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Galates (ancient Greek Γαλάτης) or Celtus (Keltos) (Greek Κέλτος) is the eponymous hero of the Celts in Greek mythology.

The descent of the Gauls from an eponymous hero appears first in Diodorus (Diod.sic. V 24), who reports that the demigod Hercules came through the land of the Celts after his fight with the giant Geryoneus in Hispania, where his daughter came to him seduced a local prince and thus became the father of the hero Galates, from whom the people of the Celts descended. Parthenios of Nicaea (Parthenios erto. 30) tells a similar story after Hercules fathered a son named Celtos with a princess named Keltine, daughter of King Bretannus.

The existence of such a legend is confirmed by Ammianus Marcellinus (Amm.Marcell. XV, 9) who mentions that this variant of the Celtic ancestry legend was the most widespread in his time and was often represented in Gaul in writing and images.

A different variant is reported by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, according to whom Hercules with Asterope, a daughter of Atlas, had two sons, Celtos and Iber, the ancestors of the Celts and Iberians.

The Descent of the Galatians
Timaeus of Tauromenion, as well as Callimachus in a fragmentary poem, are the first to mention the descent of the Asian Minor Galatians from a progenitor named Galates or Gallus (hence the country name Γαλατία), who is said to have been a son of the Nereid Galateia and the Cyclops. Appian tells a similar variant (Appian, hist. Roman. 10,1,2), according to which the nymph Galateia had three sons, Celtos, Galas and Illyros, who became the progenitors of the Celts, Galatians and Illyrians. Deviating from this genealogy, Eustathius mentions a descent of the Galatians from the god Apollo.

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