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While textbooks stress the descent of Europe from classical culture the face of Europe throughout most of the historical period was dominated by a single cultural group a powerful culturally diverse group of peoples the Celts By the start of the Middle Ages the Celts had been struck on two fronts by two very powerful cultures Rome in the south and the Germans who were derived from Celtic culture from the north Through the period of classical Greece corresponding to the La Tne culture in central Europe to first centuries AD most of Europe was under the shadow of this culture which in its diverse forms still represented a fairly unified culture This monolithic culture spread from Ireland to Asia Minor the Galatians of the New Testament The Celts even sacked Rome in 390 BC and successfully invaded and sacked several Greek cities in 280 BC Though the Celts were preliterate during most of the classical period the Greeks and Romans discuss them quite a bit usually disfavorably From this great culture would arise the Germans we think and many of the cultural forms ideas and values of medieval Europe For not only did medieval Europe look back to the Celtic world as a golden age of Europe they also lived with social structures and world views that ultimately owe their origin to the Celts as well as to the Romans and Greeks The period of Celtic dominance in Europe began to unravel in the first centuries AD with the expansion of Rome the migrations of the Germans and later the influx of an Asian immigrant population the Huns By the time Rome fell to Gothic invaders the Celts had been pushed west and north to England Wales and Ireland and later to Scotland and the northern coast of France Society The Celts are traditionally ignored in world history textbooks and course but the Celtic way of life Celtic institutions and the Celtic world view
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