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Deirdriu and Gwenhwyfar of Celtic Alliance (Celts) by Gambargin Deirdriu and Gwenhwyfar of Celtic Alliance (Celts) by Gambargin
A concept drawing for the Celtic Women Warriors, representing the Irish/Scottish (Gaellic) and the Welsh culture in the Historically Wrong Sketch Series: Medieval Revisited, which is roughly based on the Middle ages covering 800 AD to 1400 AD. In the series, the celts of British Isles (Irish, Welsh and Scots) are represented as loose federation of tribes, clans and petty kingdoms united into a single alliance to defend their homeland.

Inspired by the music: Dreams of Albion by Jeff van Dyck.

Disclaimer: I am by no means expert in History, just a humble man with passion for learning history. Also, English is not my first language so if you do find any errors or would like to make a correction/feedback, please feel free let me know :) (Smile)


INTRODUCTION

Many people often think of the Middle Ages in the British Isles as the dominion of English Knights, War or Rose and the successive dynasties, or the Anglo-Saxons and other Germanic tribes that ruled England. But one must never forget that it was the Celts who had ruled long before these Germanic people came to their land. From the Mythical Island of Ireland, the the Marsh of Wales and to the Highlands of Scotland, the Celts of the middle ages were surely a force to be reckon with. Along with the Bretons, this drawing is dedicated to the Irish, Welsh, Scots and the Bretons of the Middle Ages :D!


DRAWING COMMENTARIES

You see, representing the celtic cultures of Britain as a single unity is rather hard, because each have their own unique histories, cultures and langauge. It took me a while to think of a proper way representing the various celtic culture into a single drawing, and alas, i managed to come up with this one. The lady on the left, Deirdriu Nic Domnhail de O'Lochlann, is represented as an Irish Gallóglaigh, while the one on the right, Lady Gwenhwyfar ferch Cadfan de Caerfyrddin, is  represented as Welsh Longbow(wo)man.

Celtic Woman Warriors are no stranger to anyone's ears. Generally speaking, the classical laws such as that used by the Irish, gave women more rights that their European neighbors rarely had. Also, it was a common sight for women to fight alongside the men in Celtic society, bust as the age progress and their society became more complex and sophisticated, Women pursued more political ambition, than martial ambition.

To me, these celtic people had been the earliest inhabitants of the British Isles, long before the Roman came, as such, these people were the true inheritor of the land, so they should deserve their mention in the series :)


REFERENCES AND OTHER RELATED MEDIA

Given the nature of the Historically Wrong Sketch, the Celts will have plenty of enemies to fight with =P

The Anglo Saxons Frua Aelfwynn Eadgarsdohtor of Saxanana Rice by Gambargin, The Normans Aubrey de Manche of Duche de Normannus (Norman) by Gambargin, the Viking Gunnhildr Freysdottir of Vikingrunionen (Norse) by Gambargin

PLEASE SEE THE DIVERSIFIED REPRESENTATIONS AS GIVEN BELOW:

 Treibheanna na Eireann (Irish)
Ternas Cymru (Welsh)

Rìoghachd na h-Scoti (Scottish)
Dugelezh Breizh (Breton)



A Part of the Historically Wrong Sketch Series: Medieval Revisited - You can find more on the various faction on the map here:

HWS Medieval Revisited - Faction Map v.1.22 by Gambargin

You can check out browncoatmando :iconbrowncoatmando: page where he has written a heroic story with some light side touch featuring Deirdriu and Gunnhildr :) (Smile) - You can find the story here browncoatmando.deviantart.com/…


HISTORICAL COMMENTARIES

The Celtic civilization, especially that which exists in the British Isles, had been an ancient one, whose many histories were shrouded in myths and legends. But it was pretty understandable, given that most of their historical accounts were written Roman, their conqueror and the one who succeeded in destroying their civilization. To the eyes of the Roman, these were primitive, backward unwashed savages unworthy of the Roman way of life....or were they? The Celt posessed a complex mathematical calendar, much more accurate than that which the Roman had. They were also the first Road Builders of Europe, connecting various cities and trade routes, long before the Roman had built theirs. They also had laws that protected the rights of the young, the weak, the old and the handicapped, a concept which is Alien to the roman of that time. They were also quite wealthy as well, which is one of the reasons why the Roman conquered them in the first place. But alas, the succeeded in invading and settling down in Britain, eliminating the last powerful Celtic civilization with the defeat of Boudicca, the queen of the Iceni.

