The World of the Celts

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"Richly illustrated sheds a strong light on the art and life of a gifted people."—Houston Chronicle.
Warlike, flamboyant, courageous—the ancient Celts had a fearsome reputation. For five hundred years they dominated the lands north of the Alps, before being largely absorbed into the Roman Empire. But Celtic culture survived and achieved a glorious flowering in the post-Roman, early Christian era. Today Celtic influence can be found in arts and crafts, in legends, in place names, and even in languages.
In this generously illustrated introduction to the world of the Celts, Simon James charts their way of life from farming to feasting, their wars, their gods, and their superb craftsmanship in metal, wood, and stone. He covers the neglected subject of Celtic life under Roman rule, particularly in Gaul and Britain, and the continuing traditions in Ireland after AD 400, when a Celtic renaissance gave birth to heroic tales, masterpieces of enameled metalwork, and renowned illuminated manuscripts.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500279984
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 10/19/2005
  • Edition description: Illustrate
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 446,437
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon James is Senior Lecturer in the School of Archaeological Studies at the University of Leicester and an authority on the Roman military.
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Table of Contents

I Who Were the Celts?
The Celts in Myth and Reality 8
An Outline History of the Celts 12
Discovering the Celts: Hallstatt and La Tene 14
Timeline - Map of the Celtic World 16
II The Earliest Celts
The Hallstatt Culture: Hillforts and Barrows 20
The Hochdorf Chieftain 26
Centres of Power: The Heuneburg 28
Upheaval and Migration, 500-400 BC 29
III The Celtic Lands
Gauls in Italy 34
The Alps, South Germany and Bohemia 36
The Danube Lands and the Attack on Greece 37
The Galatians in Asia 40
Spain and Portugal: The Celtiberians 42
Gaul, 400-100 BC 44
Iron Age Britain 47
Early Ireland, 600-1 BC 49
IV The Patterns of Life
The Shape of Society 52
Celtic Husbandry 54
Farms and Villages 57
Hillforts, Brochs and Major Settlements 60
People, Population and Disease 63
Celtic Men 64
Celtic Women 66
Feasting and Fighting: How Society Functioned 70
V The Celts at War
The Spectrum of Violence 74
The Technology of War: Weapons and Armour 75
Chariots and Cavalry 78
The Celts on Campaign 80
War with the Greeks and Romans 83
The Battle of Telamon, 225 BC 84
VI Gods and the Afterlife
The Celtic Gods 88
Druids, Priests and Seers 90
Holy Places and Sacrifice 92
Lindow Man: Dead Men Do Tell Tales 96
The Testimony of the Grave 98
The Cemeteries of East Yorkshire 100
Celtic Cremation Rites 103
VII La Tene Art and Technology
The Origins of La Tene Art 106
Celtic Art Styles 108
Technologies of Fire: Metal, Glass and Pottery 111
Crafts: Working in Wood 114
What Was La Tene Art for? 115
VIII The Celts and the Classical World
The Changing World of Late Iron Age Gaul 118
Roman Conquest: Italy, Iberia and Galatia 122
Julius Caesar and the Conquest of Gaul 124
The Revolt of Vercingetorix 126
Britain from Caesar to Hadrian 128
Why not Scotland or Ireland? 133
The Romanization of Gaul and Britain 134
Boudica's Revolt 139
Gauls in Togas 140
Romano-Celtic Religion in Britain and Gaul 142
The Countryside: Continuity, Change and Conflict 146
Civil War and Crisis in the Empire 148
The Golden Age of Roman Britain 150
The Fall of Roman Gaul and Britain 151
IX The Celts of Ireland
Ireland in the Roman Iron Age, AD 1-400 154
Forts, Farms and Royal Residences 156
Myths and Legends of Ireland 158
From St Patrick to the Vikings 162
X The Celtic Renaissance
The Welsh and the English 166
King Arthur: Fact and Fiction 168
The Picts and the Scots 170
Scholars and Saints, Missionaries and Manuscripts 172
XI To Modern Times
Celts in Medieval and Early Modern Europe 178
To the Ends of the Earth: The New Migrations 180
The Celts Today 181
Glossary 182
Gazetteer 183
Further Reading 186
Acknowledgments 188
Index 189
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