Celtic Quotes

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"We live in two worlds... the world into which we were born, and the otherworld that was born within us. Both may be a blessing or a curse. We choose." , attributed as a Druid homily.

"Vae Victus!" Brennus, Celtic general In 390 BC, an army of Gauls led by Brennus attacked Rome, capturing all of the city except for the Capitoline Hill, which was successfully held against them. Brennus besieged the hill, and finally the Romans asked to ransom their city. Brennus demanded 1000 pounds (327 kg) of gold, and the Romans agreed to his terms.  Livy, in Ab Urbe Condita 5.34-49, records that the Gauls provided steelyard and weights, and the Romans brought out their gold. But the Romans noticed that the weights were counterfeited, and dared to notify Brennus about the issue. Brennus took his sword, threw it on to the weights, and exclaimed: "Vae victis!", for the conquered have no rights, forcing the Romans to bring even more gold to fulfill their obligation. (submitted by Curtis Cignetti)

54 BCE -  Caesar prepares another expedition to Britain and attempts to take Dumnorix as a hostage. Dumnorix refuses and the Romans kill him. As he dies he cries "I am a freeman in a free state". Inspired by his actions, Ambiorix of the Eburones leads an attack against the Roman garrison and massacres them. Ambiorix recruits the Belgic tribes, the Nervii and Aduatuci, and lay siege to the garrison at Namur. The attack is so successful that Caesar himself had to lead the relieving army to drive them off.

83 CE "Think, therefore, as you advance to battle, at once of both your ancestors and of your posterity."...Calgucus,  Celtic general at Mons Grapius, Scotland before the battle with the Roman Agricolapictish warriors by Jeane Granada Coutts

"I did not undertake the war for private ends, but in the cause of national liberty..." Vercingetorix to Caesar

 

"The Celts were fearless warriors because "they wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from one body to another..." Julius Caesar


"The Romans... were terrified by the fine order of the Celtic host, and the dreadful din, for there were innumerable horn -blowers and trumpeters, and... the whole army were shouting their war-cries... Very terrifying too were the appearance and the gestures of the naked warriors in front, all in the prime of life and finely built men, and all in the leading companies richly adorned with gold torcs and armlets." ...Polybius, 2nd century BC .

"The whole race, which is now called Gallic or Galatic, is madly fond of war, high-spirited and quick to battle, but otherwise straightforward and not of evil character. For at any time or place and on whatever pretext you stir them up, you will have them ready to face danger, even if they have nothing on their side but their own strength and courage."... Strabo, Roman historian.

"Golden is their hair and golden their garb. They are resplendent in their striped cloaks, and their milk-white necks are circled with gold."
-- Virgil, 1st century B.C. poet

"Physically the Celts are terrifying in appearance, with deep sounding and very harsh voices. In conversation they use few words and speak in riddles, for the most part hinting at things and leaving a great deal to be understood. They frequently exaggerate with the aim of extolling themselves and diminishing the status of others. They are boasters and threateners and given to bombastic self-dramatization, and yet they are quick of mind and with good natural ability for learning." ...Diodorus Siculus, first century B.C.

"We have no word for the man who is excessively fearless; perhaps one may call such a man mad or bereft of feeling, who fears nothing, neither earthquakes nor waves, as they say of the Celts"...Aristotle

"Their armor includes man-sized shields decorated in individual fashion. Some of them have projecting bronze animals of fine workmanship... On their heads they wear bronze helmets which possess large projecting figures lending the appearance of enormous stature to the wearer. In some cases horns form one part with the helmet, while in other cases it is relief figures of the foreparts of birds or quadrupeds. Their trumpets again are of a peculiar barbaric kind...and produce a harsh sound which suits the tumult of war. Some have iron breast-plates of chain- mail, while others fight naked.".. Diodorus Siculus. V.30.2 -3: 1st century BC

 

Graphic by Peter Connolly F.S.A.

"They are tall in stature, with rippling muscles under clear white skin, they look like wood demons" - Diodorus Siculus, 25 BC

Esus/Cu Chulainn

"I can not be a traitor, for I owe him no allegiance. He is not my Sovereign; he never received my homage; and whilst life is in this persecuted body, he never shall receive it. To the other points whereof I am accused, I freely confess them all. As Governor of my country I have been an enemy to its enemies; I have slain the English; I have mortally opposed the English King; I have stormed and taken the towns and castles which he unjustly claimed as his own. If I or my soldiers have plundered or done injury to the houses or ministers of religion, I repent me of my sin; but it is not of Edward of England I shall ask pardon."- William Wallace himself, according to the King's Justice, Sir Peter Mallorie, who was "trying" him as a traitor on August 23, 1305.

