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Expansion of The Celts

Watching The Dark
Celtic Moon Rising
Sweeney's Men
Sweeney's Men 1968
Bagpipes and Other Incendinary Devices
Máire Ni Chathasaigh
Old Bridge Music
Celtic Women in Music
The Harp
Loreena McKennitt
The Visit
The Mask and The Mirror
The Book of Secrets
Blue Horses
Dragons Milk and Coal
Ten Leagues Beyond The Wild Worlds End
Folk On The Water
Harvest Storm
A Sense Of Place
Shapes On The Landscape
Dorset Cursus
Wayland's Smithy
Maiden Castle Hill Fort
Expansion of The Celts
Cara Dillon
The Streets Of Derry
The Road Less Traveled
Wild Welsh Women
Isle of Môn
Death of the King's Canary
Siân Phillips, the Welsh Fiddler
Julie Fowlis
mar a tha mo chridhe (as my heart is)
Clan Wallace

 Expansion of The Celts [click for larger image]

1200BC : Start of the Bronze Age Urnfield Culture in central Europe.
1000-750BC : Proto-Celtic people of the Urnfield culture dominate much of Continental Europe. Also start to spread out over northern Asia as far as the frontiers of China. Development of the deliberate smelting of iron in the Middle East and China around the same time. Prompting the title 'The Iron Age' for this period.
700-500BC : Hallstatt culture developes in Austria.
700BC : Early Celts in Austria bury iron swords with their dead.
600BC :  Greeks found the colony of Massilia, opening up trade between the Celts of inland Europe and the Mediterranean. First evidence of Britain having a name - Albion - (albino, white - called after the chalk-cliffs of Dover). A major rebuild of old Bronze Age defences, and construction of new hillforts takes place in Britain.
550-500BC : A princess in Vix (Burgundy) is buried with a 280 gallon bronze Greek vase, the largest ever made. 60 miles away a prince is buried layed out on bronze chais-lounge in a hugh chamber tomb.
500BC : Trade between the Etruscans and the Celts begins. Lá Téne phase of Celtic culture speads through Europe and into mainland Britain. The Greeks record the name of a major tribe - The KELTOI - and this becomes the common name for all of the tribes.
500BC : Celts (the Gaels - from Galicia) arrive in Ireland from Spain.
400-100BC : La Tene culture spreads over Europe and into the British Isles.
400BC : Celts invade Italy and Cisalpine Gaul.
400BC : Celts attack the Etruscan city of Clusium.
390BC : Raiding Celtic tribes under the leadership of Brennus ravage Rome and occupy the city for three months. They demand a ransom to leave the Romans alone. Brennus demands his weight in gold and when the Romans complain he throws his sword on the scales to be weighed as well with the cry "VAE VICTUS" - (Woe to the Vanquished).
335BC : Alexander recieves envoys from the Celts, and exchange pledges of alliance. Large numbers of Celtic warriors join the Greeks in a war against the Etruscans.
323BC : Alexander dies and the Celts push into Macedonia.
279BC : Celtic tribes invade Greece.
275BC : Celts establish the state of Galatia in northern Turkey.

