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The Ancient Celts [Hardcover]

Barry Cunliffe
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

4 Sep 1997
Fierce warriors and skilled craftsmen, the Celts were famous throughout the Ancient Mediterranean World. They were the archetypal barbarians from the north and were feared by both Greeks and Romans. Napoleon III spent much time and money searching for the ancestral Gauls, and the concept of the Celt has been used many times by the nations fringing the Atlantic in their search for identity. In this fascinating new volume Barry Cunliffe explores the true nature of the Celtic identity and presents the first thorough and up-to-date account of a people whose origins still provoke heated debate. Examining the archaeological reality of the Iron Age inhabitants of barbarian Europe, he traces the emergence of chiefdoms, patterns of expansion and migration, and the development of a mature urbanized society, thus assessing the disparity between the traditional vision of the Celts and the archaeological evidence. Through his consideration of cultural diversity, social and religious systems, art, language, law, and oral traditions, Cunliffe is able to draw a distinction between societies which conform to an ethnic `Celtic' model and those subjected to `Celtization', and tease out a fascinating new picture of the identity of the Celts. This book is intended for scholars and students of European archaeology and prehistory.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (4 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198150105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198150107
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 18.5 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 774,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

About the Author: Barry Cunliffe is Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Keble College. An expert in the archaeology and art of the pagan Celts, he has written over forty books, as well as editing The Oxford Illustrated Prehistory of Europe.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
WITHOUT the descriptions and speculations of Greek and Roman writers, our understanding of the Iron Age communities of central and western Europe-the traditional homeland of the Celts-would be very different. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A passable account, but definitely not the best 19 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Cunliffe's 'The Ancient Celts' is better than many things that are written about the Celts, but then that's not very hard. This book is fine as an introduction for someone that's never read anything about the Celts before, but it should also not be the only thing that one reads about them.
For a much, much better overview try John Collis' 'The European Iron Age.' It's a far more informative account and it focuses on the archaeological evidence in a reasoned, scientific manner. It has fewer glossy pictures and is more technical, but it is also very rewarding.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on the subject in the last decade 6 Oct 1998
By Amazon Customer - Published on
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read In Spots, But Badly In Need Of An Update 21 July 2013
By Larry Cosgrove - Published on
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well done 22 Aug 2011
By R. Tim Stephens - Published on
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 15 July 2014
By g75401 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very informative and a "must" for serious students of European history
5.0 out of 5 stars Helped me with my thesis 11 Dec 2013
By Dame de Drama - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
used these books for a thesis-any on Augusta Gregory and the Irish.
Found it useful-a Good read

Yadah, Yadah, Yadah to fulfill the stupid word count restrictions
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