Celts Vs Vikings – An Overall Comparison

Two intriguing historical communities, Celts vs Vikings – An overall comparison, were among the largest ethnic groups in Europe during the Medieval era, Renaissance times, and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

They were unlike the legendary Egyptian or Babylonian dynasties, which had magnificent structures, vast lands, and massive systematic civilizations. They are hugely influential in changing the course of Europe and are known for their unmatched ferocity and prevalent culture.

For centuries, they have always been in constant fusion, and people have always enjoyed comparing them. Although cultures have practically disappeared over thousands of years, they may capture the fantasy and provoke various sentiments in current people.

Let’s find out about these two amazing ethnic groups. 

Who Were Celts

The Celts were a group of tribes from central Europe that spoke the same language and had similar religious beliefs, traditions, and cultures. It is thought that as early as 1400 B.C., the Celtic civilization started to emerge.

The Celts were Indo-European people who ruled central and northern Europe as the most powerful and important people. They originated in Austria, Switzerland, France, and Spain, and moved westward over time, eventually settling in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The Celts dominated much of the European continent north of the Alps Mountain range by the third century B.C., including modern-day Ireland and Great Britain. The Celts were the most dominant people in approximately 750 B.C. until 12 B.C.

What About Vikings

The seafaring young men, known as the Vikings or Norsemen, mostly from Scandinavia, attempted to build their lives from 800 AD to the 11th century via attacking coastal locations, seizing land, plundering, trading, and mercenary.

They would leave their imprint as pirates, raiders, traders, and settlers on most of Britain and Europe and areas of modern-day Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland during the following three centuries.

Though there are references in historical documents of Finnish, Estonian, and Saami Vikings, the majority of the Vikings whose actions are best known originate from the territories now known as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. 

How Vikings and Celts Were Similar

The Vikings and the Celts were diverse ethnic communities that resided on the British Isles and had a hundred years of the feud. In contemporary Britain, the so-called Anglo-Saxons are ancestors of Vikings and Celts.

Celts and Vikings were not ‘civilized’ in the local sense of the word, and what differentiated them from the European people was that they were not Christians, having arrived from a faraway land.

They were split up into separate clans or groups. Both were polytheists, and several of their gods were nearly identical (Odin/ Wotan). They shared a lot of the same habits and values. Both of them used animal products to create clothing and accessories. Most of them subsequently converted to Christianity.

Apart from that, there aren’t many cultural parallels between these tribes. Even though both of these clans bred formidable warriors and enthralled many Europeans with their unique braided hair and clothing, you can tell them apart in broad daylight. 

Comparing Celts And Vikings

People sometimes get confused about Vikings and Celts, two European ethnic groups we are talking about. With all the mythologies, stories, and mysteries, Celts and Vikings are still alive in the core of western culture. 

We’ve compiled a list of differences between these fascinating ethnic tribes. 

Appearing In The Timeline Of The Medieval History

In the 7th or 8th centuries B.C., the presence of the Celts was first recorded. The Celts were referred to as “Galli” (barbarians) by the Roman Empire, which dominated much of southern Europe at the time.

Armed invaders assaulted the vulnerable monastery of St Cuthbert on Lindisfarne in 793 A.D., bringing dread to the coast of North Umbria. The Vikings, seaborne pirates from Scandinavia who preyed on coastal villages in north-western Europe for more than two centuries, made their first known attack.

The Way of Life

The Celts had a druid-structured community, which impacted their culture and administration. Like most Iron Age people, Celtic people spent the majority of their time in rural, agricultural activities. The Celts worshiped and committed to a wide variety of gods, and their kingdoms became republics simultaneously.

 

Similarly, life among the Vikings had a much more mundane, daily aspect to it. Because of the geography and environment of Scandinavia, the Vikings were primarily farmers. 

People manufactured and sold goods, tended crops and animals, cooked and cared for their dwellings, drank, gambled, and went to the marketplace. The Vikings, on the other hand, had a long history of sailing, but the Celts did not. 

The Vikings were merciless invaders who were always on the move and swiftly expanding (offensive barbarians). 

Still, the Celts were sluggish and cautious in their growth and were frequent targets for growth, leading them to be “defensive barbarians.” 

