Most people associate the Celts with the British
Islands, but they were spread over most of the European continent
and even penetrated as far east as Asia Minor in 278 BC. The Celts
were a force to be reckoned with until the rise of Roman power and
they even sacked Rome in 385 BC.
Although eventually incorporated into the Roman Empire, the Celts
continued to worship their own Gods and Goddesses and it was only
when the Romans officially adopted Christianity that the Celtic
mythology started to wane. The Christian church did its utmost to
destroy Celtic religions and mythology and most of what we now know
about Celtic culture come from Ireland, a country that was never
under Roman control.
However, the church found it no easy task to submit the Celts to
its control and eventually incorporated Celtic Gods and Goddesses
into the church as Saints and built churches on places used for
Celtic worship and rituals. This was a clever ploy as the Celts
distrusted script and relied on speech and memory to pass on their
culture and Christianity eventually replaced Celtic mythology.
The Celts believed in Reincarnation, and to them the Otherworld
was a paradise, rather than the dismal abode of the dead of the
Greeks and Romans. The Otherworld was thus a place where souls could
rest prior to their rebirth into the world. Celtic mythology is
filled with bitter wars and feuds and it is this infighting that
kept them from uniting against foreign foes. This eventually led
to their downfall.
The Arthurian legends are from the dying days of the Celtic period
and it is not sure whether Arthur was an historical or mythical
figure, nor weather it took place in Britain or France. Be it as
it may, Arthur's departure to Avalon signaled the end of the age