Map of the Celtic Kingdoms
Click on the image to see enlargement

A very brief history of the Celts

Celts were groups of people living in the central and western Europe during the  6th century BCE. Greek writers in the 5th century called them as KELT (plural Keltoi) referring to their language hence the name Celts.  Latin word for them was CELTA (plural Celtae). Celts' origins might be from bronze age (c.2000 BCE) population of Urnfield culture of northern Alps and iron age (1200-450 BCE) peoples of Hallstatt culture. Celts spread out of central Europe in two waves. First wave (c.1000-700 BCE) spread them across western europe to present day Spain. Second wave of migration spread the Hallstatt culture across present day France, Germany and British Isles by 500 BCE but not to Spain. The earlier celtic migrants to Spain assimilated with the Iberians and are called Celtiberians.

Around  450 BCE,  a new culture emerged from the Celts of western Europe. It is called  "La Tène" by the modern archeologists with its distinctive style of art with abstract geometric designs and stylized bird and animal forms. It spread through the trade contacts and migrations of celts across the european continent from northern Spain to Danube river delta in the east and Po valley of Italy in south to British Isles in the north.

Celts were exposed to Greek coins when Greek city states of Italy and Kingdom of Macedon employed the celtic warriors as mercenaries during the fifth century BCE. These Celtic tribes of Gaul started issuing their own coins by the third century BCE. The early celtic coins were imitations of gold coins of King Philip II of Macedon or Greek city states of Tarentum and Syracuse. Later,  abstract designs of celtic art were used on the coins.

 There were approximately 125 different Celtic tribes in Europe and most produced coinage.  Celtic coins were struck in gold, silver and bronze. Cast coins were produced using tin alloy called potin. Celtic coins were cast or struck with abstract designs of  warriors, horses, wild boars and geometric patterns. Geometric patterns appear naturally in nature in trees, plants, and flowers. We can learn much about geometry by studying everyday items like coins and the floral designs in an Avas Flowers bouquet. The mathematical concepts of the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Numbers are found not only in Avas Flowers but also in other natural spiral shapes like pinecones and shells.

It had been difficult to attribute  early celtic coins to any tribe because the early  coins were imitations of Greek or Roman coins.  Later coins were issued with legends but they were the names of tribal chieftains. Celtic tribes were on a constant move throughout the history. It is difficult to attribute the early coins to a region or a tribe. Since Roman invasions of Gaul by Caesar, the names of the tribes and their locations were available for historians.

Early Celtic coin images that imitatied Greek and Macedonian coins are displayed in separate pages.  Celtic coins of later period are broadly arranged based on the geographical regions and the tribes that  existed in these regions during early Roman Empire.

Click on this hyperlink for Alphabetical list of all Celtic tribes

Imitations of Macedon coins.

Philip II          Alexander III       Philip III

Imitations of Greek City States' coins of  Italy and  Sicily.

Imitations of Roman coins.

Anonymous issues.

Geographical distribution of some major Celtic tribes
(click on the links below to see the coins)



Arecomici/Volcae ArecomiciCadurci         Elusates           Longostaletes          Nitiobroges         PetrocoriiRutenni        Sotiates            Tectosages/Volcae Tectosages            Tolosates


Andecavi        Aulerci BiocassesCenomani       Coriosolites          Eburovices          Lexovii          Namenetes            Osismii            Redones          Veneti


Ambiani          Atrebates       Atuatuci        Bellovaci/Bellouaci     Caletes     Catuslugi      Euburones      Leuci       Lingones       Mediomatrici       Meldi       Menapii        Morini / Morines
Nervii       Remi         Senones       Sequani      Suessiones         Treveri  / Treuiri        Veliocasses         Viromandui


Atrebates          Belgae          Cantii           Catuellauni/Catuvellauni      Corieltaui/Corieltavii              Coritani            Dobunni / Bodunni         Durotrige           Iceni           Trinouantes/Trinovantes


Castulo            Gallaeci            Lusitanii


Allobroges Boii  Insubres  SaluviiVocontii


Aedui        Aruerni /Arverni       Bituriges /Cubi    Carnutes Durocasi         Lemovices         Lingones         Namnates         Parisii        Pictones        Santones    Senones       Turones




Cotini          Oltenia         Scordisci


Helvetii / Heluetii / Eluetii                     Vindelici


Alphabetical list of all Celtic tribes.

