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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.
|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|
Posted March 30, 2004
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 1999
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.