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The Last Days of Celts on the Middle Danube

Tadhg Gaelach

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Traditionally, the end of Celtic being in Central Europe and on Middle Danube was connected with power struggle between Celts and Dacians lead by king Burebista from south-east and gradual influx of old Germans from the north-west. During the 20th century, archaeologists formed detailed concept of 1st century BCE that was marked by the profound changes in the Celtic society. It seemed there can’t be anything to challenge traditional views. New excavations conducted between years 2008-2010 and 2013-2014 on Bratislava castle, former acropolis of mighty Celtic oppidum on Middle Danube, brought us new evidences of unprecedented level of interaction between local Celts and Mediterranean civilization. Well preserved remains of Celto-Roman stone architecture, mosaics, poured floors and evidences of direct imports e.g. amphorae, Roman Republican coins or glass – these complex archaeological situations made us reconsider traditional theories. We are offering a new vision where we see Celts as a flexible society which is constantly changing in order to adopt to new geopolitical and economic realities. We think that Celts were not passive constituents watching from the periphery and blindly following and mimicking Roman culture but we see them as active participants, selecting certain cultural patterns from Roman world while keeping enough of their own cultural traditions. This attitude explains their non-problematic integration into future Roman Empire, which expended its borders to Middle Danube in first century AD.

 
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