Review: The Celtic World, Jennifer Paxton

Rating: 3 out of 5

This is quite directly an overview of the Celts as it is understood by the most recent researchers: Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Man, Ireland, Britanny, Gaul and Galicia are treated alongside a brief look into the Hallstatt and La Tene cultures — though not all of these places at the same level of detail. Literature, art and modern conceptions of the former peoples are all treated in some detail, and the connection of the past to the present is done very nicely.

I found the information on the modern revival of the Celts the most interesting aspect, and perhaps the topic which was littered with the most interesting details. As an example of one such, I was not aware previously that the tartans being as they are today came about through standardisation in the British Army and a later-on distribution of these to clans by a group of people in London.

However, the definite negative is that the work does not give as thorough a look into Gaul (pre-Roman) as it could. It barely touches on Galicia and Galatia, no matter how unlikely these are people by the same “keltoi” we see inhabiting the British Isles. The historical comparison to the people who lived in the same “Celtic” areas before and after also was not as thorough as it could have been, and I can say that I did not get what I was looking for out of this text.

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