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This illustrated history of the Celts provides both narrative history and an examination of the uses and abuses of the concept of Celtic culture and ethnicity. It begins with a discussion of the Celts as seen through the eyes of classical writers, contrasting these accounts with current views drawn from the archaeological discovery of Celtic reality. Descriptions of the first iron age chiefdoms lead to an account of the 5th-3rd century migrations and the subsequent flowering of the developed Celtic world, stretching from south-eastern Britain to Bosnia, from Provence to the Czech Republic. Was this an independent and indiginous culture or instead a response to emerging patterns of trade with the Roman world? How cohesive and stable a culture developed? The Celtic art and religious systems of the period receive particular attention. A final chapter looks at the survival/revival of Celtic language, law and oral tradition from the time of the Roman Conquest of Britain and Gaul.
Barry Cunliffe is Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford.