Perhaps some of the most famous art from the Celtic world are the famous Torcs which are perhaps THE piece of jewellery most associated with Celtic society.

These Torcs, worn around the neck, were mostly made from gold and bronze although some have been discovered that have been made from other metals. These beautiful pieces of art were the most obvious display of wealth and was a sign of a persons high rank within the society, strictly reserved for the highest nobility who would wear them during rituals or even into battle and in some cases would be the only thing warriors would wear on their naked bodies.

Aside from being used in battle and for religious purposes the Torc was also connected to the divine and appear frequently throughout Celtic mythology, there are images of the god Cernunnos on the Gundestrup Cauldron wearing a torc around his neck and from the antlers held in his hand and many deities have been depicted on various pieces of jewellery.

Beyond the Celts, Torcs were used as decorative pieces of jewellery amongst the later Germanic tribes and the Vikings, Medieval and much later example of a Torc being used as some form of ceremonial item comes from Gerald of Wales. In his writings, he mentions that in 1188 he came across a Torc that had once been worn by a prince from the 5th century who describes it as “so powerful a relic, that no man dares swear falsely when it is laid before him”. Sadly this relic is now lost but fortunately many have been discovered across the Celtic lands that today give us a fascinating insight to the beautiful craftmanship and deep spiritual connection of these wonderful artefacts.

Weekly article from @history_nerdette


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