Maya's Reviews > The Ancient Celts

The Ancient Celts by Barry W. Cunliffe
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Nov 18, 08

bookshelves: celtic-history

The author is an archeologist first and foremost and as such he includes a lot of that in the book, however he makes the effort to include other views also. The author was trying to give a picture of who the Ancient Celts were and in doing so he used three main tools. The first tool was how other people viewed the Celts and through what glasses. He gave us views that ranged from the classical writers to the historian of today. He also gave us a glimpse of why these people may have viewed the Celts the way they did. The second tool was the available archeological finds. Even these finds depended on who was interpreting them and how they saw these finds fitting in with their ideas and theories. The third tool is the linguistic and vernacular records. The linguistic evidence is very controversial and at times still untranslated, while the vernacular records has the hand of the Christian monks to muddy the waters a little (or a lot).

In a broad sense and in the confines of the material he had to cover in this book I would have to say that he achieved the goal he set out for himself. He gave us a broad sense of who the Celts were, where they have been and where they ended up. He was also able to tell us of the influences that were exerted on them and shaped them. He did also leave me with a lot of questions and details that I would have liked to have known. I think however, that in order for him to answer these questions he would have needed volumes. I think that for a more detailed picture of the Celts you would have to study the individual areas that they lived and the influences exerted on them there. Specific books on the Irish Celts and the British Celts and so on would probably have been better. Even with these parameters you would have needed detailed volumes on language, mythology, the cultures that they came in contact with, how these cultures saw the Celts and archeology to give a more through picture.
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