ireland this decline moved more slowly, but traditional culture was gradually eroded through the pressures of political subjugation; today the Celtic languages are spoken only on the western periphery of Europe, in restricted areas of Ireland, Scotland, Wales , and Brittany in this last instance largely as a result of immigration from Britain from the 4th to the 7th century ad.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the unsettled and uneven history of the Celts has affected the documentation of their culture and religion.

Two main types of sources provide information on Celtic religion: the sculptural monuments associated with the Celts of continental Europe and of Roman Britain, and the insular Celtic literatures that have survived in writing from medieval times. Both pose problems of interpretation. Most of the monuments, and their accompanying inscriptions, belong to the Roman period and reflect a considerable degree of syncretism between Celtic and Roman gods; even where figures and motifs appear to derive from pre-Roman tradition, they are difficult to interpret in the absence of a preserved literature on mythology.

Only after the lapse of many centuries—beginning in the 7th century in Ireland, even later in Wales—was the mythological tradition consigned to writing, but by then Ireland and Wales had been Christianized and the scribes and redactors were monastic scholars.

Celtic spirituality and the environment

Given these circumstances it is remarkable that there are so many points of agreement between the insular literatures and the continental evidence. This is particularly notable in the case of the Classical commentators from Poseidonius c. Celtic religion. Article Media. Sort by: type date. Works authored Ireland in the medieval world, AD — landscape, kingship and religion.

Myths of British ancestry

Subjects covered include the king, the kingdom and the royal household; religion and customs; free and unfree classes in society; exiles and foreigners. The rural, urban, ecclesiastical, ceremonial and mythological landscapes of early medieval Ireland anchor the history of early Irish society in the rich tapestry of archaeological sites, monuments and place-names that have survived to the present.


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Tara: a select bibliography. Landscapes of cult and kingship.

Celtic Studies – History

The Irish Franciscans, — The kingship and landscape of Tara. Bhreathnach, Edel [ed. Benedictine influence in Ireland in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries: a reflection.

How did the Celtic Nations Dominate Europe and Beyond? People of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and More

The contribution of the Benedictines declined as the twelfth century progressed and as other orders such as the Cistercians and Augustinians expanded their influence. Finally, the study assesses the possible contribution of continental Irish Benedictine foundations and proposes that literature produced in these monasteries should be read primarily as Benedictine narratives written in the context of continental ecclesiastical and order politics.

Feasting, royal circuits and the king's court in early Ireland. Temoria: caput Scotorum?

Medieval Scotland & Ireland: overcoming the amnesia

Killeshin: an Irish monastery surveyed. Communities and their landscapes. The kings of Dublin and Leinster before the battle of Clontarf.