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The Ancient Celts, Second Edition

Narrated by: Julian Elfer
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
Categories: History, Ancient
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

Non-member price: $34.76

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Publisher's Summary

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. For 2,500 years, they have continued to fascinate those who have come into contact with them, yet their origins have remained a mystery and even today are the subject of heated debate among historians and archaeologists.

Barry Cunliffe's classic study of the ancient Celtic world was first published in 1997. Since then, huge advances have taken place in our knowledge: new finds, new ways of using DNA records to understand Celtic origins, new ideas about the proto-urban nature of early chieftains' strongholds. All these developments are part of this fully updated and completely redesigned edition.

Cunliffe explores the archaeological reality of these bold warriors and skilled craftsmen of barbarian Europe who inspired fear in both the Greeks and the Romans. From the picture that emerges, we are crucially able to distinguish between the original Celts and those tribes which were "Celtized", giving us an invaluable insight into the true identity of this ancient people.

©2018 Barry Cunliffe (P)2019 Tantor

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  • Christopher
  • 29-08-2019

History of the other part of Europe

There is so much material about the history of Greece & Rome, but once you move north of the Mediterranean, it's largely a dearth. This covers that part of Europe from the Iberian Peninsula/British Isles across to the Black Sea from the Bronze Age down to the Roman period. It gets a bit into the archaeological weeds, but you rather have to given the lack of written sources. It also covers the interactions between the Celts and other groups like the Scythians, Germanic tribes, Greece, & Rome. You have to be attentive, because it is dense. Still, if you're interested in the history of human migration, get this book.

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  • cpdb
  • 15-03-2020

Missing the foundation and migration from the steppe and the Tuatha Dé Dannan

I was hoping this book was going to touch on the mysterious Tuatha Dé Dannan and the earliest migration from the steppe. I also expected to hear something of the Sami people who occupied Europe before the arrival of the Celts. However the focus as always was on the time of the Roman Empire with an extra couple hundred-years bookending the Greco Roman Empires. It was interesting to hear of there return to the Scythian lands, but a missed opportunity to explain the Celtic graves found deep into China and even Japan. Otherwise a great book with lots of factual detail without the author inserting his opinions. I really was hoping for more info from 6500BC-2000BC which is hard for a non academic like myself to wrangle from the misleading texts out there.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • beakt
  • 23-01-2020

Dry and academic

if you are really into the details of academic study of ancient cultures, you might like this. if you want to hear stories and descriptions of the life of the Celts, this book is not for you.

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  • vmhutch
  • 05-11-2019

Missing DNA evidence from Max Planck Institute

Wonderfully done, but would love to see it more closely incorporate the latest DNA evidence into the origin story of the population of Europe.

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  • smyth
  • 17-02-2020

Interesting but...

It seems there are 2 camps in the Celtic story, either they were everywhere or nowhere, this author is definitely in the everywhere camp, from Asia Minor thru Austria, Germany, France, Spain and England. That's a little hard to credit. His classification is so broad as to be virtually useless, but hey, listen to the book and see what you think.

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  • Patrick A. Blank
  • 18-04-2020

Excellent Book

One of the best purchases I've made. The book is quite long but never boring. The writing and audio performance fit well together and the information in the book was very clear.

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  • Richard Nicklin
  • 29-11-2019

Excellent, both in content and performance

Fascinating review of both the archeology and the historical sources for a “Celtic” culture. Written with a wry wit and a brisk pace this book cannot fail to inthrall an armchair historian.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-06-2020

Excellent history, somewhat marred by narration

A detailed and very clearly presented history, discussing distribution, migration, war, trade, religion and culture from the earliest known origins of Celtic peoples to the modern Celtic revival. Historical sources are judiciously used, giving each its due allowance for bias. I would have liked more about the everyday life of "ordinary" Celts but that's a personal preference. The narrator was a bit disappointing, reading in a rapid monotone (I had to play it at 90% speed) and apparently without taking much notice of what he was reading so emphasis was often misplaced, sometimes leaving a sentence hard to follow. Occasionally even common words were misread, eg AXes of trade instread of axES of trade. A book well worth having but if there's a third edition then it might benefit from a new narrator.