Celtic dagger: symbol of war

Celts at war

Almost all societies in history had their warriors, the Celts were no exception. The Celts drew their warriors from the middle and upper classes and it was they who fought while using the free poor classes to drive their chariots.

Celtic warriors lived for war. Showing off their victories in great detail was part of the rituals of warriors. It was also not unusual for warriors to fight each other and, in fact, they considered this to be an important part of their lives.

The Celts were famous for bringing home trophies, particularly the heads of their enemies, which earned them the title of scout. After the battle, these heads were displayed at the entrance to their places of worship, many also dedicated their enemies’ weapons to the gods by throwing them into a river or lake after the battle. Today thousands of weapons have been extracted from Lake Neuchâtel in La Tene.

Celtic chieftains along with the wealthiest Celts of the time wore armor and rode before battle in full view of their army, clashing their weapons against their shields as they loudly proclaimed their great deeds. This practice was also designed to challenge your enemies in a single combat. They must have been a terrifying sight dressed in fur and decorated with blue tattoos. It was also not uncommon for warriors to go into battle dressed only in blue dye, covered in Celtic artwork, naked as the day they were born.

Evolution of Celtic weapons

Celtic warriors are known to be great swordsmen and wielded them above their heads in battle, turning and slashing from side to side, and then down on their enemies as easily as if they were cutting a piece of wood. Using their daggers and swords in this way absolutely terrified their enemies and earned them a reputation as formidable opponents in war.


To understand the dagger, you must first explain how the Bronze Age influenced the weapons of that time. Celtic swords were primarily the weapon of choice during this era, indicating that perhaps war was fought on a small scale between groups of elite warriors. The Iron Age influenced the classic Celtic longswords with their characteristic blade design.

The long sword fell out of favor with the Celts with changing patterns of warfare and short thrust daggers appeared, evident by the large number of them found in the graves of those warriors who were buried in high-status burials.

Long swords were made shorter, had a single edge, and lacked the pointed tip so common in swords. These daggers were designed primarily for cutting, although some were used for cutting. Swords in Great Britain and Ireland became shorter and thinner and with increasing Celtic populations, changing warfare, and larger armies, the spearman began to gain importance, resulting in a decrease in the dagger’s functionality. and the sword.

Roman writings

The Greeks and Romans were the first civilizations to face major threats from Celtic invaders. It was these civilizations whose feathers shaped the history we know today and whose writings have helped create an image of the savage ferocity of the Celtic warrior that persists today, yet it was the Roman Empire that ultimately conquered this great nation of warriors.

It is not mentioned that the Celts fought en masse with daggers, their weapons of choice included javelins and arrows and their defense strategies involved fighting in close order for them to form a defense against the advancing Roman cavalry, in fact Caesar wrote about this and they used their daggers in close combat, something they were very skilled at.

Celtic warriors used swords and daggers from 280 BC. C., when Brennus led his Celtic tribes against Greece. It is interesting to note that Brennus originated from a Senones region that later became famous for its production of high-quality steel which they used to form their weapons.

During this invasion of Greece, a large part of this Celtic army turned to the east where they eventually founded Galatia and went on to produce a source of mercenaries throughout this Mediterranean area, represented by illustrations showing troops armed with daggers and oval shields. This image is one that is still used today to commonly represent Galatians.

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