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The Ancient Celts Paperback – Mar 1 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised ed. edition (March 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140254226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140254228
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 2 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #223,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An informative and comprehensive overview of the history of Celtic Eurasia. Cunliffe's status as a leading scholar in this field is well deserved. This volume exhibits the result of many years of work. The wealth and breadth, in both time and space, of the material preclude Cunliffe engaging in flowery rhetoric or idle speculations. Using archaeology as the basis for his presentation, he provides both textual and graphic information. The result is a thorough examination of the development and movements of the Celtic peoples. Their impact on the geopolitics of Europe is great, he reminds us. Place names, artistic styles, and numerous practical elements, many of which have been downplayed or ignored during the Christian centuries, remain as a legacy of their presence and influence.
Given the paucity of Celtic written records, Cunliffe begins with a early archaeological efforts and snippets of Greco-Roman observations. What the Celts thought of themselves must remain a mystery. Those observing them found a warrior society, highly sophisticated in that realm from both aggressive and defensive standpoints. Highly mobile, the Celts established societies from Western Asia to the British Isles. In their settlements, which became increasingly organized and administered over the centuries, they laid the foundations of many modern communities. Cunliffe's accounts of these settlements, particularly those in the Iberian peninsula is likely to offer fresh information for many students.
Cunliffe gives us overviews of the "barbarian" migrations and their impact on European society. The most important result of Celtic movements, of course, was the counter expansion of Rome. Celtic domination of the trans-Alpine region drew Rome into Europe proper.
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Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying I am nowhere near an expert on this subject. I read this book because I wanted to learn more about the Celts. Although I found this book to be a bit academic for my liking it was obviously scrupulously researched. My biggest complaint was the use of archaic names for ancient geographical locations without providing an approximate modern reference point; the same holds true for the mention of many long extinct cultural groups. The numerous maps which were included did not to my mind provide much clarification, plus they were all clustered together at the end of the book which made it cumbersome to keep flipping back and forth. Perhaps it was the author's intent to target a more scholarly audience which would explain my frustration with the content; hence, the 4 stars.
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Format: Paperback
I have grown to appreciate this book over the past five years. Although I do not use it myself much anymore, I do assign it to my Archaeology 1 tutorial students. It's an easier read than 'The European Iron Age' (John Collis), and I prefer the layout and illlustrations of 'The Ancient Celts' to 'Exploring the World of the Celts' (Simon James).
I would very much recommend this as a first text for those who are interested in the archaeology of the Celts. It's very well-written, and the illustrations are highly evocative.
However, as with any single-author account covering such a wide geographic area over such a span of time, there are disagreements over some aspects of Cunliffe's interpretations. Because of this, I would suggest that 'The Ancient Celts' is probably best read in conjuntion with either of the two books mentioned above.
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Format: Hardcover
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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