Gaulish Class and Social Structure

Continental Celtic Polytheism

Social Structure

I.Ancient Times:

A. Social Units:

1- Weniâ: Nuclear Family, Partnership (Raimund Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 518). Headed by a:

a. Atîr – Father (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 520)

b. Matîr – Mother (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 520)

2 – Tegoslougos: Household, literally, “house crowd”. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 165)

3 – Trebâ: House, village, settlement. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 516). A hierarchical system headed by a:

a. Pennos – Head, chief, head of household. Usually, but not always male. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 517)

b. Kintumoniterâ – “First in Guardianship”, female head of household, usually the wife, sister, or mother of the pennos. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 517)

4 – Derwoweniâ: Four generation paternal lineage (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 520). Headed by a:

a.Pennos Weniâs – “Head of Family”, most respected pennos in the lineage.

5 – Kenetlon: Kin group or clan tracing descent from a common male ancestor. Can also mean “nationality”. (Matasovic, p. 200; Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, pp. 94-95, 522)

6 – Contrebiâ: A larger town, city, or a rural district. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 65)

7 – Toutâ: Tribe, people, chiefdom, small state, with population ranging from 1,000-20,000. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 528) Headed by a:

a.Toutorîxs – Tribal ruler/”king” (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 532)

8 – Brogs: Country. One of the great Gaulish tribes such as the Aedui or Arverni. Populations range from 20,000 to several hundred thousand. Confusingly, they are also called toutâs, indicating that the distinction between different sized social units was somewhat unclear. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 528). Headed by a:

a.Brigantinos – Over-king (Matasovic, p. 77)

b.Uergobretos – Supreme judge, an elected ruler. (Delmarre, p. 314)

9 – Tîros: Land, country, such as Gaul, Ireland, or Britain. (Matasovic, p. 379-380)

B. Social Institutions:

1 – Ulatis – Sovereignty:

a.Conceived of as a mystical force conferring rightful rule and the power to judge properly. The Mead of Sovereignty is also the Mead of Memory. (Enright, pp. 280-282)

b.Comes from Eponâ (for the tribe) and/or Rosmertâ (for the warband). (Enright, pp. 209-214)

c.Welitâ: “Seeress”, a type of female mystic associated with seership, and the sovereignty complex. Carried the Weaver’s Beam as a badge of office. Gave legitimate power to rulers among at least some Gaulish peoples. (Enright, pp. 170-173, 209-214)

d.Sovereignty was transmitted by the Welitâ via a cup of mead, given to the rightful king during a ceremony of inauguration, which in some ways resembled a marriage ceremony. (Enright, pp. 280-282)

e.This was part of a complex of linked ideas women, liquor, weaving, fate, sovereignty, and sexuality. (Enright, pp. 265-269)

2 – Government:

a.Bessus: Custom, mores. (Delmarre, pp. 73-74)

b.Rextus: Law, right. (Delmare, p. 254)

c.Datlâ: Assembly, meeting. (Matasovic, p. 92)

d.Mediolânon: Sacred center, capital city, literally, “the center of the plain”. (Delmarre, pp. 220-221)

e.Dannos: Magistrate, caretaker, government minister. (Delmarre, p. 135)

3 – Slictuwediâ: Marriage. The most esteemed form involved persons of equal standing, contributing equal amounts of property. Other forms existed. Generally, whoever brought the most property was head of the household. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, pp. 98-99)

4 – Altriyâ: Fosterage, in which children were sent to another household for training. This institution was important to education, and to forging strong social ties for later life. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, pp. 522-524) Among these ties were:

a.Altros – Foster father. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, pp. 522-524)

b.Komaltiyos – Foster sibling. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, pp. 522-524)

5 – Citizenship: The Gauls recognized the idea of belonging to a community or state. Terms related to this include:

a.Toutiuos – Citizen, member of the toutâ. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 528)

b.Allotoutios – Alien, foreign citizen. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 528)

c.Allobrogs – Foreigner, person from another country. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 528)

6 – Koros – The Contract: Oral contractual relationships formed a central feature of all Celtic societies. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 525)

a.Oitos: The oath, central toKoroi, and to the functioning of society in general. Generally taken with a handshake and a ritual formula such as “gabi in to lâmon” – “take into your hand”. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 526; Delmarre, p. 239)

b.Weidoi: Eye-witnesses. Important to making of contracts and oaths. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 526)

c.Geldom: A material pledge to guarantee a contract. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 526)

d.Geistlos: A hostage given to enforce a contract, only in life and death cases, or for contracts between states. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, p. 526)

e.Râtis: Paying-surety. A person who took an oath to make good on a contract if one party defaulted. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, pp. 526-527)

f.Makkos: Enforcing surety. A person who took an oath to enforce compliance with a contract. (Karl, Altkeltische Sozialstrukturen, pp. 526-527)

7 – Korios – The Warband: A group of sworn, to some extant mystic, warriors led by a noble who derives power from a welitâ. (Enright, pp. 170-171, 209-214). A warband member is called a:

a.Galatis: One who has galâ, courage, warrior rage. An ecstatic warrior, one who fights in a state of raging, warrior ecstasy. (McCone, “Greek Κελτος and Γαλατις, Latin Gallus ‘Gaul’”)

II. Modern Times

f.1.A. Modern Toutâs:

f.1.A.1 Mostly German and Italian, few American examples.

f.1.A.2 Equivalent of a coven

f.1.A.3 Often base customs on historical peoples (eg. The Nemetes, Insubres, or Boii)

f.1.A.4 Respect basic human rights and individual choice, according to guidelines produced by German-speaking Celtoi.

f.1.A.5 Often incorporate regional loyalties (eg, Baden-Württemburg, Lombardy, Tuscany)

f.1.B Other Possible Models

f.1.B.1Trebâ – equivalent of a coven:

a.Headed by:

f.1.B1.1 Pennos

f.1B1.2 Kintumoniterâ

b.Base customs on historical people

c.But have modern name and identity.

f.2 DerwoweniâNetwork of trebâs, sharing a common history and identity

a.Headed by:

f.2.a.1 Pennos Weniâs

f.2.A.2Welitâ Weniâs

b.Again, base customs on historical people, but have modern identity.

f.3ToutâCould be reimagined as a network of derwoweniâs and trebâs, sharing a common history and identity.

a.Headed by:

f.3A.1 Toutorîxs

f.3.A.2 Welitâ Toutâs

b.Base customs and identity on historical toutâ, but may have modern name

f.4 KoriosModern warband

a.Headed by a:

f.4.A.1 Tigernos

f.4.A.2 Welitâ

b.Worship warrior deities, practice warrior arts, and social activism.

c.Members are galateies – mystic warriors, and martial artists who cultivate warrior rage

d.One current example – Morpheus Ravenna’s Coru Cathubodua, a Morrigan/Cathubodua-oriented Korios.

f.5 NemetonIndependent temple, offering worship services. Membership could be structured as a trebâ, or less hierarchically.

f.6 Rank/Brigâ:

a.Toutorîxs/Welitâ Toutâs/Wercobretos

b.Pennos Weniâs/Welitâ Weniâs


d.Cobrûnos – Full Initiate

e.Sepanios– Student, trainee.

f.7 Oitos – The Oath

a.Taken before weidoi

b.Involves handshake and ritual formula “gabi in to lâmon”

c.Respect for oaths needed to maintain integrity, cohesiveness and Truth in Continental Celtic Polytheism