This is a portion from The Declaration of Arbroath 1320 which set the will and wishes of the people (Scots) above the King and affirmed the nation's independence in a way no battle could, and justified as truth that is beyond nation and race. It is also a source for the USA Declaration of Independence.
Quote ".....for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honors the we are fighting, but for freedom -for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with his life....." unquote from the English translation.

 

It is just before Bannockburn: -

"When this was said –
The Scottismen commonally
Kneelt all doun, to God to pray,
And a short prayer, there made they,
To God to help them in that ficht.
And when the English king had sicht
Of them kneeland, he said in hy:
‘Yon folk kneel to ask mercy.’
Sir Ingram said: ‘Ye say sooth now,
They ask mercy, but not of you;
For their trespass to God they cry:
I tell you a thing sickerly,
That yon men will win or die;
For doubt of deid (fear of death) they sall not flee.
"

John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen, (approx 1330) and chaplain of David Bruce

Esus/Cu Chulainn

"It is shocking to human Nature, that any Race of Mankind and their Posterity should be sentenc'd to perpetual Slavery; nor in Justice can we think otherwise of it, than that they are thrown amongst us to be our Scourge one Day or other for our Sins: And as Freedom must be as dear to them as to us, what a Scene of Horror must it bring about! And the longer it is unexecuted, the bloody Scene must be the greater." The Highlanders of the city of Darien, Georgia.

When their Lowland Scottish neighbors requested that the Trustees for the colony of Georgia allow them to exploit the labor of African slaves, the Highlanders wrote a counter-petition in 1739. This text is one of the earliest anti-slavery documents in American history.

"No Spartan tube, no Attic shell,
No lyre Eolian I awake;
'Tis Liberty's bold note I swell,
Thy harp, Columbia, let me take.
See gathering thousands, while I sing,
A broken chain, exulting, bring,
And dash it in a tyrant's face!
And dare him to his very beard,
And tell him, he no more is feared,
No more the Despot of Columbia's race.
A tyrant's proudest insults braved,
They shout, a People freed! They hail an Empire saved.

Art thou of man's imperial line?
Dost boast that countenance divine?
Each sculking feature answers, No!
but come, ye sons of Liberty,
Columbia's offspring, brave as free,
In danger's hour still flaming in the van:
Ye know, and dare maintain, The Royalty of Man
."


Robert Burns, to and in honor of, George Washington on his birthday, and the Sons Of Liberty.

"Call this war by whatever name you may. . . ," observed one Hessian officer of the American Revolution, "it is nothing more or less than a Scotch Irish Presbyterian rebellion."

"Caesar had his Brutus - Charles the First, his Cromwell - and George the Third - ('Treason,' cried the Speaker) ... may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it." May 1765 "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"..."23 March 1775
Patrick Henry, Scot-American Celt

"If ever there was a holy war, it was that which saved our liberties and gave us independence". January 30, 1787
"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing."...Thomas Jefferson, Welsh-American Celt

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand
that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
"
...Samuel Adams, Scot-American Celt

"If all else fails, I will retreat up the valley of Virginia, plant my flag on the Blue Ridge, rally around the Scotch-Irish of that region and make my last stand for liberty amongst a people who will never submit to British tyranny whilst there is a man left to draw a trigger."
New World Celt George Washington at Valley Forge.

"¡O vivir con honor o morir con gloria!, ¡El que sea valiente que me siga!" (Live with honor or die with glory! He who is brave, follow me!) Irish-Chilean Bernado O'Higgins,  soon to be Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, in defeating the Spanish in 1813.

In 1832 some Seminole chiefs signed a treaty that called for them to move to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. Osceola (also known as Billy Powell due to the Scottish heritage of his father) and other young Seminoles opposed the move. In 1835 the Indian agent Wiley Thompson called a council at Fort Gibson. Some of the chiefs agreed to move. But Osceola rose and plunged his dagger through the new treaty. He said, "This is the only treaty I will make with the whites!"

On 23 September 1779, John Paul Jones was commanding the 42 gun Bonhomme Richard, which was sailing with four other US ships off Flamborough Head, in Yorkshire. Here they encountered and engaged a convoy of merchant vessels guarded by two Royal Navy ships. The Bonhomme Richard was engaged and severely damaged by the rather larger HMS Serapis. During the encounter, Jones' ship had the masts and the flag blown away and was clearly sinking, and the British captain is said to have asked whether the Bonhomme Richard was surrendering. John Paul Jones' reply, which has gone down in history, was “I have not yet begun to fight." Jones then rammed HMS Serapis and a boarding party captured her. The French responded by making him Chevalier John Paul Jones, and the Continental Congress produced a gold medal in his honour in 1787.