And Contraction

230BC : Galatian Celts defeated in battle by Greek forces in Western Turkey.
225BC : Roman army routs invading Celtic Gauls at Telamon in central Italy.
200BC : The Celts establish permanent fortified settlements (oppida, or towns).
191BC : Cisalpine Gaul is taken by the Romans.
121BC : Rome takes Provence.
100BC : Belgae tribes migrate to Britain to escape Roman domination.
70BC : Druids arrive in Britain and gain control of the ruling classes.
58BC : Julius Caesar is made governor of Provence.
58-51BC : Caesar's Gallic Wars
58BC : Helvettii in Switzerland are attacked by Germanic tribes led by Ariovistus and move to Gaul. Caesar follows them and defeats them at Toulon-sur-Arroux. Dumnorix of the Aedui tries to lead resistance against the Romans and fails.
57BC : Caesar then turned his attention to the tribes of the Belgae and lays seige to their territory. By autumn, Caesar claims that all the Gallic tribes are subjects of Rome.
56BC : The Veneti of Brittany seize two Roman envoys, and make a stand. After a long sea battle, Caesar executed the leaders and sold the men of the tribe into slavery.
55BC : Julius Caesar tries to land in Britain and is pinned down on a beachhead for two months. His cavalry was seasick and was sent back to Gaul. With the aproaching Autumn gales he withdraws from Britain.
54BC :  Caesar prepares another expedition to Britain and attempts to take Dumnorix as a hostage. Dumnorix refuses and the Romans kill him. As he dies he cries "I am a freeman in a free state". Inspired by his actions, Ambiorix of the Eburones leads an attack against the Roman garrison and massacres them. Ambiorix recruits the Belgic tribes, the Nervii and Aduatuci, and lay seige to the garrison at Namur. The attack is so successful that Caesar himself had to lead the relieving army to drive them off.
53BC : The tribes of Gaul unite under the leadership of Indutiomarus of the Treveri. The Celtic army consisted of the Treveri, Senones, Carnutes, Nervii, Aduatuci and Eburones. Indutiomarus attacks Caesar's headquarters at Mouzon and lays seige. After a great fight, the Romans kill Indutiomarus. There then followed a number of uprisings among the tribes and Caesar has to work his way through the tribes putting down revolts. Acco of the Senones and the Carnutes was flogged and then put to death. Ambiorix was trailed by a Roman troop until he disappeared into the Ardennes forest, and was never heard from again.
52BC : A war leader called Vercingetorix emerges to take control of the Celtic army. He maintains a running battle from three successive hill forts. The last one was called Aelisia and Ceasar laid siege for three months with no effect and had to defend himself from from constant attack by the Celtic warriors. Vercingetorix finely surrenders.
45BC : Caesar ordered that Vercingetorix was to be taken to Rome. He was paraded through the streets then executed as a dangerous enemy of Rome.
O : Birth of Christ. (According to the church of Rome under Constantine)
AD38 : Caligula parades Celtic captives through Rome.
AD39 : The Catevaulauni under the Kingship of Cunobelinus and his sons Caratacus and Togidubnus, expand into the Atrebate (Hampshire) and the Trinovante (Suffolk).
AD41 : Petition put in to Rome for assistance, turned down because of the civil wars in Rome.
AD43 : Verica of the Atrebates petitions Claudius to come to Britain to help against the Catevaulauni.
AD 43 : Claudian invasion with four legions under Aulus Plautius. Defeat of Caratacus and capture of Camulodunum. Expansion into the midlands (XX Valeria Victrix and XIV Gemina) and in the east (IX Hispana). Frontier established west of Fosse Way. Caractacus escapes into the Welsh borders and fights the Romans using guerilla tactics. Once it is safe to do so, Claudius comes to Britain in person to claim it for Rome. He rides an elephant into the new town of Londinium, stays for two weeks, then goes back home.
AD47 : New governor, Ostorius Scapula, governor, draws a frontier from the Trent to the Severn. Campaigns in the west (Legio II Augusta under Vespasian).
AD49 : Colonia of Camulodonum (Colchester) founded. And Roman expansion starts into Wales.
AD49-50 : Foundation of Colonia Victricensis at Camulodunum. Mendip lead mines already in Roman hands. Legionary fortresses at Glevum and Lindum. Invasion of South Wales.
AD50 : Caratacus, finally defeated in North Wales, flees to Cartamandua, queen of the Brigantes, and is surrendered to the Romans.
AD52 : New Governor, D. Gallus.
c. AD55 : Didius Gallus, governor, intervenes on the side of Cartimandua in Brigantian civil war.
AD57 : New Governor, Q. Veranius.
AD58 : New Governor, S. Paulinus, attack on N. Wales
AD59-60 : Suetonius clears Britain totally of the Druids, with a final stand on
Ynys Môn (Anglesey).
AD60 : Suetonius Paulinus, governor, attacks Ynys Môn (Anglesey).
AD60 : Pratagustus of the Iceni dies, and the Romans take his lands away from Boudicca.
AD60-61 : Boudicca is elected war leader and leads a revolt agianst the Romans. Icenian revolt under Boudicca suppressed after sack of Camulodunum, Londinium and Verulamium. Boudicca takes her own life, by drinking from a poisoned chalice. 
AD63 : New Governor, T. Maximus.
AD65 : Preparations for campaigns in Wales.
AD66 : One legion (XIV Gemina) withdrawn from Britain.
AD68 : Army in Britain refuses to join the governor, Trebellius Maximus, in revolt against Galba.
AD69 : Romans fail to prevent the defection of the Brigantes.
AD69 : Civil Wars, New Governor, V. Bolanus.
AD71 : New Governor, P. Cerialis.the Romans took control of the North when they defeated the Brigantes, a great Northern Celtic tribe at The Battle of Scotch Corner. Brigantes were Cymraeg-speaking ancient Britons who occupied most of Yorkshire and South Durham and were the largest single tribe in Roman Britain. One of their main forts was just to the north of Scotch Corner at a place called Stanwick St John. When the Romans first arrived in northern Britain, the fort of Stanwick was the most important stronghold of the Brigantes. It was from here that the tribe fought the Romans at the Battle of Scotch Corner.
AD71-74 : Petilius Cerealis, governor, with a new legion (II Adiutrix) conquers the Brigantes. Romans eventually force the Brigantes to abandon the fort at Stanwick in 73 AD. Legionary fortress at Eburacum.
AD74-78 : Sextus Julius Frontinus, governor, subdues Wales and plants garrisons there. Legionary fortresses at Isca and Deva.
AD78 : Julius Agricola, governor, completes the conquest of North Wales and Ynys Môn (Anglesey).
AD79 : Consolidation of Brigantian conquest.
AD80 : Advance to the Central Lowlands.
AD81 : Agricola advances to the Forth/Clyde line.
AD82 : Conquest of south-west Scotland.
AD83-84 : Agricola advances north and defeats the Caledonians at the battle of Mons Graupius. Roman fleet circumnavigates Britain. Legionary fortress at Inchtuthil.
AD84 : After the Battle of Mons Graupius, occupation of N.Scotland.
AD84-85 : Agricola recalled by Domitian.
AD86 : One legion (II Adiutrix) withdrawn from Britain.
c. AD90 : Legionary fortress at Inchtuthil evacuated.
AD90-6 :  Foundation of Lindum Colonia at Lincoln

