Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art

Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art

Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art

Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art

Excerpt

This book has come about through the first John Legonna Celtic Research Prize, which was awarded to me by the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth in March 1986. John Legonna (1918-78) was a celtophile whose father was Cornish and his mother Welsh. He had a lifelong commitment to the promotion of the identity of Wales and of all the Celtic countries. In 1971 John Legonna made a gift of his farm and lands at Pen Rhos Fach and ‘Chastell Cadwaladr’ at Llanrhystud near Aberystwyth to the National Library of Wales, in order to establish the John Legonna Celtic Research Prize. This he intended to foster Celtic studies and to enable scholars awarded it to pursue further research within their chosen field. The prize has enabled me to spend several weeks studying Celtic religious iconography in European museums and, consequently, to write Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art. It is for this reason that I have dedicated this book to the memory of John Legonna.

By the later first millennium BC the Celts had occupied much of Europe and had penetrated into Asia Minor, where they settled in Galatia (Map 1). By the early first millennium AD much of this Celtic territory had fallen under Roman domination. This book is primarily concerned with the pagan religious iconography of the main Celtic heartland of Gaul between circa 500 BC and AD 400. Detailed reference is made to Britain but, since the British material is relatively well documented and has been the subject of a number of recent surveys, most of my evidence for the present work has been collected from research in France, the Netherlands, and the Rhineland. The majority of the iconography examined here dates to the period of Roman influence on Celtic lands. My concern here is not with Celtic religion as a whole but with the contribution made by the divine images presented in the iconography to the interpretation of Celtic belief-systems. This is of especial interest because of the conflation of the Roman and Celtic cultures to form a distinctive Romano-Celtic tradition of cult-expression. It is this tradition which forms the focus of the present work.

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.