BLOOD OF THE CELTS: The New Ancestral Story

Book number: 94617 Product format: Hardback Author: JEAN MANCO

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Bibliophile price £10.00
Published price $29.95

Celtic languages are now spoken only at the extreme edges of Europe, in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Brittany, but when Caesar conquered Gaul his subjects were described as Celts, while the ancient Greek historian Herodotus mentions Celts living on the Danube and in Spain. Modern scholars have had widely different opinions as to whether these peoples were in any way related, and there is no doubt that original Celtic literature was overlaid in the Middle Ages by mythologising. For instance, the 12th century Geoffrey of Monmouth "wallowed in nostalgia for a golden Celtic past" and extrapolated origin stories from the doubtful evidence of placenames. The author of this book applies DNA analysis to ancient artefacts, using the results to construct a logical pattern of settlement and interrelationship. Julius Caesar remarked on the similarity of culture between the Gauls and the island Celts, and the possible explanation that La Tene culture was responsible for the spread is too simplistic given the evidence of earlier place-names. The author considers that the Bell-Beaker community and a Proto-Indo-European language may hold the key, arguing that genetic evidence supports a Steppe homeland, together with archaeological evidence such as distinctive humanoid stelae or standing stones carved with arms, belt and footprints. When the people of the Steppes moved up the Danube in the Iron Age they introduced swords, horse gear and wagon burials to the developing Hallstatt warrior culture, and the author traces westward displacement through genetic analysis of skeletons and remains. The Roman world created separate Celtic provinces and Christianity continued the fragmentation, but the author's argument that the Celts once united Europe is persuasively developed. 240pp, 16.5 x 24.4cm, maps, black and white photos.

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ISBN 9780500051832
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