When the Roman left Britain in around 5th century, the land was left open for another invader from Europe, the Anglo-Saxons. The society underwent many changes, and the local inhabitants splintered into several distinct cultures, the largest of which, is the Welsh. They established rule over the land, not as single unity, but rather a different petty kingdoms wrestling for power over the centuries. Their disunity became their downfall when the another conqueror arrived on the island in the 11th century, the Normans. In just a few centuries later, their successor, the English, conquered Wales and fully incorporated the land into the Kingdom of England in the 16th century.

What about Ireland? the famed island of legend and myths? Well, the Irish did made contact with the Roman, but was never part of the empire. They ruled independently, preserving their traditions and cultures even after the fall of Rome. But Ireland was not a land ruled by a single king, in fact, it was ruled by various rival clans, and were often at each others throat. These kept the Irish busy, and no one dared to venture into the land given the hostility...until the arrival of the Normans. At first, they pretty much left the Irish alone, but when the descendant of the Normans, the English king Henry VIII rose to power, he wanted Ireland to be part of the Kingdom of England. His ambition was met with stiff resistance but ended in Irish defeat. Alas, the land was tamed by the English, the event which would left deep scar to the Irish, and the basis on which the conflict between England and Ireland could be felt to this day.

As for the Northern part of Britain? Much of their history before the arrival of Roman was pretty scarce. The Romans referred the land as Caledonia, and called its inhabitants "Picts". The word itself derrived from Picit, which meant "the painted ones", from the tradition of its warriors to fight with painted body tattoos. They were quite ferocious and hostile to the Romans, which lead them to abandon any attempt of settling up north and constructed the Hadrian Wall. The picts may have succeeded in establishing their independence from their first foreign invader, but as centuries goes, they came into conflict with the Anglo Saxons and the Viking who came to invade their land. This lead the Picts to unite together, forming the Kingdom of Scotland to fight off the invaders, which includes the English themselves.

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:iconmate888:
mate888 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015
Irish, Scots, Welsh and Bretons.
Yeah, suck it, Cornwall!
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:iconlady-weavile-461:
Lady-Weavile-461 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I really appreciate, as a girl, that you draw them fully dressed compared to these metal bikinis...

They always look really cool the way you draw them >///<
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2015
Thank you! Drawing them is actually pretty fun :)
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:iconsolidsamurai:
SolidSamurai Featured By Owner Edited Dec 11, 2014
Actually, the picts were conquered by the scots in the beginning of the 11th century, who then formed the kingdom of Scotland.  :)

Before then, it was the kingdom of Pictland (though it might not have been a unified kingdom; maybe just a region given that name).  Also, the use of blue face by Mel Gibson in the film Brave Heart, was inspired by the picts.  Nobody but the picts wore blue face, hence being 'the painted people', and Brave Heart is known for numerous other inaccuracies as well (too many to list).

My source is Wikipedia.

Also, funny that the english are the only true enemy that the irish ever had (that we know of).
Reply
:iconsolidsamurai:
SolidSamurai Featured By Owner Edited May 9, 2015
"However, had it only had one enemy during its long history, that would have been something that would have made it unique in the annals of military history."

True, I made that statement to coax an explanation of some kind out of you, but I didn't expect an essay.  Congrats, I suppose, though it's always good to list citations when writing essay sized comments (may as well not put the effort to waste :P).

