Skip to main content

The Celts: A History - Book Review

By the third century BC, at the height of their greatest expansion, the Celts had spread from their Rhineland home as far west as Ireland and east to Turkey s central plain, as far north as Belgium and south to Cadiz in Spain. They had crossed the Alps and defeated the armies of the Etruscan empire and had occupied Rome and invaded the Greek peninsula. Formidable warriors armed with iron weapons, they would find their way to Egypt and into Queen Cleopatra s elite bodyguard.



Tracking the progress of the Celts through the ancient world, this compelling history celebrates more than their warfare, for the Celts also developed agricultural techniques that even the Romans adopted. They cut the first roads through impenetrable European forests, displayed exuberant genius in their metalwork, monumental stone carvings, glassware, and jewelry, exerted influence on Greek philosophers and Roman surgeons, and made Irish the third literary language of Europe, after Latin and Greek. Bringing new material from anthropology and archaeology to this engaging illustrated survey, Ellis explores the remarkable achievements of a people who have survived three millennia, their heritors the Irish, Manx, Scots, Welsh, Cornish, and Bretons who speak a Celtic tongue to this day.

Popular posts from this blog

Hattians - First Civilizations in Anatolia

The Hattians were an ancient people who inhabited the land of Hatti in Asia Minor in the 3rd to 2nd millennia BC. They spoke a non-Indo-European language of uncertain affiliation called Hattic (now believed by some to be related to the Northwest Caucasian language group). They eventually merged with or were replaced by the Hittites, who spoke the Indo-European Hittite language.

Galatia: Celtic Anatolia

Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Galatia was bounded on the north by Bithynia and Paphlagonia, on the east by Pontus, on the south by Lycaonia and Cappadocia, and on the west by the remainder of Phrygia, the eastern part of which the Gauls had invaded. The modern capital of Turkey, Ankara (ancient Ancyra), was also the capital of ancient Galatia.

Hittite Guitar of 3300 Years Ago

Hittite relief showing a figure holding an animal follows another figure that a bard plays a guitar-like instrument with a tassle. The left part is unfinished.

This is the earliest relief of guitar, andesit orthostat of imperial Hittite period, ca. 1430–1180 BC, found at Alaca, Çorum. Exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations at Ankara.

Alacahöyük was inhabited since the Chalcolithic Age. Excavations show there were four layers of cultures of Chalcolithic, Old Bronze, Hittite and Phrygian ages. More on Hittites...

More on ancient music and cithara.