Littera Deusto

Modern Languages, Basque Studies and Humanities

Celtic invasion of Greece; Succes or failure?

enero 17th, 2014 · No hay Comentarios

The celtic invasion of Greece during the early years of the 3rd century BC has spurred a great deal of controversy. Many historians and schollars deem it a crushing defeat of the invading force since they failed to stablish a permanent presence within central Greece. But was it their purpose?

Other schollars consider that the fauilure theory is only sustainable if occupation was the celts objetive, but what if it wasn´t? The celts leaded by Brennus assasinated the Ptolomeus, the king of Macedon, anahilating his royal line and thus creating havoc and chaos within the real for generations. They also managed to destroys Lisimacho´s kingdom of Thrace, sacked Heraclide and it´s sourrandings and lay waste to the countryside up to Delphi. They were eventually driven off at the sacred city but was it a greek victory? The killing and looting was considerable from the part of the celts and their armies were not destroyed, but what remained of them returned to their homelands with their plunder. And here lies the key for understanding this event. They were not looking for conquest, but for wealth.

And even in this alleged defeate one of the warbands managed to settle in central Anatolia which eventualy was named after them, these were the Galatinas. These men founded a kingdom which received payment for peace from such powers as Pergamus and Pontus. Other made their way to Egipt and became part of the royal guard of the lagid pharaos, such was the fame adquired by the celts during their greek expedition. Then again, if they managed to drestroy one kingdom, lay waste over Greece and Macedon and hold to ransom several anatolian cities and kingdoms, How was that a defeat?

The answer to that question remains open but one cannot avoid to ask if it may have something to do with the fact that all historical reports about the event came from the attacked and the plundered…


-Celtic settlements of Eastern Europe (2013, Novemeber, 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17 January 2014, from

-Peter Levi´s translation of Pausanias´ Guide for the Greece 10.19.4-23.9 (2012, August, 06). In Retrieved 17 January 2014, from
Brennos II sacking Delphi


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