These slow sort of conflicts amongst the irish and other powers resulted, possibly, from being an island with essentially only one or two neighbours.  Historically, I think ocean islands have managed to be rather peaceful, or get caught up in rather slow and insular conflicts.  The downside is that they have a lot more to compete with from other powers at sea, when looking to expand beyond their island.
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:iconlumberlung:
lumberlung Featured By Owner May 7, 2015  Professional Writer
Also, funny that the english are the only true enemy that the irish ever had (that we know of).

This could perhaps be true in a certain context, but that context would be misleading and would be dependent on when one argues "Ireland" becomes Ireland. What we now call Ireland (and what I'll refer to as Ireland for the sake of convenience), was originally (we think) inhabited by a neolithic people who numbered between one and two hundred thousand (this culture was predated by mesolithic inhabitants, but there is debate as to whom either people were or if one supplanted (and absorbed) the other). The neolithic inhabits were supplanted by a well-documented but oft ignored in popular history, the Beaker people, who were probably one of the first Indo-European peoples to make their way westward across Europe and who may have been proto-Celtic.

What the archaeological and the oral historical record have both traditionally suggested is that, c.a. 500 BCE, waves of Celts (of the Q-Celtic branch) began successive migrations — traditionally four of them — into Ireland. These waves included the Priteni, the Belgae, the Laighin tribes Brittany, and, finally, the Milesians, also called the Gaels (some also posit that another wave, the Euerni.

For the sake of argument, let us limit the prehistoric waves of settlement to these aforementioned seven groups. Let us also, for the sake of argument, label the final four the "Celtic" peoples (for they were all, originally, of the same ultimate origin, be that the "Atlantic Bronze Age" culture or the traditional assumption that they originated with the Hallstatt culture). Finally, even though the Beaker people were proto-Celtic, we will not consider them Celtic for the sake of simplicity.

Any conflict between the extant inhabitants of Ireland and a new migratory wave is speculative. Recent hypotheses have posited that, rather than large waves of people that would be best characterized as an invasion (along the lines of either the Anglo-Saxon absorption or the Norman conquest), these four waves were a small, migratory trickle. Yet, however speculative this may be, history has shown us the migration of one people into the land of another does not often come free of conflict. Even if all of the successive waves of immigrants were Celtic, at this time, the vast majority of Europe proper, north of the Mediterranean civilizations and south of the Nordic lands, was Celtic. Additionally, the oral (and subsequently written historical) record does not support peaceful immigration. Read through the lens of structural anthropology, we see a group of peoples and gods supplanted, through violence and war, by a successive group of people and gods, and another, and, finally, the last wave that it would be proper to properly — finally — call the Irish.

So that's the first point I'd like to make. Of course the Irish have had enemies beyond the English. At this point in time, the people whom we would call English (Anglo-Saxon interbred with Briton Celts and the racially diverse Roman stock who had chosen to remain after 420 CE), did not yet exist, yet it is inconceivable that the thousands of years of immigration by these groups of ethnically and culturally diverse people(s) would or could have happened without some sort of conflict, which, by its nature, requires enemies to be the combatants.

So, with that morass out of the way, let's look at another shortlist: The Romans wanted to conquer Ireland (e.g., the Irish and Romans were not besties); the Romans called Ireland both Hibernia and Scotia (or Scotland), and the Scotti tribe would eventually conquer what is now Scotland from the Picts or Celts or whomever then held that land during that murky period of history, and, much later, the Scots and the Irish would war against each other (fierce family fights always make for the most fun); the Vikings (who founded Limerick and Cork, Waterford and Wexford) began to raid Ireland in earnest around the Ninth Century: they occupied Dublin until 1169 CE; finally, Ireland, after British conquests during the 16th and 17th centuries, eventually became part of the United Kingdom around the turn of the 19th Century.

As part of the United Kingdom, Ireland's enemies were the enemies of the United Kingdom. Nazi troops would not have hesitated to kill Irish soldiers because they weren't really "English." The United Kingdom was involved in more than a few conflicts in the almost century and a half during which its union with Great Britain remained intact.