AD96-8 :  Foundation of Colonia Nervia Glevensis at Gloucester.

AD99-100 :  Legionary fortess at Isca and many auxiliary forts rebuilt in stone.

Scottish forts evacuated.

c.AD103 :  Legionary fortress at Deva rebuilt in stone.

AD107-108 :  Legionary fortress at Eburacum rebuilt in stone.

c.AD117 :  Revolt in north Britain.

AD122 :  Hadrian visits Britain.

Legio IX Hispana replaced by VI Victrix.

Construction of Hadrian's Wall from Tyne to Solway begun by Aulus Platorius Nepos.

AD139-142 :  Q Lollius Urbicus, governor under Emperor Antoninus Pius, advances into Scotland and builds the Antonine Wall across the Clyde-Forth isthmus.

AD155 :  Rebellion in north Britain suppressed by C. Julius Verus.

Antonine Wall temporarily evacuated and Hadrian's Wall recommissioned.

AD161-165 :  Forts rebuilt by Calpurnius Agricola.

Antonine Wall finally evacuated.

AD180-184 :  Further revolt in north Britain subdued by Ulpius Marcellus.

AD193 :  On the assassination of Emperor Commodus, Pertinax, lately governor of Britain, is chosen emperor by the Praetorian Guard but is quickly killed. Empire auctioned to Didius Jukianus who is defeated by Severus.

AD196-197 :  Clodius Albinus, governor of Britain, takes troops from Britain to fight for the throne but is defeated by Severus.

Raids on Britain by the Maetae, a new confederacy of tribes living north of Hadrian's Wall.

AD197 : Virius Lupus restores the situation and rebuilds many forts.

AD205-208 :  Rebuilding of Hadrian's Wall by Alfenus Senecio.

Britain divided into two provinces.

AD208 :  Severus, Geta and Caracalla arrive in Scotland and prepare for northern campaigning.

AD209 :  Severus and Caracalla campaign in Scotland and receive the surrender of the Caledonians.

AD210 :  Revolt of the Maetae and second Scottish campaign.

AD211 :  Emperor Severus dies at York.

Withdrawal to Hadrian's Wall and reorganisation of southern Scotland as a protectorate.