"Then, Sir, we will give them the bayonet!"
- CSA General Stonewall Jackson's reply to Colonel B.E. Bee when he reported that the
enemy were beating them back. Jackson's family was from Ulster.

At the first battle of Bull Run, July 1861.

druids and saints

Theodore Roosevelt - U.S. president from 1901 to 1909 - wrote: "The backwoodsmen were American by birth and parentage, and of mixed race; but the dominant strain in their blood was that of the … Scotch-Irish… Mingled with the descendants of many other races, they nevertheless formed the kernel of the distinctively and intensely American stock… fitted to be Americans from the very start."

President Theodore Roosevelt also made this comment on the Ulster-Scot contribution to the war: "in the Revolutionary war . . . the fiercest and most ardent Americans of all were the Presbyterian Irish settlers and their descendants". He described those Ulster Scots as "a grim, stern people, strong and simple, . . . the love of freedom rooted in their very hearts' core".

Rome's Enemies 2 Gallic and British Celts, #158 in the Men-At-Arms Series, by Peter Wilcox and Angus MacBride (ISBN: 0850456061), 1985. The paintings, done by McBride, are based on literary descriptions and archeological finds and are said to be as accurate as possible at this time.

 

"Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."..."Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory" ...General George S. Patton, Jr. Scot-American Celt,  England, 31 May 1944

 

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for Mankind!"...Neil Armstrong, American astronaut of Scottish descent who was the first human to walk on another planetary body, the moon who's light used to guide his Border Reiver ancestors. Approx 10 pm EDT, July 20, 1969.

 

buaine na gach nì an nàire "Longer-lasting than any other thing is shame." Gaelic Proverb

 

"Perhaps the only real definition of a Celt, now as in the past, is that a Celt is a person who believes him or herself to be Celtic." Prof. Barry Cunliffe (Oxford Univ.).

 

"But they are... naked!"
"Well, naturally, it's far too dangerous to jump through the fire with your clothes on!"

--Lord Summerisle explaining Beltane to Sergeant Howie in the 1973 film "The Wicker Man"

 

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Ronald Reagan, American President of Scots-Irish descent, in his remarks at the Brandenburg Gate  West Berlin, Germany June 12, 1987

 

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924),  (America's 28th president, Wilson was born to parents of mainly Scots descent. His grandparents on both sides emigrated to Ohio in the 19th century.): "I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty. "

 

 

Celtic Scrollwork

"This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever."
Sigmund Freud (about the Irish)

"The highlanders take pleasure in clothing of various colours, especially striped, and their favorite colours are purple and blue. Their forbears wore plaids of many colours, and numbers still in keeping with this custom, but most now prefer to wear a dark brown, matching the leaves of the heather, so that, while lying among it in the day-time, they may not be revealed by a sight of their clothing. In these, wrapped, rather than covered, they face the worst storms of the open, and at times will lie down and sleep, even in snow." -Nicholas d'Afreville, Cosmographer to the King of France, circa 1580's

"Their clothing was made for use (being chiefly suited for war) and not for ornament. All, both nobles and common people, wore mantles of one sort (except that the nobles preferred those of several colours). These were long and flowing, but capable of being neatly gathered up at pleasure into folds. I am inclined to believe that they were the same as this to which the ancients gave the name of brachae. Wrapped up in these for their only covering, they would sleep comfortably. They had also shaggy rugs, such as the Irish use at the present day, some fitted for a journey, others to be placed on a bed. The rest of their garments consisted of a short wollen jacket, with sleeves open below for the convenience of throwing darts, and a covering for the thighs of the simplest kind, more for decency than for show, or defence against cold. They also made of linen very full tunics with many folds and wide sleeves, flowing loose to their knees. The wealthy dyed these with saffron, and others oiled them, to keep them longer clean among the exertion and exercise of a camp... In making these, grace and ornament were not lacking, and the different pieces were seemed together with silk, commonly green, or red."-Bishop Lesley, 1578

Gen. 'Stonewall' Jackson: [actual quote from the Battle of Bull Run] "Up, men! Up, Virginians! Hold your fire until they are within fifty yards, and then give them the bayonet! And when you charge, yell like furies!"

"We have been waiting seven hundred years; you can have the seven minutes. "-- Michael Collins, on being told that he was seven minutes late arriving at Dublin castle to accept its handover by British Forces, 16 Jan 1922.

