CUL­TURE CLASHES

Four ways in which the Ro­mans and the Celts dif­fered

BBC History Magazine - - Cover Story -

RO­MANS The Ro­mans had a dis­tinct pan­theon of deities. Religion was part of daily life in Rome and each home had a house­hold shrine. A Ro­man copy of a Greek bronze of Artemis, the Diana of Ver­sailles, shows how deities were shared across cul­tures Many lan­guages were spo­ken in the Ro­man em­pire, but Latin was the of­fi­cial lan­guage of ad­min­is­tra­tion and writ­ing. The Ro­man (Mediter­ranean) diet was based on wine and oil. Ce­re­als were widely eaten, but the wealthy had ac­cess to a wide range of meats, fishes, veg­eta­bles and fruits. The Ro­mans used many in­gre­di­ents fa­mil­iar in mod­ern Ital­ian cui­sine, rang­ing from olives to car­rots to figs. A first-cen­tury AD Ro­man fresco shows a bas­ket of figs Ro­man dress var­ied con­sid­er­ably with sta­tus and oc­cu­pa­tion, but gen­er­ally in­volved loose-fit­ting cloth­ing, as be­fits a hot climate. CELTS The Gauls and Bri­tons also had many gods. How­ever, broadly speak­ing, they were di­vided into two types: deities of the Earth, usu­ally fe­male and of­ten as­so­ci­ated with springs; and tribal deities, of­ten of the sky and usu­ally male. A de­tail from the Gun­de­strup caul­dron, be­lieved to date from around the first cen­tury BC and trans­ported to Den­mark as plun­der, shows a Celtic god­dess The Gauls and Bri­tons spoke var­i­ous di­alects of Celtic, al­though the Bel­gae of north­ern Gaul, and pos­si­bly some of the peo­ple of east­ern Bri­tain, may also have spo­ken a Ger­manic lan­guage. The diet of Gauls and Bri­tons was based on beer and milk. They also ate ce­real and tucked into meat as a sup­ple­ment, par­tic­u­larly at feasts. This meat in­cluded game such as deer and wild boar, but they also slaugh­tered do­mes­ti­cated an­i­mals. The Gauls and Bri­tons prob­a­bly wore tighter-fit­ting clothes, in­clud­ing trousers that were tied with leather belts and shirts that were sim­i­lar to tu­nics.

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