** ancient civilizations -- Celtic hair

The Ancient Celts: Hair

Figure 1.--The Celts were one of the major iroin age ethnic groups of ancient Europre. We know about them through the Greeks and Romans who had a written langiage. Celtic tribes spread across Europe. They shared a range of languages, traditions, religions, and cultural practices. They were for their fierceness in battle as well as their red hair. Both the Greeks and Romans mebtioned the red hair. .

Surely the most striking aspect of the Celts is red hair. Both the Greek and Romans mentioned this. Ireland and Scotland has a high proportion of red haired people in comparison to the rest of the Western world. And it appears to be primarily due to Celtic origins. The Vikings may have also been a factor, but Celtic origins appear to be a primary factor. One source explains, "Red hair is caused by V60L allele – 'the ginger gene'. Some experts say it developed up to 50,000 years ago when humans left Africa and arrived in Europe. The days were shorter and colder which meant that people had less time in the sun and absorbed less Vitamin D. During this time fair skinned ginger people thrived as they were able to absorb Vitamin D at a faster rate than people with darker skin and hair." The Celts, both men and women wore their hair very long. Lengths down past their shoulders was common. Roman writers often commented that the Celts were extremely vain about their hair. The Celts, again both men and women, commonly plaited (braided) their hair. The affluent might attach hollow gold balls to the end of their at the ends of their plaits. Men appear to have rinsed their hair in limewater to both brighten the color and stiffen it. Their hair was then pulled back from the forehead to the top of the head and then further back to the nape of the neck. This style was likened to the manes of horses. We do not know how boys wore their hair or if it differed from that of adult men. Normally most men shaved, some let small beards grow. Ranking officials are said to have only shaved their cheeks. Women's hair styles could be elaborate and secured by intricately styled pins. One indication of how important their hair was to the ancient Celts was virtually everyone, and not just women, appear to have carried a comb bag. This is suggested by numerous archaeology digs. These comb bags might be carried by warriors going into battle wearing little else. [Thompson]


Thompson, Heather. "Clothing" An Ceangal Mara Foundation website, 1999.


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Created: 7:00 AM 9/3/2021
Last updated: 7:00 AM 9/3/2021