Book Review – The Celts: A History by Dáithí Ó hÓgáin

Who were these “barbarians” that fought so fiercely against the Roman
Empire?  This intriguing question is answered in depth in Mr. hOgain’s book on the history of the Celts.  Always presented with the intense one-sided view of Roman conquest over the Celts as one which was necessary, the author tells the story of these Celtic tribes in the territories bordering the Roman Empire, giving the reader a face to those “barbarians,” and showing that there was more to these people than previously thought.

It is refreshing to read about the tribes and peoples who the Romans considered “barbarians,” and learn about the Celts; tribes who so stubbornly defended themselves against the great Roman Empire.  The Celts were people who created towns,
agricultural regions, religion, and even their own minted money.  Just as the Roman people sought new lands, so did the Celts.  The book follows the turmoil which ensued as the Celts migrated over the Alps and into the east and west of Europe, seeking property and wealth.

This book is particularly interesting in the fact that the author begins with the arrival of
the Celts into the areas of Gaul, northern Africa, Spain and northern Italy,
giving accounts of tribal names, wars, truces, and the beginnings of
temperaments between the fledgling town of Rome, and the encroaching Celt
aggressors.  Little known to most avid historians, is the fact that most Romans feared the Celts because they were one of the only peoples who sacked Rome in ancient times.

Considered fierce warriors, the author does an outstanding job of telling behind the scene
accounts of what transpired during many of the epoch battles studied in history,
such as the Punic Wars and Hannibal’s assault on the Roman Empire, when these
tribes were hired as mercenaries, never truly giving their allegiance to
anyone.  Reminisce of the corrupt practices of the Roman nobility, the author shows that the Celts followed lead, and played sides against one another, to gain an advantage for themselves.   Yet, the author points out that according to one ancient historian, Posidonius,
these Celts may have been cruel; there were just the opposite when it came to
honoring their guest, and the hospitality they showed invited visitors.

Using the historical texts of ancient historians such as Pliny the Elder, Strabo and Diodorus, the author is careful to give different accounts of several versions of the occurrences, should there be any, and sums up with good analysis and deduction of what may have transpired, based upon archeological study, or modern day theories.
His focus on details helps paint an accurate picture of the Celts as they settled in Europe.  Studying the many resources the author listed; it is easy to see why the book precisely follows
the ebb and flow of the Celts in European history.  Hogain’s research is very in-depth, and while maybe daunting delving through all the tribal names, is informative.

(See this review on Goodreads too!)

<a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2517063.The_Celts” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”The Celts: A History” border=”0″ src=”http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266889677m/2517063.jpg” /></a><a href=”The”>http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2517063.The_Celts”>The Celts: A History</a> by <a href=”Dáithí”>http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2853476.D_ith_h_g_in”>Dáithí Ó hÓgáin</a><br/>
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<a href=”View”>http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5806428-constance-wallace”>View all my reviews</a>

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