PC: A civilized ancient Celtic culture?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Ultima Ratio, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. Ultima Ratio The Last Baron

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    I have seen a number of threads about the possibilities of a non-Mediterranean culture developing similarly to Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, etc, but I understand that for such civilizations to rise, you need an urbanized culture developing complex religion, writing and agriculture. Due to the climate and the terrain, this is not really plausible in Northern Europe (present day Germania, Gaul, Pannonia and beyond). The land is too forested, so centralization is harder and big cities are less likely appear, as well as countless other factors.

    But what about the Celts in Cisalpine Gaul? They have contact with Greeks and other, more developed Italian cultures, rule an excellent area for agricultural development and for cities built around trade.

    Does this have potential?
     
  2. Albrecht Physicalist Transhumanist Banned

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    Iberia and Morocco are the best suited.
     
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  3. Ultima Ratio The Last Baron

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    Iberia would have been my second choice, they have room to grow, but wasn't it a rather fringe area of the Mediterranean? Seems to be harder to become involved in trade with the East.
     
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  4. Albrecht Physicalist Transhumanist Banned

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    Not at all. Iberia is very strategic and is easy to trade with the East. There are plenty of Agricultural opportunities, excellent climate and proximity to North Africa.
     
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  5. WilliamOfOckham Frog Emoji

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    ... Celts?

    Anyway, I don't know why you dismiss Gaul so easily. The trade networks there were extensive - nothing like Germania - and centralisation under a powerful chief sometime between the seventh century BC and the Roman conquest would be perfectly plausible.
     
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  6. Albrecht Physicalist Transhumanist Banned

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    I didn't dismiss Gaul. Gaul is also fertile. Just that Iberia is ideal. North Africa can only be used for Trading colonies. Nothing more.
     
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  7. Analytical Engine Monarchist Collectivist Federalist

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    North Africa was pretty fertile until it became deforested.
     
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  8. WilliamOfOckham Frog Emoji

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    I'm so confused as to why we're talking about North Africa in the context of ancient Celtic cultures.
     
  9. A Most Sovereign Lady Princess of the Kingdom of Maryland

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    All civilized means is that your population is acclimated to living in towns and cities. Unsurprisingly, there are Celts who did this.
     
  10. Ultima Ratio The Last Baron

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    But not to the extent of Hellas or even the Fertile Crescent. And this is what I am aiming for. Organized administration and religion. Writing. Advanced masonry. Etc.
     
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  11. StevenIronside Well-Known Member

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    By the time of Julius Caesar the celts of Gaul were auctually becoming quite civilized. They had many small to medium sized cities. If you look to Germania across the rhine however you see less of this though there was the odd city and many towns.
     
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  12. dandan_noodles Well-Known Member

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    Would you have predicted centralized government to mature in mountain-studded peninsulas like Greece and Italy?
     
  13. SunKing105 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe if the Senones destroy the Roman Republic and decide to stay there for some reason, perhaps establishing a settlement refounded on the site of Rome, could classify as a “civilized” Celtic culture given enough time, even though it is a bit of an off the wall POD.
     
  14. twovultures Best leagues are NFL, FIFA, and Shmalkaldic

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    It is easy to be uncivilized when your victorious enemies justify their mistreatment of you by calling you uncivilized.

    But to your point for having literacy and cities-for literacy, there have been claims that the druids opposed writing for their work as religious leaders. A change in doctrine from OTL, perhaps caused by something as simple as a single religious visionary who gets popular, could see the druids adopt writing, and from there the practice becoming more widespread in Gallic culture. Perhaps they could develop their own alphabet, as the Germanic peoples later did with runes.

    For living in cities, I think the seeds for that have already been planted in Celtic politics, where control of trade routes to the Mediterranean world were an important factor for gaining power (and they had towns IOTL). If a powerful chief were to create a permanent fort to guard such a trade route where it existed IOTL (maybe at a choke point in the Rhone valley, for example) then that military outpost could become the basis for a city, as happened several times in the Roman Empire. Of course, getting a standing army to remain quartered in one place would be difficult to achieve, since IIRC the Gauls generally didn't work that way.
     
  15. jocay Ambiguously Brown

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    This was Galatia IOTL. The political elite was heavily influenced by their Hellenized neighbors in Anatolia that Greek names became more common amongst Galatian nobles than Celtic ones. They were also organized into a political league and sent representatives to the capital to legislate. I don't know about you but that sounds pretty civilized to me.
     
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  16. piratedude Pirate Lord of the Great Lakes

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    They already did, if you count ogham (ignoring that it didn't develop until the WRE was falling apart)

    Even still, if its used in the same way runes and ogham were used OTL then there really wouldn't be much written with it. Those alphabets were really only used on monuments and graves. Unless you get someone like Ulfilas or Cryril that go and make an alphabet to help proselytize
     
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  17. Albrecht Physicalist Transhumanist Banned

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    Gaul and Iberia could have given rise to great Celtic Civilizations which could then spread to North Africa. Wonder why this didn't happen in OTL.
     
  18. Byzantion Well-Known Member

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    Maybe a even more hellenized Massilia as economic powerhouse persists and rivals Rome ?
     
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  19. StevenIronside Well-Known Member

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    Excuse me if im wrong but Massilia was a greek colony and was extremly hellinized. Also hes talking about celts having an extremely civilized culture. And they were half way their they just didnt have any righting to our knowledge
     
  20. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    Have an earlier invention of the heavy plough. This, unlike the scratch plough used in the ancient world, was suitable for breaking up the heavier northern soils. IOTL after the heavy plough spread to Europe France and Germany became some of the most populous parts of Europe and supported an advanced civilisation; have some clever Gaul invent the heavy plough several centuries BC, and there's no reason you couldn't see a similar rise in population and cultural sophistication as a result.
     
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