The Atlantic Celts: Ancient People or Modern Invention?

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 40%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.14
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 63%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $6.14   
  • New (7) from $10.13   
  • Used (10) from $6.14   


The Celtic peoples hold a fundamental place in the British national conscious-ness. In this book Simon James surveys ancient and modern ideas of the Celts and challenges them in the light of revolutionary new thinking on the Iron Age peoples of Britain. Examining how ethnic and national identities are constructed, he presents an alternative history of the British Isles, proposing that the idea of insular Celtic identity is really a product of the rise of nationalism in the eighteenth century. He considers whether the “Celticness” of the British Isles is a romantic, even politically dangerous, falsification of history, with implications for the debate on self-government for the Celtic regions of the United Kingdom.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299166748
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 5.75 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 7
Introduction 9
1 The debate on Celtic identity 15
2 Standard histories: assumptions, limitations and objections 26
3 How the Celts were created, and why 43
4 Current ideas on ethnicity, and the insular Ancient Celts 67
5 Towards a new ethnic history of the isles 86
6 Conclusion: are the modern Celts bogus? 136
Glossary 145
Further reading 147
Bibliography 150
Index 155
Illustration acknowledgments 160
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2004

    Axes to Grind it would seem

    The Romans made it rather clear that they attacked the Celts of Briton as retribution for the rebellions of their cousin in Gaul (modern France). They also made it clear that many tribes in Celtic Britain bore the exact same names as those of the continent (i.e. Gaul, Belgium, South Germany). The author has a fear of nationalism in Celtic countries like Ireland and Wales, and it shows in his book. Modern DNA is making clear that the Celts were actually fairly homogenous ethnically, even if individual tribes had variations on the Celtic culture; just as there are various traditions in northern versus southern China (yet nobody tries to claim they are different people, lacking cultural unity).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 1999

    Social agenda mars history of the British peoples

    In his 1707 work ¿Archaeologia Britannica¿, Oxford scholar Edward Lhuyd proposed that similarities in the Welsh, Breton, Cornish, Irish, and Scots Gaelic languages were attributable to common origins he called ¿Celtique¿. Archaeologist Simon James of the University of Durham argues that no ancient or modern culture of the British Isles can properly be called ¿Celtic.¿ Professor James maintains that the ancient peoples of the British Isles were culturally diverse and probably lacked any sense of common identity with the Celtic peoples of continental Europe. True enough, but the same could be said of any cultural group that lacks a unifying political structure. The aboriginal peoples of North America saw themselves as over 500 distinct tribes until, faced with extinction in the 19th century, they developed a sense of common identity and destiny. Independence and diversity seem to have marked the Celtic tribes. The Celtic languages are the unifying forces of Celtic culture.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)