SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.

Celtic Cross

Celtic crosses are beautiful survivors of ancient Celtic culture and art.

An ornamented standing stone cross, often with a circle connecting the arms, is called a High Cross. There are various other names for this cross, including the Iona Cross, Scottish Cross, Irish Cross, Welsh Cross, Anglican Cross, St. Luke's Cross, St. John's Cross, Halo Cross and Sun Cross among others. The cross arms may extend beyond the circle or terminate at the circle, in which case it can also be referred to as a Disc Cross.  

A variety of 'Celtic' crosses bear inscriptions in ogham: an early medieval alphabet. Standing crosses in Ireland and areas under Irish influence tend to be shorter and more massive than their Anglo-Saxon equivalents, which have mostly lost their headpieces.  

The Celtic Revival of the mid-19th century led to the increased use and creation of Celtic crosses in Ireland. In 1853, casts of several historical high crosses were exhibited at the Dublin Industrial Exhibition. Since then, as an integral part of funerary arts and symbolism, the Celtic cross has been used extensively as a grave marker.  

Apart from the Irish Celtic crosses, similar crosses can be found in other European continental areas of Celtic culture, such as Normandy, Brittany, or Auvergne in France, or Asturias and Galicia in Northern Spain, among others.  

Pastoureau, 13-67. Neubecker, 106-107. Murray, 296-297

celtic cross

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