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The Celts (Penguin History)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  644 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Although there is no written record of their prehistoric culture, the Celtic people left behind much archaeological and anthropological evidence of a way of life that was highly evolved. Tracing this evolution from their arrival in the British Isles in about the eighth century B.C. to the gradual transformation of the Celtic culture under Roman and Saxon rule, this celebra ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 320 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Penguin Books (first published 1970)
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Sep 27, 2015 ·Karen· marked it as partially-read
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Set aside for now.
If I had exams coming up, or someone standing over me with chocolate each time I finished a chapter and a poke in the eye when I didnae, then I might have enough extraneous motivation to wade through this bog. As it is, my interest is more on the level of it-would-be-quite-nice-to-know-a-bit about the Celts, but not on the level of needing to have encyclopaedic knowledge of every detail of each of the different geographical areas where there is evidence of their existence. At f
Mar 22, 2014 Seph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
Since the beginning of my interest in ancient history and culture I have been held by an inexplicable fascination with all things Celtic. At least, what I perceived as Celtic from my admittedly untrained eye. Nora Chadwick's volume "The Celts" has only served to further my interest in their long history, varied culture, and supernatural worldview as expressed through their art, literature, and religion.

At the start of reading this volume I had only previously read T.W. Rollerston's "Celtic Myths
Jan 13, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really interesting read, as history books go. Extremely detailed with the names of tribes, people, and places. (It was reminiscent of the million and one names you'll come across in the Illiad in only one paragraph.) Once I got over my anxiety of trying to remember all these names, then I was able to just focus on the larger picture and I found it fascinating. It not only deals with the names and dates type of history, but includes culture, religion, and language discussions, too. I a ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Nighteye rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: want to read more about the Insular Celts
In my course "Celtic History and Culture" in Uppsala universety Sweden I've read this book(1997 edition) as a supplement to the course ground book Barry Cunliffes "The Ancient Celts".
In this great book and I've read chapter 3(The origins of the Celtic kingdoms in Britain and Ireland), 4(The development of the Celtic kingdoms of the west), 5(Institutions and way of life), half of chapter 6(Religion and mythology) and 8(Celtic art).
This book is well written with a lot of facts mostly regarding the
Jun 06, 2013 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-history
This book was a slog to get through, but it was satisfying in the end. The author is certainly one of the most knowledgeable on the subject, but the book is a little outdated in places now. More pictures and less exposition of some of the Celtic myths would have made the book more enjoyable, but overall it is a good book, not too long, and gets across the important points of the Celtic culture, from is Neolithic European origins through to the first centuries of Christianity.
Andrine Morse
When I first read this in 1982, I was so fascinated, I was launched like a spiritual rocket ship down the path my life would take. However, after 30 years of training and study, my thoughts are vastly different; the subjective assumptions made throughout are inaccurate, however, the facts stand alone and are accurate. The interpretations made by the Author are too colonialized to be of much benefit as the embargo on the truth is lifted.
Richard Thomas
Dec 25, 2014 Richard Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: archaeology
This is still one of the best overviews of the Celts although getting a little dated although I must admit this is a review of the earlier edition. Worth having regardless.
Jun 11, 2015 Godlarvae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-celts
Nora has produced a herculean work that outlines the ancient Celt civilization. Altho tedious as can be with place/area names, proper names of a myriad of writers, a myriad of characters, a myriad of dates, it also gives a cogent synopsis of the history of the period which enriched the rather dry facts (I especially appreciated the sections of Irish and Welsh descriptions).
This book could well be used as a college text as long as there was a 101 class to give us laity a foundation for understan
Lee Broderick
A little out of date now, but still one of the best overviews of the subject.
May 02, 2008 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
Excellent reference book on the Celtic history. I own this in German.
Apr 21, 2008 Patrick\ rated it really liked it
A warrior culture with artistic talents - again and again. A good survey book.
Oct 14, 2011 Cicely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the mainstay of many students of Celtic Mythology.
James Prothero
Good stuff. Lots of information, but much of it I already knew.
An introduction to Celtic studies that focuses on a wide range of Celtic topics including religion (both pre and post Christian), culture, art, and society. It also does a fantastic job of explaining how "Celtic" isn't a homogenous entity, but rather many different cultures over a large area over a large period of time.
Feb 13, 2015 Dermo rated it it was amazing
while studying Irish language, history and Celtic Civilisation at uni, I constantly came across references, quotes and arguments taken from this seminal book. having been told it was out of print, I was delighted recently to find an original copy in good shape in a second hand bookstore. an excellent overview for someone with no knowledge of the subject, and even for an enthusiast, there is plenty to keep you reading. wholly recommended.
Nick Looker
Feb 01, 2016 Nick Looker rated it liked it
A rather wordy review of the Celts, particularly those from the British Isles. Great scholarship, but failed to bring the people alive to me.
Jun 15, 2016 Jen marked it as dnf
Not an easy book to slog through. There are grammatical mistakes and missing commas that make reading an already dense text even more challenging. I also find the lack of maps disappointing. I definitely need to read a more introductory text instead.
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Nora Kershaw Chadwick (1891-1972), married to Hector Munro Chadwick, published widely on the Celts and Oral Literature.
More about Nora Chadwick...

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