The Man

Grave of Warrior | Halstatt Burial at Eberdingen-Hochdorf | Helmet | Rodenbach Armlet | Sword Hilt

The "Celtic Man" is difficult to define outside of the notion of warrior or a "Prince."  In fact it is almost impossible to do so. The term more often used in connection with the graves from which most of these objects were drawn is "princely."  This term is problematic because it implies gender and a particularly modern perspective. If used conscientiously, however, it can be instrumental in helping to describe a particular kind of Celtic grave or tomb, a type that crosses temporal and cultural boundaries.

"Since the last century the tombs of the sixth to the fourth centuries containing gold grave gods and bronze vessels have been labeled 'princely tombs'. All attempts to get round this term, such as 'chieftain's tombs' or 'aristocratic tombs,' 'lavish tombs,' or 'rich tombs,' have failed - the first two because they were no improvement on the 'princely' idea and the second because they fail to evoke the reality these tombs present." (Heffner: 155)

Therefore, any attempt to analyze the grave goods so that one can reconstruct the gender role of the male in Celtic society cannot be done easily without using the terms warrior and/or ruler.   One of the only gender specific grave goods that lies outside of the sub-title is the razor.  Beyond this, many of the object interred with the deceased male are also found in the grave of the female, for example, the armlet was also found in female graves, as well as the large drinking vessel and the chariot. The grave goods included in this exhibition fall into the sub categories of weapons; helmets, a sword hilt, jewelry, and vessels for banqueting.  Many of these objects will be discussed in greater detail under the heading The Warrior and The Host, or have been noted under The Woman.  As in the female graves, their inclusion should be seen as a symbol of wealth and status concomitant with any interpretation of their practical function.

Gender specific grave goods are the sword, the dagger, arrows, the axe, the shield, the helmet and the razor.  It should be obvious that most refer to a military function within the community, while the razor makes reference to personal hygiene.  Like the mirror, the place of the razor in the grave invites interesting questions concerning the notion of a Celtic after-life.  Finally, in familiar terms, it has been noted that, the sword and the razor were attributes of high ranking officials. (Mohen, 104.)   By placing these tombs within the context of a community and by focusing on the grave goods as indicative of  wealth and functioning as luxury items, new research has been able to better understand them as "ěpart of the general spectrum of coeval funerary systems." (Haffner, 155) Understanding these graves as a part of, but not entirely the norm, is crucial to their analysis.

 

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