Celtic cross

A Celtic Cross, or High Cross Irish Cross is an element of the early medieval and medieval sacred art in Celtic cultural area of the British Isles and Ireland (Cornwall, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales). There is a bar cross with extended support beams ( Latin cross ), usually carved out of stone, in which the intersection of the beams is a ring. In heraldry is this form that has spread in folklore to Sweden ( Midsummer Cross), referred to as the wheel cross. The original Irish high crosses were not found on tombs, but highlighted a special decorative area or holy land. They were also regional social venues around which celebrations were held.

Early forms

The preform simple form crosses, which were cut into menhirs. You are on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry most common. The oldest Irish crosses ( cross- slabs ) in Carndonagh and Fahan, County Donegal in the ring, which appears only in the Cross of Ahenny ( 8th century ) and in the 12th century ( Dysert O'Dea, County Clare ) is missing again disappears but in grave crosses today is common. A formal approach to the real Celtic Cross represents raw Keerogue Cross in Errigal in a cemetery in County Tyrone represents an evolution towards Celtic cross is perhaps the undatierbare cross in the cemetery of Noughaval (Co. Clare ). Especially the early Irish crosses ( from Carndonagh and Fahan - 7th and 8th century ) as well as the slightly later Welsh " Pillar crosse " ( Neuadd Siarman ) are decorated with knot patterns in several guises. In some crosses, there are also images that do not fit into a Christian context, such as Celtic warriors on horseback.

Later forms

The High Crosses of Ireland are divided into regional groups (Barrow Valley, Midlands, Nordleinster, Ossory and Ulster ). Later, groups of figures, as they are particularly well the Ardboe and Donaghmore cross in the County Tyrone show typical. Only crosses which emerged after the 9th century, often showing biblical scenes ( Kells, Clonmacnoise Southern Cross ), some of which are purely ornamental. The built before this time high crosses show exclusively Irish- Celtic designs and symbols. The climax of the pictorial art represents the Muiredach Cross at Monasterboice, Co. Louth represents a stylistically completely different and arguably the most beautiful of the obtained high crosses is. Moone of in County Kildare The design with animals and birds should go back to ideas in the Gaelic -Celtic area in front of Christianization. The late crosses ( 12th century), the ring still in ornamentation, but not in the contour. Sometimes the ring is lying, it is more common but easily trimmed with quarter-circular openings. Often it has a reduced cross section compared to the cross-beam. The ornamentation of the cross itself is usually framed and seems to have been carved before completing the assembly of the cross on the prepared surfaces of the stone. The "unfinished Cross of Kells " refers to this approach. The vertical bar can be thicker or have a socket down. The Irish distinguish between ordinary Celtic crosses and Celtic high crosses extent that the latter are ornamental and at least 800 years old.

Deposits in Ireland and the UK

Stone monuments are also in the British Isles part of the early Christian commemoration. Scotland has important stones from the early days of Christianity. These include the High Crosses of Iona and Kildalton from the late 8th century. The peoples in early medieval Scotland, Picts, Scots, Britons and fishing are assigned to various sculptural styles.

In the north and east of Scotland were the Picts. Before they created free-standing crosses, the Picts chose from large stone slabs that decorated them in the light of the cross ( Cross - Slab ). Although the Pictish symbolism was compatible with Christianity, it was never put on the cross. In the late 8th and 9th centuries stones appear with Christian motifs in addition to the Pictish symbols. They show that the Picts had now gained access to Christian iconography. The biblical story of David was a favorite of the representations. On the stone shrine of St. Andrew is designed impressive. Motifs such as Daniel in the lions' den or Paul and Anthony, break the bread in the wilderness, occur as well.

Cross stones were also favored by the British in Strathclyde and Galloway, whereas the Scots of Argyll and the fishing in the South East of Scotland who preferred free-standing crosses. The High Crosses of Iona and Islay show the connection between Irish, Pictish and Northumbrian elements while the great Ruthwell Cross is in Dumfriesshire with his Latin and runic inscriptions a highlight of early medieval European art.

The ring cross is also known from Sweden, where it is on Gotland as a triumph Cross and otherwise encountered as Midsummer cross. The sechsblätterige star pattern on the Scottish Cross - Slab Cladh a'Bhile, on Gotland has also its equivalents. In this connecting line also has the " Sueno's Stone ", a Scottish Bildstein with Nordic motifs, after the Danish King Sven ( Forkbeard ) should be named.

Well-known Irish high crosses:

  • Ahenny, County Tipperary
  • Ardboe County Tyrone
  • Carndonagh, County Donegal
  • Drumcliff, Co. Sligo
  • Dysert O'Dea, County Clare
  • Glendalough County Wicklow St. Kevin 's Cross
  • Fahan, County Donegal
  • Monasterboice, County Louth
  • Clonmacnoise Cross of the Scriptures, County Galway
  • Clonmacnoise North Cross, County Galway
  • Clonmacnoise South Cross, County Galway
  • Kells, County Meath
  • Moone, County Kildare

Known Scottish crosses ( no cross slabs ):

  • Dupplin Cross
  • Iona Abbey Crosses
  • Inchbrayok Cross
  • Kildalton Cross
  • Meigle 1 Cross
  • Ruthwell Cross,
  • St. Martin's Cross


Outside the British Isles, there is this little cross shape, but there are numerous French examples from the coast of the Pays de Caux ( Veules -les -Roses, Saint -Pierre- en-Port, etc. ) to Brittany ( Lanvallay, etc. ) and on hiking trails in the Limousin and Auvergne.

More examples can be found on old grave stones of the Cotentin Peninsula.

Cross with Nimbus on the island of Saint- Cado (Brittany )

Details of the Cross of Chambon- sur -Lac (Auvergne, 15th century)

Celtic cross on a war cemetery in Limburg- Dietkirchen

Icon on the extreme right

The isosceles ' Celtic cross was the sign of the right-wing extremist and banned People's Socialist Movement of Germany ( VSBD / PdA ) and is still an icon in the right-wing scene - widely - in highly stylized form. In this context, it is a punishable according to the German penal code using symbols of unconstitutional organizations. According to the jurisprudence of the Federal Court, an isolated using a stylized isosceles Celtic cross can (ie, " the representation of an isosceles beams cross to its intersection is placed a ring " ) may be punishable under § 86a of the German Criminal Code, if not the external circumstances indicate clearly that the protective purpose of the standard is not affected. The isosceles Celtic cross is usually associated with the White Power movement in the U.S.. This variant is also similar to the symbol of the so-called Zodiac killer, a serial killer in the late 1960s, the United States, its actions were not racially motivated.

In France, the Celtic cross was the symbol since 1945 several right-wing and neo-fascist groups, especially prominent it was in the 1960s through their use by the OAS, a paramilitary organization that tried to prevent the independence of Algeria by force.

The European National Front ( ENF ), a consortium of European right-wing parties used a stylized Celtic cross in their logo. In Poland, the symbol was in 2011 by the party's National Rebirth of Poland ( Polish member of the ENF ) registered as a trademark.