The Ancient Celts

The Ancient Celts


By (author) Barry Cunliffe

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 178mm x 241mm x 23mm | 726g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140254226
  • ISBN 13: 9780140254228
  • Edition statement: Revised ed.
  • Illustrations note: illustrations
  • Sales rank: 48,680

Product description

The archetypal 'barbarians from the north', the Celts were feared for their ferocity in battle and admired as skilled craftsmen. For two and half thousand years the Celts have continued to fascinate all who have come into contact with them. "The Ancient Celts" presents an absorbing account of the tribes whose origins and identity still provoke heated debate. Exploring the archaeological reality of the Iron Age inhabitants of barbarian Europe, Professor Cunliffe traces the emergence of chiefdoms, patterns of expansion and migration, and the development of Celtic ethnicity and identity.

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Author information

Barry Cunliffe is Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford.

Review quote


Editorial reviews

This renowned archaeologist looks at the Iron Age inhabitants of Europe - sorting out the true Celts from the tribes and regions that were 'Celtized'. He explores in depth the language, laws, art and religions of these people, also examining the reputation the Celts had among the Greek and Roman communities. Cunliffe writes concisely and clearly on his subject. This is an expert treatment, complemented by excellent, well-chosen illustrations. (Kirkus UK)

Back cover copy

For two and a half thousand years the Celts 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.In this erudite and engaging illustrated history, Professor Cunliffe explores the archaeological reality of these bold warriors and skilled craftsmen of barbarian Europe who inspired fear in the Greeks and Romans. He investigates the texts of the classical writers and contrasts their view of the Celts with current archaeological findings. Tracing the emergence of chiefdoms and the fifth- to third-century migrations as far as Bosnia and the Czech Republic, he assesses the disparity between the traditional and contemporary information on the Celts.Other aspects of Celtic identity such as the cultural diversity of the tribes, their social and religious systems, art, language and law, are also examined. From the picture that emerges, Professor Cunliffe is able to distinguish between the original Celts, and tribes which were 'Celtized', thus giving us a new insight into the true identity of this ancient people.