Were the Celts Germanic?

The Romans, Greeks, and Germanic people are often the first thought about tribes of early European civilization. It might not be easy to figure out the origins of Celts, and some may wonder if the Celts were Germanic. However, Celtic culture is still widely celebrated and practiced today.

The Celts weren’t Germanic. In fact, Germanic tribes displaced Celtic ones in Europe when they migrated. The Germanic people absorbed many of the Celtic peoples, meaning that Germanics were sometimes Celtic, but not the other way around. Today, many Europeans have both Germanic and Celtic heritage.

The history and intertwining of the Celtic people and the Germanic people is an interesting story. This article will discuss it in more detail. 

Germaney bridge
What is the difference between Celtic and Germanic? See below

The Celts and the Germanic People

The Germanic people settled in parts of Europe during the Bronze Age. They were in constant battle with the Romans, who also displaced most of the Celts in Europe. Celtic nations absorbed by Romans or Germanic people either also absorbed the tribes or displaced them. 

For this reason, some people might consider that some Germanic peoples were actually Celts. Those who stayed absorbed the new culture, traditions, and language of the new controllers of their land.

Additionally, there is a possibility that some Germanic people fled to other parts of the country with the Celts, though there is no written record of this. It is impossible to know how many Celts stayed and then became a part of the Germanic people and vice versa.

Germany village
Where did the Celts originally come from? See below

What Is the Difference Between Celts and Germanic?

Though both Celts and Germanics are groups of people who lived in Europe at one time, they are not the same. As established above, they are both distinct groups, and their differences are worth noting. 

The Celts are a people who settled all over Europe with a distinctive language and shared culture, while the Germanic people were originally a separate section of what is now Europe in the Bronze Age. The Germanic people migrated to sections where the Celts were living and took over their land. 

Things like language, religious beliefs, and customs were different between the two groups. Additionally, their characteristics and behaviors were vastly different. However, it’s important to note that much of what is known about the Celts is only provided through the perspective of the Greeks, Romans, and Germanic people. 

The Celts were known for being fierce warriors who often fought naked and kept the heads of their kills. They would sometimes be contracted by other kingdoms to fight and often fought other Celtic tribes.

Though they all shared the same pale skin, Germanic peoples likely had fewer redheads in their groups, as the red hair of Celts took both Greeks, Romans, and others who had written about the early Celts by surprise. 

Where Did the Celts Originally Come From?

The Celts were one of the earliest European tribes documented, and historians still don’t know exactly where they came from. They lived in different parts of Europe, where they shared culture, beliefs, and religion with people living a great distance from any one spot. They often fought other Celts. 

The Celts originally came from central Europe and extended their culture and tribes throughout Europe before being colonized by the Greeks, Romans, and Germanic people. The Celts are thought to have invaded the Britain area of Europe during the Iron Age, around 1000 BC.

It’s possible that the Celtic people originated in the Middle East between 7,000 BC and 2,500 BC before migrating to modern-day Europe. Afterward, the Celts were displaced from their territories, which were widespread throughout Europe, by the Roman empire during the Roman age. 

The only Celts to remain were those in modern-day Scotland because their land was protected by water and thus safe from invading Roman soldiers. 

What did the Celts look like? See below

What Did the Celts Look Like?

The Celts were distinguishable from other Europeans in various ways. Characteristically, they were described by the Romans and Greeks in unflattering lights. However, they also made a note of their tall stature, muscular warriors, and long flowing hair. 

Celts had long hair, either blond or fair, sometimes red, and pale skin. Their noses could be described as long and narrow, and they often had blue eyes. Warriors would spike their hair with lime and lighten it and were described as tall and muscular. 

Additionally, they were coined by the Greeks and Romans as “barbarians” because of their stature and behavior. 

As mentioned above, the information known about the Celts is often biased, as it comes from the tribes and groups of people that were working actively to take their land, absorb their people, and end their culture.

The Romans and Greeks described the Celts as brutal, barbaric, savage people and even contracted their warriors to fight in their wars. The people were tall, and the men were muscular. 

Most men had facial hair, and cutting a person’s beard or their hair was used as an act of public shaming, as hair was closely associated with strength.

Women often practiced hair braiding and gave the noblest women of the tribe the most elaborate braids. [1] Hair could be decorated with metal combs, pins, or bronze. Modern Celts also practice braiding. 

Additionally, the Celtic nations were characterized by the long, flowing hair the people in the nation had, both men and women. Again, their red hair was noted because nothing had been seen like it before. [2]

Most modern-day Celts reside in Scotland, which has the largest population of red-haired people. [3] The traditional dress looked like tunics and belts for men, along with pants and a cloak. [4] Women wore dresses hung together with brooches. 

Warriors sometimes fought naked, with their bodies painted, to intimidate opposing armies. Warriors lightened and spiked their hair and beards to create mohawks before entering battle. Some also painted their body parts with blue paint. 


The Celts were not Germanic, but when the Germanic people colonized parts of Europe and battled against the Romans, they also took over Celtic land. 

[1] Source
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