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In Greek mythology, Celtus (/ˈsɛltəs/; Ancient Greek: Κέλτος, Keltos /ˈkɛlˌtɒs/) was regarded as the eponymous progenitor of the Celts.[1]

There are two alternative traditions. One, found in Appian's Illyrian Wars,[2] holds that Celtus was the son of Polyphemos and Galatea and the brother of Illyrius and Galas.[3] The other, found in the Erotica Pathemata ("Sorrows of Love") by the 1st-century grammarian Parthenius of Nicaea,[4] and also known from the medieval Etymologicum Magnum,[5] has Celtus as the son of Heracles and Celtine.[6]


  1. ^ Irad Malkin The Returns of Odysseus: Colonization and Ethnicity 1998 0520920260 p. 248 "Braccesi suggests that Diomedes was therefore the "archegetes [founding leader] of the Gauls"77 and that the ... It has also been suggested that the aitiological-eponymic tale of the Cyclops Polyphemos and Galatea, parents of Keltos (Celts,.."
  2. ^ Appian, Illyrian Wars 1.2
  3. ^ The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle 1832
  4. ^ Parthenius of Nicaea, Erotica Pathemata 30
  5. ^ Etymologicum Magnum, 502. 45 under Keltoi
  6. ^ Ebenezer Cobham Brewer Wordsworth Dictionary of Phrase and Fable Page 230