20 Research Essay Topics: Interesting Facts about Celtic Christianity

Topics and ideas
Posted on February 18, 2016

If you are tasked with research writing on Celtic Christianity, then you will no doubt need a topic on which to write. Below are twenty topics which might be of use to you:

  1. Roman Christianity as the Foundation for Celtic Christianity in the Early Middle Ages
  2. The Defeat of Gaul and Vanishing of Mainland European-based Celtic Culture
  3. Factors Influencing Name Change from Celtic to Insular Culture
  4. Powerful Impact of Celtic Civilization on European Art
  5. Geographic Limitations of Christianity in Ireland
  6. First Signs of Christianity in Ireland during 3rd Century
  7. Destruction of the Mithraic Temple and Christian Rituals
  8. Why Were Celts Considered Recklessly Brave by Romans in Battle
  9. Druids and Their Indulgence in Ritual Sacrifices
  10. How Banning from Sacrifices Functioned as the Most Extreme Druid Punishment
  11. Power Held by Druids over Celtic Society
  12. Legend of St. Patrick’s Miraculous Power against Druidic Opponents
  13. La Téne Artwork with Stylized Animal Motifs v. Hallstatt Artwork
  14. Confederations among Celtic People
  15. Celtic Warrior Kings and Queens
  16. How Celtic Language and Culture Distinguished Celts from Other Europeans
  17. How Religion Tied Celtic People Together
  18. Decentralized Structure among Celtic Society
  19. Impact of Christianity on Pagan Priesthood in Celtic Society
  20. Why Attacking Druids was Taboo yet Done by Christian Romans

Sample Research Essay: Roman Christianity as the Foundation for Celtic Christianity in the Early Middle Ages

Although Ireland was never officially part of the Roman Catholic Church, the rise of Christianity in Rome is what laid the foundation for Celtic Christianity to develop. Little primary evidence remains of Celtic culture in Gaul prior to Roman occupation.  However, numerous secondary sources can be found pertaining to the Roman influence and early Christian development among the Celts. Rome first began as a small village that rose to become the seat of power for one of the greatest empires in the world. The early settlers along the peninsula influenced the Romans greatly, with the peoples they conquered. Romans were known for being innovators in culture, art, government and engineering. They were able to conquer the entire Mediterranean and the most part of Europe through warfare. Although the Romans initially persecuted Christians, Christianity would later become the official religion of the Roman Empire.

The development of Rome was greatly influenced by geography. An important crossroads was located on the narrow Italian peninsula. Farmland was also plentiful. Strategically located inland on the hills directly along the Tiber River, Rome had numerous advantages. By the late 6th century they were able to overthrow the Etruscan kings and establish their own republic. This early republic was dominated by wealthy patrician landowners who served in the Roman Senate. Plebeians, male non-patrician Romans, were able to vote and serve in the army, but they were not able to marry patricians nor could they be elected. Rome was never able to establish a democracy, but universal standards of justice were developed that would later influence numerous other societies. Most of Italy was brought under Roman control over the course of several centuries. The main rival of Rome was Carthage, located in the Mediterranean. During the Third Punic War, Roma was able to finally defeat Carthage and dominate the Mediterranean Sea.

Few aristocrats dominated the state of Rome by the 2nd century B.C. As a result of the fact that few small farmers could compete, there was an outcry for land reform. These pressures were resisted by aristocrats and civil war erupted. During the First Triumvirate, power was placed in the hands of three generals, all of whom were wealthy. It was one of these generals, Julius Caesar, who would march on Rome along with his troops and eventually become a dictator. When he was assassinated, his rule came to an end. Octavian became emperor during the Second Triumvirate and was known as Emperor Augustus. During this time the civil wars ceased and the Roman Empire was able to expand until the Empire had a population of 50 million. Commerce and trade thrived during this time.

In many regards the Romans mimicked Greek culture. They were also able to develop their own sculpture and create extensive methods of engineering in their construction of roads, aqueducts and bridges. While in early Rome, the male head of the household had absolute authority, that authority began to wane by the 3rd century B.C.  At that time women gained the ability to obtain a divorce and began to enjoy more independence.

Christianity began to emerge during a period of significant unrest in Judea, a Roman province. Numerous Jews in the region began to follow Jesus, although many remained split on how to respond. He was seen by many as a possible revolutionary and eventually he was turned over to the Roman authorities after being denounced by a Jewish court. Christianity began as a small sect religion following his death, which quickly began to spread. A Jewish Roman citizen, Paul of Tarsus, preached Christianity throughout Asia Minor as well as along the Aegean coast to both Jews and non-Jews. Although Romans had been historically tolerant of other religions, Christianity was viewed as a threat to the state. As a result, Christians were often persecuted. During the 4th century, the emperor Constantine offered tolerance of the Christian religion, which would eventually set the stage for Christianity to be adopted as the official religion of the Roman Empire.

After the death of Marcus Aurelius, the confusion and conflict that followed was fraught by civil wars, invasions and plague. As a result, the empire was brought to the edge of collapse. The empire was temporarily stabilized by Constantine through reforms, tight controls and even coercion. The empire was divided into four units when Diocletian declared that it was too large to be ruled by a single emperor. In the eastern part of the empire, Byzantium became the capital. Two invading tribes, the Visigoths and the Vandals, later tore apart Rome. In the western region, the emperor was deposed by invaders, marking the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Bradley, Ian C. Celtic Christianity. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999. Print.
Cooper, Michael. “Missiological Reflections On Celtic Christianity”. Mission Studies 20.1 (2003): 35-55. Web.
de Waal, E. “Book Review: Celtic Christianity And Nature”. Theology 100.795 (1997): 222-223. Web.
Donnelly, Jason M. “Early Celtic Christianity – By Brendan Lehane”. Religious Studies Review 34.3 (2008): 214-214. Web.
Duncan, Anthony Douglas. The Elements Of Celtic Christianity. Shaftesbury, Dorset: Element, 1997. Print.
Kelly, Fergus, ed. Audacht Morainn. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1976.
Meek, D. E. “Book Review: Celtic-Inspired Revivalist Movements, Celtic Christianity: Making Myths And Chasing Dreams”. The Expository Times 111.3 (1999): 100-101. Web.
Meek, Donald E. The Quest For Celtic Christianity. Edinburgh: Handsel Press, 2000. Print.
Murphy, Gerard, ed. Early Irish lyrics: eighth to twelfth century. Four Courts Pr Ltd, 1956.
O’Meara, John J. “The Voyage of St Brendan: Journey to the Promised Land.” (1978): 31.

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