This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
In dealing with the subject of 'Celtic Religion' the first duty of the writer is to explain the sense in which the term 'Celtic' will be used in this work. It will be used in reference to those countries and districts which, in historic times, have been at one time or other mainly of Celtic speech. It does not follow that all the races which spoke a form of the Celtic tongue, a tongue of the Indo European family, were all of the same stock. Indeed, ethnological and archaeological evidence tends to establish clearly that, in Gaul and Britain, for example, man had lived for ages before the introduction of any variety of Aryan or Indo European speech, and this was probably the case throughout the whole of Western and Southern Europe. Further, in the light of comparative philology, it has now become abundantly clear that the forms of Indo European speech which we call Celtic are most closely related to those of the Italic family, of which family Latin is the best known representative. From this it follows that we are to look for the centre of dissemination of Aryan Celtic speech in some district of Europe that could have been the natural centre of dissemination also for the Italic languages. From this common centre, through conquest and the commercial intercourse which followed it, the tribes which spoke the various forms of Celtic and Italic speech spread into the districts occupied by them in historic times. The common centre of radiation for Celtic and Italic speech was probably in the districts of Noricum and Pannonia, the modern Carniola, Carinthia, etc., and the neighbouring parts of the Danube valley. The conquering Aryan speaking Celts and Italians formed a military aristocracy, and their success in extending the range of their languages was largely due to their skill in arms, combined, in all probability, with a talent for administration. This military aristocracy was of kindred type to that which carried Aryan speech into India and Persia, Armenia and Greece, not to speak of the original speakers of the Teutonic and Slavonic tongues.