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Summary

Following the surge of interest and pride in Celtic identity since the 19th century, much of what we thought we knew about the Celts has been radically transformed. From the warriors who nearly defeated Julius Caesar to druids who, contrary to popular opinion, definitely did not worship at Stonehenge, get to know the real Celts.

In The Celtic World, discover the incredible story of the Celtic-speaking peoples, whose art, language, and culture once spread from Ireland to Austria. This series of 24 enlightening lectures explains the traditional historical view of who the Celts were, then contrasts it with brand-new evidence from DNA analysis and archeology that totally changes our perspective on where the Celts came from. European history and culture have been profoundly affected by the Celts, from the myth of King Arthur to the very map of the United Kingdom, where the English confronted the peoples of the "Celtic Fringe."

With a wealth of historical expertise, Professor Jennifer Paxton (PhD Harvard University), Director of the University Honors Program and Clinical Assistant Professor of History at The Catholic University of America, guides you through each topic related to Celtic history with approachability and ease as you unearth what we once thought it meant - and what it may actually mean - to be Celtic. Professor Paxton's engaging, often humorous delivery blends perfectly with the facts about the Celts to uncover surprising historical revelations. The ancient Celts are very much alive in the literary and artistic traditions that their descendants have both preserved and very deliberately revived. All facets of Celtic life, past and present, are addressed by Professor Paxton, who demonstrates a masterful knowledge and carefully separates fact from myth at every turn. Come along for a ride through history to discover your inner Celt.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 The Great Courses (P)2018 The Teaching Company, LLC

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  • Overall
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  • Jolene
  • 17-06-18

It's Celtic

In my most honest assessment, I would have given this course 3 1/2 stars overall if it was possible to do so. Paxton appears to be very knowledgeable on the subject matter, but does meander at times through the material, which can be somewhat distracting for the listener. For those interested in the ancient Celts, particularly those wishing to know more about the regions of Gaul, N. Italy, Switzerland, Germany and even Galatia, this is not the class for you. While it does briefly discuss Caesar's conquest and related topics- these issues remain very underdeveloped. This course focuses on Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany and Cornwall, with a fair amount of discussion about Galicia (Spain), all of which is interesting, but rather focused on those regions.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 20-06-18

I wish this had a different title

I wish this had a different title, maybe "The History of Ireland and Friends". Professor Paxton clearly cares about the subject and reads very clearly, but I had to speed it up a little. The content was good, but not what I was looking for. Based on the title, I was hoping for more immersive daily life as a Celt. I have been to several Celtic historical sites and museums in Austria, but Hallstatt culture is only briefly discussed here. If you want the history of Irish kings and and a comparison of movies with real life, this may be for you. If you want to know more about living in the iron age, skip it. There is little about what regular people ate, wore or did with their typical day. I definitely appreciate the included, illustrated .PDF. Overall, this was okay but I preferred the much more comprehensive book, A Brief History of the Celts, by Peter Berresford Ellis.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Ric Peralta
  • 09-06-18

Incredibly informative and entertaining

I am part Scottish and have long been fascinated by the complexities of the ancient Celtic world, as well as the remnants of this ancient culture in the modern British Isles.

This Great Course Lecture series was incredibly illuminating. Beautifully treated by the professor, I can't recommend this enough if you have even a passing interest in the history of the British Isles and/or Celtic/Gaelic culture.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary
  • 24-04-18

I like the subject, like the Prof! Well don!!!

The music is wonderful, the history is enthralling. Many things from literature were made clear. I learned a lot. Thank you!

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • KasiaBlu
  • 16-07-18

I really wanted to enjoy this...

Here's the thing, I don't look to a Great Courses instructor to give me a biased, subjective account of history but that's what I got. Lecture after lecture, I found my blood pressure rising as relevant context was repeatedly omitted, sweeping generalizations and contradictory claims were made, and opinion was passed on as fact. Due to what I now consider a lack of credibility, I'm left after 13 hours of lectures wondering if any of what I "learned" is true.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Christini Banini
  • 17-08-18

Loved it!

