on 12 October 2011
This book sets out to show the rise and fall of the Celtic peoples through the use of maps across a huge expanse of time and space. Using language as a guide to defining the Celts, John Haywood, with the assistance of renowned archaeologist Barry Cunliffe, attempts to chart the course of the Celtic languages - as well as culture (a far more risky endeavour) from the times of the Indo-Europeans about 6,000 years ago up until the decline of the language group across the Atlantic facade in the 21st century AD.
Despite covering such a broad period of history in such a short book (144 pages including index) it surprisingly mangaes to fit in a lot of details and facts. It covers everything from major religious sites in Iron Age Europe, to the spread of Brochs and Duns in Scotland, Galatians in Anatolia, Anglo-Normans in Ireland, to the origins of Wales, as well as a whole lot more. If you are studying the Celts it would be well worth having the book in front of you as it manages to show you in a broad sweep the fortunes of the Celtic peoples across the millennia. The book is divided into two sections - one looks at the continental Celts - the Celts in Italy, Gaul, Iberia, Galatia etc; and the other on the Insular Celts of the British Isles.
The book is heavily illustrated throughout with diagrams, photographs and illustrations. The maps are also relativily large (some taking up the whole page in many sections of the book) and they are colourful and well defined - far superior to the small indistinct maps found in the New Penguin Atlases of History.
The text by John Haywood is erudite, and easy to follow - packing lots of facts and information into short paragraphs. Overall this a must have for anyone who studies or has an interest in Celtic, Iron Age, Breton, Irish, Scots and Welsh history.