We widespread Celts enjoyed song, dance, and story telling in a society with equal rights for men and women, yet we were a quarrelsome lot never coming together in an empire. We fought others but mainly ourselves. Tales tell of both sexes venturing into battle in the nude but covered with frightening designs created by woad, a brilliant blue plant dye. Caesar reported painted Britanni and the northern Celts were named Picts from Picti (Painted Ones). To honour them students at Eton College (founded 1440 near Windsor, Berkshire) in 1914 composed this:
What’s the use of wearing braces
Socks and pants and shoes with laces
Other things you buy in places
Down in Saville Row.
What’s the use of shirts of cotton,
Studs that always get forgotten,
Such affairs are simply rotten
Better far is woad.
Woad’s the stuff to show men
Woad to scare your foemen
Boil it to a brilliant hue
Then rub it on your back and your abdomen.
March up Snowdon with your woad on
Never mind if you get rained or snowed on
Never want a button sewed on-
Tailors, you be blowed.
Romans came across the channel
All dressed up in tin and flannel
Half a pint of woad per man
Will dress us more than these.
Saxons you may waste your stitches
Building beds for bugs in breeches
We have woad to clothe us which
Is not a nest for fleas.
Romans keep your armours
Saxons your pyjamas
Hairy coats were meant for goats
Gorillas, yaks, retriever dogs, and llamas,
Ancient Britons never hit on
Anything as good as woad to fit on
Necks or knees or where you sit on-
Go it Ancient Bs.
Ye Olde Scribe