"Cuimhnichibh air na daoine bho'n d'thainig sibh" Remember the people whom you come from..traditional "Sean-fhacail"

"Is mios' an t-eagal na 'n cogadh". Fear is worse than fighting... from Scot Proverbs

"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving."
Ulysses S. Grant  US general & politician (1822 - 1885)

"An Englishman is a person who does things because they have been done before. An American is a person who does things because they haven't been done before. "
Mark Twain  US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 - 1910)
"When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, "Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe?"
Quentin Crisp
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt 26th president of US (1858 - 1919)
"For that is the mark of the Scots of all classes: that he stands in an attitude towards the past unthinkable to Englishmen, and remembers and cherishes the memory of his forebears, good or bad; and there burns alive in him a sense of identity with the dead even to the twentieth generation."
- Robert Louis Stevenson, Weir of Hermiston, 1894

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."
- General George Patton Jr

"War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them
all they want."

- General William T. Sherman

"If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation" Abigail Adams, (1744-1818) First Lady of the United States (1797-1801), Abigail Adams was married to John Adams, second U.S. President

"They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an
enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can't get away from us now!"

- Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC

"In war there is no substitute for victory."
- Gen Douglas MacArthur

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty."
-John F. Kennedy

"Why should we be frightened? No people who have ever lived on this earth have fought harder, paid a higher price for freedom, or done more to advance the dignity of man than the living Americans, those Americans living in this land today."
--Ronald Reagan

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
--Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political theorist, writer

"If my lips teach the public that men are made mad by bad treatment, and if the police are taught that they may exasperate to madness men they persecute and ill treat, my life will not be entirely thrown away" Ned Kelly -  Aussie bushranger

"Canadians have been so busy explaining to the Americans that we aren't British, and to the British that we aren't Americans that we haven't had time to become Canadians."
Helen Gordon McPherson

"Men are like bagpipes: no sound comes from them till they're full."
Source:
(Irish proverb)

"Twelve highlanders and a bagpipe make a rebellion."
Source:
(Scottish proverb)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." The Assembled Continental Congress July 4, 1776...From the Declaration of Independence of the USA from Great Britain.

(A month earlier Congress had appointed a Committee of Five to draft a statement to the world presenting the colonies' case for independence. The committee consisted of John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. The committee assigned Jefferson the task of writing the original document. After minor alterations were subsequently made by Franklin and Adams, the document was submitted to Congress and approved. The First Printing was by John Dunlap in Philadelphia on the evening of July 4th and was distributed the next day as the "Dunlap Broadside". All involved in the Committee as well as the printer were of Celtic heritage, as were almost 70% of the signers!)

"As a Celt I hold the best and worst of mankind: In my right hand I hold
honour, decency and belief; in my left hand I hold aggression, rebellion and
passion. I spend 50% of my time fighting with myself, and 50% of my time
finding ways to make my two hands clap."
- Alexander MacDonald,
Scots-Canadian

“You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'” George Bernard Shaw

 

"I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use, silence, exile, and cunning."


James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

 

G. K. Chesterton
"For the great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry
And all their songs are sad."

 

"We, of our time, have played our part in the perseverance, and we have pledged ourselves to the dead generations who have preserved intact for us this glorious heritage, that we, too, will strive to be faithful to the end, and pass on this tradition unblemished."
Eamon de Valera

 

"I came here to kill Saddam Hussein.".

SGT Troy Allen Dunlap, a U.S. Infantryman/Pathfinder served with "C" Co., 509th Parachute Inf. Detachment, 2d Battalion, 229th AVN Regiment, attached to the 101st ABN Division in the First Gulf War. SGT Dunlap was one of 8 volunteers who went into Kuwait to try and rescue a downed U.S. F-16 pilot. He was a door gunner on the UH-60 (Blackhawk) helicopter on 27 Feb 91 and said, "We were traveling 100 mph about 20 feet off the ground when the tail of the helicopter was shot off." Five members of the crew were killed in the crash. SGT Dunlap and two other survivors were captured by Iraqi forces. When asked by his Republican Guard interrogators what his mission was he told them, "I came here to kill Saddam Hussein." SGT Dunlap was beaten and tortured. He was kept in solitary confinement, standing up, with a rope around his neck so that whenever he relaxed, the rope would choke him. He was held as a prisoner from 27 Feb 91 to 5 Mar 91.  He was one of only 21 U.S. soldiers captured in the Gulf War, and the only U.S. Infantryman.

In Welsh : "Gwell Rhyfel Nag I Elyn Herio Deddf A Sathru Dyn" ("Better war than that an enemy should defy law, and trample upon mankind") Eithion Wyn (Eliseus Williams), Welsh poet, 1914. (submitted by Sid Davis)

"We will always be proud of Celtic contributions to History, and with every new day's actions, intend to be able to say the same tomorrow." -January 1, 2001, Mike Dunlap, Scots-Irish American,  Founder and First President, New World Celts