AD212 :  Caracalla extends Roman citizenship to all freeborn provincials.

AD259-274 :  Britain a part of the Gallic Empire of Postumus and his successors who had rebelled against the Emperor Gallienus.

AD275-287 :  Saxon pirates in the Channel.

AD287 :  Carausius, commander of the British fleet, usurps the title of Emperor in Britain and northern Gaul and is temporarily recognised by Diocletian and Maximian.

AD293 : Constantius as Caesar reconquers Carausius' continental possessions.

AD294 : Carausius murdered by Allectus who succeeds him.

AD296 : Britain restored to the legitimate emperors by Constantius who crosses the Channel and defeats and kills Allectus.

Barbarian inroads in the north.

Some forts on Hadrian's Wall and legionary fortressea at Eburacum and Deva rebuilt.

Emperor Diocletian's reorganisation divides Britain into four provinces, separates the military from the civil administration and institutes new military posts.

AD306 :  Constantius, now emperor, with his son Constantine, campaigns in Scotland.

Death of Constantius and proclamation of Constantine as new emperor at York.

AD313 :  Edict of Milan grants toleration to the Christian church.

AD314 :  Three British bishops attend the Council of Arles.

AD330 :  Roman Empire divided into two. Constantinople made capital of the eastern half which becomes the senior partner. Western Emperor subordinate to the Eastern emperor.

AD343 :  Emperor Constans visits Britain and pacifies the Scottish tribes.

AD360 :  Julian, Caesar (emperor in the West) sends Lupicinus to repel raids of Scots (from northern ireland) and Picts from Scotland.

AD364 :  Picts, Scots, Attacotti and Saxons raiding Britain.

AD367 :  Great invasion of Picts, Scots and Attacotti (either Irish or from the western isles) aided by Saxon pirates and a simultaneous attack on Gaul by the Franks from east of the Rhine.

Treachery in Hadrian's Wall garrison. Nectaridus, Count of the Saxon Shore killed and Fullofaudes, Duke of Britain, routed. (Holders of the new military posts mentioned in 296).

AD369 :  Count Theodosius, sent by Emperor Valentinian I, clears Britain of invaders and restores Hadrian's Wall.

Signal stations built on Yorkshire coast.

Fifth British province (Valentia) established.

AD383 :  Magnus Maximus (Duke of Britain) revolts and conquers Gaul and Spain from Emperor Gratian with troops taken from Britain.

AD388 :  Maximus defeated at Aquileia (northern Italy) by Theodosius.

AD395 :  General Silicho improves the defence of Britain.

AD407 : Constantine III, a usurper, strips Britain of troops for his conquest of Gaul and Spain.

AD410 :  Emperor in the West Honorius tells the civitates in Britain to arrange for their own defence.

AD417 :  Possible dispatch of mobile Roman force to south-eastern Britain.

AD429 :  First visit of Bishop St Germanus.

c.AD445 :  Second visit of Germanus.

c.AD446 :  Last appeal of the Romano-Britons to leader in the western Empire, Aetius. No reply.

By 446 numbers of English migrants were settling in eastern England and as a dominant minority gradually achieved a hegemony. Roman Britain ended in fact with a whimper, not a bang. From this point on Celtic Britain ends, or to be more precise Romano-British rule is no more. The Celtic peoples had spent 400 years mixing and marrying with the Romans and all the other peoples that came in smaller numbers from the Empire. For the last 100 years the Saxons had settled the south of England with the Roman forces unable to stop them. In fact the Romans paid the Saxons to keep the peace. When the Empire collapsed and the troops that remained were recalled, they had to run the gauntlet of the Saxon warriors all the way down to the ships on the coast. Many of them were robbed of their possessions on the way through, and some did not make it at all! What was left of the Romano-British in the south of Britain rallied around a military leader for a few years and kept the Saxons at bay. This shadowy figure is what all the Arthurian stories are based on, the rest is legend.

Some of the events listed above can be identified with archaeological discoveries. This is certainly true of construction, reconstructions and refurbishings of buildings that have left remains behind them. Problems arise when we attempt to identify historical personages or political events with the archaeology. But we have more success with this in the Romano-British period than with earlier periods because we do have inscriptions on, for example, tombstones.

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