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From: Lauren Boyd <>
Subject: [Celts] Celts in Egypt
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 19:34:09 -0800

Celts in Egypt

Various pharaohs of ancient Egypt employed thousands of Celts as
professional soldiers in their armies, going back at least to the four
thousand Celts who served the pharaoh Ptolemy II, ruler of Egypt from
283 to 246 B.C. According to Pausianius and Callimachus, Celts even
attempted, unsuccessfully, to overthrow Ptolemy II and take over his
Egyptian kingdom. But Celtic soldiers were internationally held in very
high regard, and a couple of Egyptian reigns later, ten thousand Celts
from Thrace were employed by the pharaoh Ptolemy IV, who gratefully used
them to rout the twenty-thousand-man army of his enemy, Antiochus of

Peter Ellis describes four contemporary Celtic soldiers in Egypt who
provided their own unique footnote to history. In about 186 B.C. while
in the service of the pharaoh, Ptolemy V, these adventurous Celts, so
very far from home, took time off from their army duties to inscribe
their names in the chapel of Horus at the Great Temple of Karnak. In
fluent Greek, they described themselves as "Galatians," giving the Greek
form of their Celtic names, Thoas, Callistratos, Acannon and
Appollonios, and wrote that they had just caught a jackal (which they
mistook for a European fox). Like the pharaohs, these Celtic soldiers
may not have achieved immortality, but their literary effort in a
fleeting moment of time will allow their names to be known forever.
Ellis says that bands of Celts with their wives and children settled in
Egypt. Some of their graves have been found at Hadra near Alexandria.

quoted from pgs. 80-81 "Who Were the Celts" by Kevin Duffy, Ph.D.

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