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The Celts: A Very Short Introduction af…
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The Celts: A Very Short Introduction (original 2003; udgave 2003)

af Barry Cunliffe (Forfatter)

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250781,639 (3.89)2
Savage and bloodthirsty, or civilized and peaceable? The Celts have long been a subject of enormous fascination, speculation, and misunderstanding. From the ancient Romans to the present day, their real nature has been obscured by a tangled web of preconceived ideas and stereotypes.Barry Cunliffe seeks to reveal this fascinating people for the first time, using an impressive range of evidence, and exploring subjects such as trade, migration, and the evolution of Celtic traditions. Along the way, he exposes the way in which society's needs have shaped our visions of the Celts,and examines such colourful characters as St Patrick, Cu Chulainn, and Boudica.… (mere)
Medlem:victoriarota
Titel:The Celts: A Very Short Introduction
Forfattere:Barry Cunliffe (Forfatter)
Info:Oxford University Press (2003), Edition: 1, 176 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Celtic History and Culture, Early Europe

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The Celts: A Very Short Introduction af Barry Cunliffe (2003)

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This is an interesting, scholarly and rather superficial introduction to the Celts. The author focuses more on trying to identify what "Celtic" was in the past and what it means today, than in describing Celtic culture, history or language. The book was ok and provided "a very short introduction" to the subject matter, which is about all you can expect from this book. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
This is a great book on art, history and language. It provides an Atlantic perspective rather than the typical north-south view of Europe. ( )
  drsabs | Mar 27, 2016 |
A short but very illuminating book about the "Celts".
The author does an excellent job of presenting the various aspects of evidence that points towards there being a broadly defined Celtic culture, from written sources, archaeological evidence and surviving languages. He present the case for the concept of a "Celtic" people being the construct of outsiders until recently, whether ancient Greeks or Romans in the sixth to first century BC or the revival of the term in the seventeenth century by antiquarians.
He notes that no one in Britain or Ireland is recorded to have called themselves a “Celt” or “Celtic” before 1700’ and that the Welsh, Scots, Irish and other peoples have only come to describe themselves and their ancestors as Celts since the eighteenth century.
He then persuasively argues that the concept of a "Celtic" people was used by nationalists (Breton, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Manx) to assert their history as separate from that of their larger neighbours (France or England).
The author is also conscious of the romantic notion of the Celt, quoting J R R Tolkien as writing that ‘anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight, which is not so much a twilight of the gods as of the reason’, whilst going on to say that the scholar David Ellis Evans pointed out that Tolkien’s aside was meant specifically to make fun of certain extreme linguistic entomologies and not to be all embracing.
The author wears his learning lightly and although this is a short book that cannot provide rigorous detail, it does achieve its objective of a very readable introduction.

When summarising in his conclusion, he notes that "If we were to take a tough purist line we might be prepared to admit that present-day Bretons could claim to be descendants of Celts, in that Caesar said that the inhabitants of central and western Gaul called themselves Celts, that their language and culture probably survived the Roman interlude, and that there has been comparatively little population change since then."
However, he goes on to say:
"But many would find this definition unnecessarily restrictive, arguing instead that all those regions where Celtic languages are regularly spoken today may claim some relationship to Celtic roots in the prehistoric period. This does not mean that they were descended from Hallstatt aristocracies or La Tène elites but that they are the inheritors of an Atlantic culture and language that is far more ancient."

I have read this prior to going to the British Museum exhibition on the Celts and feel that I now have a far better understanding of the historical background, both in the period to about 600AD, when one can perhaps most clearly talk about a Celtic culture, and the Celtic revival from the seventeenth century for more nationalist purposes. ( )
1 stem CarltonC | Oct 11, 2015 |
This was a nice little introduction to Cunliffe's thesis regarding the spread of so called "celtic" culture in early Europe. This little Very Short Introduction has a great bibliography for further reading. I recommend it for anyone who is trying to explore a little deeper into the roots of Celtic culture. ( )
1 stem BenjaminHahn | Dec 13, 2010 |
Digital Medievalist (Lisa L. Spangenberg) says: "This is exactly what it says; a very short introduction, but it's a thorough survey of Celtic history and culture, from a leading archaeologist and expert on the ancient Celts. It's readable, accurate in spite of its brevity, and a good review for those looking for the current research and theories, as well as a solid introductio for those who have interest but neither time nor money for the larger tomes. "
  MaelBrigde | Jun 1, 2010 |
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Savage and bloodthirsty, or civilized and peaceable? The Celts have long been a subject of enormous fascination, speculation, and misunderstanding. From the ancient Romans to the present day, their real nature has been obscured by a tangled web of preconceived ideas and stereotypes.Barry Cunliffe seeks to reveal this fascinating people for the first time, using an impressive range of evidence, and exploring subjects such as trade, migration, and the evolution of Celtic traditions. Along the way, he exposes the way in which society's needs have shaped our visions of the Celts,and examines such colourful characters as St Patrick, Cu Chulainn, and Boudica.

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