From Goliath to the Templars

29 Apr 2021

At ... the discovery of one of the biggest Iron Age weapon hoards in Germany - on a small mountain. Do they mean a large hill. As it was crowned by a hill fort, which is where the hoard was buried, one would think so. It is located near Wilzenberg. At a press conference they claimed it was a Celtic hoard rather than a German one, which is odd. How did the Celts of Iron Age Germany become the Celts of Atlantic Europe? Is the term Celtic out of date when considering the first millennium BC. Yes but the Greeks mention the Celtic tribes - but were they also German?

The weapons themselves were captured and buried around 300BC but the Iron Age lasted between 800BC and the activities of Caesar in around 45BC. The hill fort has analogies with numerous hill forts in the UK -and they are also identified as Celtic. Were they also German? The weapons were unearthed as the excavators employed metal detectors in order to search for iron objects.

At ... which is thought to be Biblical Gath. Goliath was of course, another giant - but was he some kind of god? The tale involves David and 'five' sling stones, a common mythical number [the five beans of Jack the giant killer]. Gath was destroyed, it is thought, by Hazael of Damascus, in the 8th century BC [or late 9th]. Ongoing excavations at the site may clarify when that happened. Was it at the end of Iron IB, for example. Gath was also captured by the Babylonians in 604BC and was later settled in the Roman period, and even more recently, occupied by the crusaders and then by an Arab village.

At ... where we have the Knights Templar role in medieval Cyprus. Presumably an English language interview led to a concentration on Richard the Lionheart, king of England and France. The crusades were largely a French affair but Normans colonised various parts of Europe and therefore knights were spread across the continent, if rather thinly from England. Richard I lived mainly in France when he wasn't gallivanting around the Near East. In fact, a lot of crusaders had passed through Cyprus prior to Richard I, who was late on the scene. He was famous for some skirmishes with Saladin who went on to oust the crusaders from the Levant. Saladin was a Kurd, which is interesting as modern Islamics are generally opposed to Kurdish independence and Kurds in general. The Cypriot authorities have esablished a museum of medieval Cyprus which illustrates their long history as allies of Europe rather than the Islamic world. What with Templars and the Hospitallers of St John they have a lot of history to play around with, in order to attract tourists. A chapel attached to castle was associated with Richard I - he got married there. Richard is said to have sold Cyprus to the Templars - but it probably was not as simple as that. Other factors came into play - such as the defeat of the crusader kingdom by Saladin.