Collective name for a people who once inhabited large parts of western, central and south-eastern Europe and Asia Minor. The name means "the brave", "the exalted" or "the high", in Greek they were called "Keltoi", in Latin "Celtae" or "Galli". They came as far as Palestine and were the enemies of the Israelites mentioned in the Bible as "Galatians". However, the Celts were never a unified people with a supreme leadership, but consisted of many tribes that often rivalled each other. These were, for example, Allobroges, Arvernians, Bituriges, Boians, Helvetians, Haedians and Sequans. The Celtic tribes living in present-day France were collectively called "Gauls". The supreme power among the tribes lay with the Equites (knighthood) and the Druids. The earliest mention of the Celts was in the 5th century BC by Herodotus (482-425 BC). At this time they began to migrate to the Italian Po Valley and the Balkans.
In Italy there were warlike conflicts with the Etruscans. The Celts occupied what is now Lombardy and founded Milan. The cities of Paris, London and Budapest also date back to Celtic foundations. In 387 BC they also defeated the Romans at the Battle of the Allia and sacked Rome. From the beginning of the 3rd century BC, the Romans extended their domain to the Celtic-populated areas of northern Italy. Julius Caesar's...
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