And — finally — it's worth noting that, after Ireland once more an independent nation, not all of Ireland became an independent nation. Since that time (and even predating it), the most dangerous enemy of the Irish have been other Irish.

Ireland has a pretty bloody history. That doesn't make it unique among nations. However, had it only had one enemy during its long history, that would have been something that would have made it unique in the annals of military history.

M.
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:iconawsassin:
Awsassin Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014
I got promoted to chieftain:awsassin.deviantart.com/journa…
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:iconmelodixa:
Melodixa Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes! Do a four way battle! May the best army win!
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:iconsolidsamurai:
SolidSamurai Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014
May as well make a wargame out of it.  :P
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:iconmy-sword-is-bigger:
My-Sword-is-Bigger Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And yes, the Celts were certainly awesome!
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:iconmy-sword-is-bigger:
My-Sword-is-Bigger Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome awesome awesome! I espeically love how you've started drawing their faces dirty from battle, as they should be :D If nothing else, the oil from chainmail dirties your face instantly as you're putting it on.
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014
Thank you! I wanted to portray these women warrior more as warrior, with all those battle dirt and fatigue, rather than the clean mean lady in armor :)
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:iconmy-sword-is-bigger:
My-Sword-is-Bigger Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's great :D They look much more legit now, too :)
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:iconcharcoalfeather:
charcoalfeather Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I like the ruins in the background and the shield in particular. You've improved on lot in terms of composition and background in addition to the characters!
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
Thank you very much for the praise and compliment! Background is hard, and making the drawing takes longer to finish, but it's nice to try and work on it for the future drawings :)
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:iconironsides11:
ironsides11 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014
They look gritty and dirty like warriors should, well done!

Also, it's cool to see those runestones laying around. Maybe they're attacking Dublin or another Norse realm.
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
You are correct! Maybe dublin, but other realms where the vikings have landed in Brittania :D
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:iconckyhc:
CKyHC Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014
when did you start to work out the background?)
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
Been experimenting with if for quite sometime now :)
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:iconbrowncoatmando:
BrowncoatMando Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Hobbyist
 Thanks for the shout out. See you went with my idea of a pan Celtic alliance- think that's as close as they'd ever get to true unity.  My take on Deideru would have to be a relative- the timing between this Deirderu and the one doesn't match(Heroes in  the Hills is 70 some years later)- I specifically state that the Normans have already conquered the Anglo-Saxons
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:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014   Photographer
I'm not sure of the accuracy of the armour etc., but I am only familiar with depictions of the Gauls, rather than the British Celts in the Roman and pre-Roman eras. I see there's a Viking stone on the left. Is this post-Roman, then? Or am I being too picky?
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:iconsolidsamurai:
SolidSamurai Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014
The series title is Medieval Revisited: 800-1400...
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:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2014   Photographer
Oh, in that period, they would indeed have had runestones. I've seen a couple myself in Sweden.
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
Generally speaking the design of the armor/helm would be pretty much similar, except that by the medieval period there's more Roman and Germanic influence, with better materials. But the drawing for the gallowglass is a mixed match between Norse-Gaellic style, pictish style and some Irish design as well :)

The viking stone is just to add the background :D
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:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014   Photographer
Of course, the "Germanic" influence includes a great deal of the steppe people's materials, like the "Spangenhelm", which is from Asia, etc.
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:iconryanryzzo:
RyanRyzzo Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I like how professional they look; especially Gwen. Dem eyes!
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
"The eyes of a soldier who has seen war is different than the eyes of a maiden confined in her chambers" , i remember seeing that argument somewhere =P
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:iconlavenderl:
lavenderl Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay Celts!  I love this picture; you're really perfecting your style. ^^
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:icongambargin:
Gambargin Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
Thank you, it's nice to try and do more things with the drawing :)
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:iconlavenderl:
lavenderl Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're most welcome.
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