Abrincatui        Acitauones        Aduatuci        Aedui        Agessinates         Albici Allobroges        Ambarri       Ambiani      Ambibarii        Ambilatri        Ambiuareti        Anagnutes

  Andecavi      Andes        Antobroges  Arecomici/Volcae Arecomici         Articlaui    Atuatuci   Aruerni /Arverni        Aruii        Atacini        Atasgoduni     Atrebates (Belgica)

  Atrebates (Britanica)Aulerci           Aulerci Brannouices       Aulerci Cenomani        Aulerci Diablintes        Aulerci Eburouices        Aureliani        Ausci     Baiocasses / Badiocasses        Bantianae

Basaboiates / Uasates / Uocates     Bautae        Belendi Gironde      Bellovaci       Bercorates        Bigerriones / Begerri   Belgae    Bituriges /Cubi         Bituriges / Uiuisci        Boates        Bodiocasses  Boii

 Bouiates / Boiates     Brannouices        Brigiani / Brigantes        Britanni        Briuates        Bucconae  CadurciCaletes         Cambolectri Agessinates        Cambolectri Atlantici        Camponi  Canti     Carnutes

Carvtii / Caruetii  Castulo           Caturiges          Catuslugi           Catuuellauni/Catuvellauni   Cenomani         Ceretani        Cersiaci        Ceutrones        Cocosates Sexsignani        Condeates         Consoranni

Conuenae        Coriosolitae / Coriosopites / Coriosultes / Coriosolites     Corieltaui/Corieltavii         Coritani         Cotini         Couaroi        Datii        Dexiuates        Diablintes  Dobunni / Bodunni

Durocasi   Durotriges        Eburiates        Eburouices      Eleuteti        Elusates        Esuuii        Gabali / Gabales        Gabalitani        Gaballi        Gallitae        Garumni      Lactorates        Lassuni

        Latobici           Gates/Garites/Gabites        Geidumni       Glanici        Graiocell        Helvetii / Heluetii / Eluetii        Iceni          Insubres           Lucteri Cadurci         Luteuani     Lemouices

          Leuaci      Leuci         Lexouii    LemovicesLingones    Ligurians         Lingones         Longostaletes         Mandubii           Mediomatrici          Medulli       Meldi          Nitiobroges

Menapii       Morini      Namnates / Samnitae        Nantuates Narbonnaise       Nemaloni        Nematuri        Nemes        Nemesii           Nervii / Neruii

Oltenia      Onesi / Monesi        Onobrisates       Oscidates     Oscidates     Osismii / Ostiones     ParisiiPetrocorii        Pictaui        Pictones        Pinpedunni         Pleumoxii        Preciani

Ptianii       Rauraci        Redones / Redonae           Regni        Remi        Rotomagi        Ruteni        Saii        Santones        Santoni        Sebaginni        Sediobouiates       Sedunni        Segobrigi

Segouellauni        Segusiaui        Senates / Sennates         Senones  Sequani              Sesuii        Sibusates / Sibylates        Sigesterii        Siluanectes / Sulbanectes        Sogioni        Sogionti        Sordones

Sotiates        Sucassae     Suessiones     Sueuconi        Tarbelli Quattuorsignani        Taurisci/Tarusates       Tasconi      Tectosages       Tolosates        Tornates          Treveri       Triboci / Treboci

Tricasi / Tricasini / Tricasines        Tricastini        Tricorii / Tricores        Trinouantes/Trinovantes        Tritolli        Triulatti / Triulacti         Turones/Turonii        Uadicasi        Uassei

Ucenni        Ueliocasses      Uellates / Suellates        Uellaui        Uellaui        Ueliocasses          Uellauni        Uenami / Uenarni        Ueneti        Uertamocorii        Uesunnici        Uiducasses

Uiromandui / Ueromandui          Umbranici        Unelli / Uenelli       Uocontii        Urinci        Veliocasses Vendelici           VenetiVocontii           Volcae Tectosages

References:  Herm, Gerhard.  The Celts
                    Caesar, Julius.  De bello gallico (Gallic Wars)  Translator W. A. McDevitte Translator W. S. Bohn.
                    Strabo, The Geography.  English translation by H. L. Jones: Harvard University Press, 1917 thru 1932.
                    Livius, Titus. The History of Rome, Translator: Rev. Canon Roberts. J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., London, 1905.
                    Pliny the Elder, The Natural History (eds. John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A.) London.


Ancient Country List


RK. July  6, 1999
Revised  October 19, 2005