Social and Political Make-up: Celtic people-Population 500,000
Binchy’s classification: “tribal, rural, hierarchical and familiar” (ie family based)
(a) Tribal 150 tuatha each with own king or “Ri”.
Kings were chosen from the ruling “deirbfhine” and successors also decided.
King was a figurehead and had to be strong and morally superior. Had to
live in an appropriate manner to bring honour on his tribe to which he was effectively married. Would lead his people in war and could negotiate peace treaties but could not frame laws or act as judge. Inauguration took place at the “feis” which involved mating ceremonies and other pagan ****** rites which Patrick found objectionable.
Confederations of tuatha could band together and elect an over-king. Ordinary kings paid tribute and received payment from the over-king.
(b) Rural Mainly isolated farmsteads. Dense forestation made travel and
communication difficult. Populations were insular, distrustful of strangers
and warlike. Most common dwellings were raths, crannogs and larger
constructions called duns or forts. (see page 13)
(c) Hierarchical- Rank was determined by birth and wealth and a person could
rise or fall in status. At the top was the king then nobles, freemen and the…