Pronounced with a hard c. Celtic is a term used to describe both the pre-Roman inhabitants of Britain and their post-Roman descendants on the western fringes of the British Isles, Wales, Ireland, Cornwall and Scotland. However, neither Herodotus nor Caesar record that the inhabitants of Britain called themselves Celts. Only the people in central Gaul were known as Celts. There were similarities in art, language and culture between Britain and the continent, but this does not automatically mean that everyone considered themselves one social group. Indeed, it is thought that tribes in the British Isles were thought of as distinct from the Celts.


The term Celt was first used to describe pre-Roman tribes by William Stukeley in the eighteenth century about the same time as the idea of Britishness was used. It is therefore thought that the creation of the Celtic myth was part of an attempt to establish a British national identity.