Berserkers were available to the Vikings but not to the Celts. Unlike the Vikings, the Celts had chariots and wood horsemen.

‘More Civilized’

With their tattoos and wood raids, one might claim that the Celts were more visually “rustic,” but the Vikings were more savage and barbaric, undoubtedly. The Celts were far more sophisticated than we sometimes give them credit for. 

They developed cities, utilized chariots, and had a comprehensive trading system. The Celts were equally as advanced as the Romans, according to the evidence. As an example of their agricultural prowess, they possessed a piece of sophisticated harvesting equipment. 

They weren’t very calm, to be sure. They sacked both Rome and Delphi at various periods, and at one point, they were more powerful than the Romans. 

Due to a scarcity of resources, human resources, and land, people in Nordic countries were eager to travel across the ocean, trade with other nations, and establish new colonies. 

As a result, Vikings developed an adventurous disposition and a spirit of exploration. Viking’s pillage monasteries, churches, and other susceptible locations throughout the shores of England and the European continent in the early Age of Piracy, not just as invaders, plunderers, or conquerors, but also as explorers, adventurers, and traders.

Celts were more cultured than Vikings, thanks to their trade and interaction with the Latin world (Rome). Their quality of life was higher since their lands were wealthier and more productive, not only in agriculture but also in livestock.

Also, by the time the Vikings attacked the Celts in the ninth century, the Celts were far from barbarians. The Celts were likewise Christianized long before the Vikings. 

Art and Influences

The Celts’ art is known for its decorative craftsmanship, including repeating patterns, spirals, knots, flora, and animal shapes. Because of these distinguishing characteristics, Celtic art is relatively straightforward to recognize, although the Celts themselves are more difficult to describe.

On the other hand, Viking Art is very ornamental and may be seen in both realistic and abstract forms. To detect and comprehend its decorations, one must have a highly trained eye. The majority of Viking art was applied art, meaning it was mainly employed to decorate things used for practical purposes. 

Various people may notice parallels between Viking and Celtic designs, which can be explained by reciprocal effects from Viking colonies and fortresses that flourished in many parts of the Northern British Isles for hundreds of years.

For a long time, the Vikings and the Celts coexisted amicably and closed to one another. Despite their profound connections, there are significant distinctions between Viking and Celtic art.

Viking art’s asymmetric and chaotic nature, typified by a swirling cauldron of surface decoration of primarily stylized animals or, more accurately, zoomorphic patterns, is one of the fundamental stylistic distinctions.

However, the Celtic appreciation of flowing shapes is evident in both the outlines of artworks and their ornamentation. They made use of increasingly intricate floral motifs, abstract patterns, and whirling interconnecting lines.

While western influences did not dramatically alter the Viking style, it is undeniable that Celtic/European influences impacted the Viking heritage and style. In medieval Britain, Celtic art merged with Anglo-Saxon and Viking art in the same way.

Disappearance

The Celts essentially vanished from Continental Europe due to several waves of invention, invasion, and other changes, with the Roman Empire bearing a significant share of the blame. The Celts mixed with the indigenous peoples as well as later visitors to the area. 

The Vikings came to an end when the Northmen stopped raiding. While the particular fate of the last Vikings in Greenland remains a mystery, the primary causes of their disappearance are clear: their obstinacy in relying on a pastoral economy, environmental harm they caused, climatic change, and the deterioration of their commercial and social ties with Europe.

FAQs

Is it True That Vikings Raided the Celts?

The reality is that raids occurred in both directions, and the Norse had every cause to fear their Celtic neighbors. There were Viking attacks reported in Wales, as well as traces of minor colonies. 

The Norse were finally driven out of Scotland. But ultimately, Celts and the Vikings had to get along.

Are The Celts considered Vikings?

Celts were not generally Vikings, but Norse Gaels were created by inter-marital interaction and cultural interaction between the Celtic and the Norse Vikings. Most Icelanders and Faroes are North Viking ancestors and Celtic slave women kidnapped from England and Germany.

Final Thoughts

Well, there were numerous distinctions and many parallels between the Celts vs Vikings – An overall comparison. If we go back far enough in history, they would have been nearly identical, yet clans and communal lifestyles were different.

While I may have overlooked some specifics, I hope you now understand the substantial differences between Celts and Vikings and can compare them.  

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