Animals in Celtic Life and Myth by Miranda Green

By Miranda Green

In Animals in Celtic lifestyles and fable, Miranda eco-friendly attracts on facts from early Celtic records, archaeology and iconography to contemplate the way during which animals shaped the foundation of intricate rituals and ideology. She finds that animals have been endowed with a very excessive prestige, thought of by way of the Celts as important of admire and admiration.

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Leather was an important commodity in Celtic life. Strabo184 refers to the export of hides from Britain to the Roman Empire. Cattle hides must have been in the greatest demand: leather was used for containers, shoes, clothing, saddles and harness, fish-net floats and boats. Originally the river coracles of Wales and the Irish sea-going curraghs were made of hides mounted upon a wooden framework. Pliny185 refers to the Britons using boats of osier covered with stitched hides. Julius Caesar186 alludes to the use, among the Veneti of northwest Gaul, of leather sails.

On many north Gaulish settlements, the cattle represented by the adult bone remains are mainly cows, the bull-calves having been killed off when they were young. This occurred, for instance, at Epiais-Rhus and at Villeneuve-Saint-Germain (Aisne). Cows were kept for milk and for breeding; a few bulls would be retained to maintain the stock; the rest would be oxen raised for traction. 38 It was the Germans whom these Mediterranean writers saw as the great cattle-owners and herdsmen. Caesar says ‘.

They may, also, have made yoghurt and, despite Strabo’s comment about the Britons, it is almost certain that they produced cheese. In his Natural History, Pliny148 alludes to cheesemaking among the Gauls, and observes that the Romans ate cheese imported from the provinces, particularly from the area of Nîmes. He especially mentions goat’s cheese. 149 Butter may also have been made, and used in cooking and flavouring. Both cheese and butter were presumably discovered in antiquity by accident: by chance observation of curdling milk in the case of cheese, and by the agitation of milk in the case of butter.

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