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The Ancient Celts Hardcover – September 25, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0198150107 ISBN-10: 0198150105 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (September 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198150105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198150107
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Each generation, the British scholar Jacquetta Hawkes has observed, chooses the archaeology that best suits its current ideology. For a century beginning in the late 1800s, archaeologists depicted the Celts as an inordinately brave and poetic tribal people who battled their way across the Eurasian world without being unduly aggressive--in the manner, that is, of good colonialists. Today some archaeologists are more inclined to consider the Celts as a people who kept ethnic unity alive across a huge span of territory and time, a view that may offer comfort in a time when, as Oxford University professor Barry Cunliffe writes, "ethnic divisions are becoming a painful and disturbing reality." Cunliffe himself takes the view that the Celts were at once alike and diverse, which led to the formation of many different Celtic cultures from the Black Sea to Ireland. This heavily illustrated, well-written book tells their story well, from the beginnings of Celtic culture in the distant Indo-European past to the height of Celtic power in the third century A.D.

From Library Journal

This survey of the origins of the Celts and their expansion during the Iron Age through their largely successful subjection by the Romans is sure to be of interest to many readers. Cunliffe (European archaeology, Oxford) has written a readable and informatve book with many attractive illustrations, a good index, and a helpful annotated bibliography. The focus is archaeological, but not exclusively, as Cunliffe does explore literary and oral traditions as well. An interesting aspect of the book is the description of 18th- and 19th-century amateur archaeologists and Celtic enthusiasts. The Celtic peoples are a popular topic among many scholars and lay readers, and this title would be a good purchase for larger public and most academic libraries.?Charles V. Cowling, Drake Memorial Lib., Brockport, N.Y.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 6, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cunliffe finds a solid ground between Iron Age archaeologists (many of whom are questioning the validity of the whole idea of a "Celtic" culture) and linguists and literary scholars (who can't help but see connections beyond the scope of coincidence between medieval, Insular texts and Iron Age, continental material remains). He both shows the complexity of the European Iron Age cultures and advances convincing hypotheses for similarity *and* variation among them, over space and over time. Anyone who is interested in the reality of the Celtic world should read this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Larry Cosgrove on July 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When reading this book, you have to separate the proverbial bad from the good. Cunliffe gives only minimal information concerning the evolution of the Celtic languages. And absolutely nothing about recent genetic findings which totally disprove the idea that what is now Irish, Scottish, and Welsh originated in central Europe (think Iberian Peninsula, and that goes for most native England residents as well). Still, this is a good resource for the anthroplogy and archaeology buffs, with a great background on the La Tene culture and the impacts of Romanization on western Europe and its tribes. I was a bit disappointed with the introductory chapters, which deal with the "image" of the Celts in the eyes of observers past and present. Frankly, I would rather have had more information on any impacts this civilzation had on the remote fringes of the "Keltoi" wanderings and placement in the Indo-European language tree.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Tim Stephens on August 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful overview of the Celts from their earliest written history to Romanization or Christianization. Controversial and speculative issues seem to be presented from the most accepted sides, and Cunliffe clearly identifies his own opinions. I would recommend this to anyone interested in ancient, European or Celtic history, but not as an introductory text.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like the way this book is written. We used it in a course on early continental Celtic languages, as it provides the cultural background, based, mostly, on archaeological finds.
A few of my classmates, however, thought that the way the chapters are ordered was a bit haphazardly. I have to agree that the author does skip back and forth through the chronology of what is written, but that didn't bother me at all.

I would recommend this book to any one who'd like to get to know more about the early Celtic culture, how that culture came to be and how it was swallowed up by the Roman Empire.
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By Jf on December 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dry but overall good source book for Celtic history. I do not agree with certain suggestions and conclusions by the author, but none the less this is a fine book on an amazing peoples
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