There was so much information to take in and I can't wait to listen to it again.

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  • K. MCINDOO
  • 14-08-18

Outstanding history lesson

Professor Paxton delivers a walk through the centuries with fascinating details everyone will enjoy about Celtic history. I especially enjoyed the realistic outlook on facts and stories that are uncertain to be fiction. An excellent summary of so many interesting topics. A+

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  • Thomas L. Pencek
  • 04-08-18

Great comprehensive overview of a facinating topic

Professor Paxton has hit a home run again with this new lecture series. I love how she always tries to get the the point! Will be listening to this one many times!

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  • AUBREY BRICE MCCARTER
  • 04-08-18

Informative

You will definitely learn something from this course. From the ancient beginnings of the celts up to a bit of where they are now in modern era. Can’t go wrong if you are looking for a good historical experience. Especially if your family line branches from the celts.

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  • Marc
  • 29-07-18

Focuses on what the lecturer is interested in

Giving the "story" only 2 stars here feels unfair - yet, I am trying to judge the overall impression I am left with after finishing the course. What the lecturer tells about is interesting and for the major part of it coherent. What irritates me is the VASTNESS of what she leaves out.
The course starts out with a very short hint at "the" Celtic realm not yet being well defined in geography, linguistics, ethnics or time. From almost the Arab "frontiers" over Spain, the (sorry:) English group of islands to France, Northern Germany and parts of Scandinavia "they" roamed, yet the lecturer exclusively focuses on what she is interested in: Everything King Arthur (which, of course, is unfair again - it's just clear that this is the topic she loves, so it takes up quite some space). I find it unfortunate to only hear about Ireland, Scotland, Wales over and over again - those Celtic heritages have been covered so often in such detail that I often thought "yes, heard that before, tell me something NEW".
What I would have LOVED to hear was more about that Spanish enclave. Where the Celtic (speaking) people moved (on the continent) and why. What interaction with (not-British-Island-related) peoples they had. What their mythological, political, sociological history was. In short: DETAILS, not the broad overview you can find everywhere in books, TV documentaries or the interweb.
On another point, I found it irritating that the lecturer kept contradicting herself. There have been quite a lot of - often small - points where I went "huh? Didn't she say something else just the other lecture?" A trivial example might be: She explains that the common belief is OUTDATED that "The Celtic" had been a Central-European "movement" that spread out and could be described as a homogenous area that was well defined and that you could reliably define an "area of origin". In the next lecture(s) she then says "let's now concentrate on the area that the Celtic originated from or that they lived in", basically saying the exact opposite of what she proposed before.
She seems to dislike Archeology - the chapter on "what is usable historical research" seems to dismiss the whole approach of "digging up dirt and basing assumptions on your findings" as nonsense. I am exaggerating here. Yet, over the following lectures, she often uses EXACTLY that "digging up dirt" as a PROOF of her theories ("this has been confirmed by archeological findings"), which sounds strange, after she put Linguistic and text-evidence based research over Archeology.

In short: Content-wise this is mainly, if not almost only, about the Ireland/Scotland/Wales part of Celtic history, a good part of the lectures is spent on English history (independent from its relevance to the topic "Celtic World"). You do NOT get an impression of what the lecturer calls the modern view of where and when the Celtic peoples lived but are limited to somewhat stereotype England-centric History lessons. At this, the course is quite good, well presented and captivating. Just don't expect too much "new".

(Technical note: Again, the audio quality, although mostly good, lacks professional editing. Often the sound "fades" when the lecturer seems to move her head to one side, not talking towards the microphone consistently. A simple pre-fetching EQ pass and moderate compression would have helped. It's OK if you listen through headphones on in quiet surroundings, but less so in distractive environment.)