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Publisher's Summary

For centuries the Celts held sway in Europe. Even after their conquest by the Romans, their culture remained vigorous, ensuring that much of it endured to feed an endless fascination with Celtic history and myths, artwork, and treasures.

A foremost authority on the Celtic peoples and their culture, Peter Berresford Ellis presents an invigoration overview of their world. With his gift for making the scholarly accessible, he discusses the Celts' mysterious origins and early history and investigates their rich and complex society. His use of recently uncovered finds brings fascinating insights into Celtic kings and chieftains, architecture and arts, medicine and religions, myths and legends, making this esesntial listening for any search for Europe's ancient past.

©2003 Peter Berresford Ellis (P)2014 Audible Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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What listeners say about A Brief History of the Celts

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A bit dry, but overall interesting

The narrator was a bit dull, very factual little emotion. But the story more then made up for it. As a person who knows very little about celts, I found it very informative and it made me question some other aspects of history I took as fact. There is a lot about the history between Rome and the celts and I found that the most interesting. There was also a good bit about the women in Celtic history as well which I found fascinating. Defiantly worth a listen, if you ask me.

12 people found this helpful

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Worth you time

Engagingly written and well organized. I enjoyed the book, though the author is obviously a booster for Celtic culture and makes a lot of tendentious assertions that a more balanced writer would have qualified. Still worth your time if you’re looking for an overview of ancient Celtic culture and history - just double check the facts with other sources before you start spouting off the glories of the Celts to your friends. The reader is great - he has that perfect tone of authority and pomposity to go with the text’s recurring self-important dismissal of all contrary opinions. Or maybe it’s just the British accent. Go in with the understanding that the book has a bias and you’ll find much to enjoy.

6 people found this helpful

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The Greatest at everything everywhere.

Mr. Peter Berresford Ellis is most certainly one the greatest Celtic apologists. The Celts are the be all end all of civilization in Mr. Ellis' mind I do believe. Interesting information but very favorable in all things Celtic. I admire the Celts as much as anyone, and my DNA has roots in Britain and Western Europe, but Mr. Ellis certainly has his Celtic bias.

5 people found this helpful

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WOW!

What did you love best about A Brief History of the Celts?

A truly amazing people! I really enjoyed listening to their history.

What did you like best about this story?

It was real to the best of archeological history.

What does Christopher Oxford bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He made it as though I was right there with him looking at this amazing people.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I didn't have an extreme reaction but it did make me sad and angry that a barbaric Roman race could defeat such and intellectual and amazing people.

5 people found this helpful

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Brief yet informative overview

The narrator Christopher Oxford was outstanding. Nary a word mispronounced, in English or French, and some entertaining forays into accents (Irish, Welsh and others). Although I thought I knew something about the Celts, I found from listening that many of my ideas had come from Roman propaganda. Another fascinating bit for me was the linking up of Celtic and Indic cultures. I will probably listen to this again at least once.

1 person found this helpful

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Great way to start learning about the Celts

Start with this audiobook if you want to learn about the Celts. I've listened to Barry Cunliffe's The Ancient Celts, and a good chunk of Kenneth Harl's Rome and the Barbarians. Both have their pluses and minuses, but this book is definitely the most interesting and I feel like I get a much better overview of the topic.

If you want to further your knowledge, then listen to the other two titles I mentioned. Cunliffe gives more detail on the ancient Celts, whereas this book has one chapter on the subject at the end. However, you will feel like you're having random facts thrown at you and it is more disorganised in how the subjects are grouped. Harl gives more information about the effect Celts had on Rome, but there is also a lot of Roman history that you could maybe skip (and you will get shouted at by the author).

However, both these authors put great stock in Roman descriptions of who the Celts were, even though these sources clearly had some bias. The author of this book has much more skepticism towards these sources which is refreshing. He also provides a lot more information about the Celts on the periphery of the ancient world, like Britain and Ireland, and uses the surviving Irish literary texts passed down through the centuries to help interpret who the Celts might have been.

All in all, I think each had its own merit, but start with this one.

1 person found this helpful

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Best Celtic history I’ve heard unraveling popular bias!

This is the best actual history of the Celtic peoples I have heard yet! It can be a bit monotonous at times but it aligns with my personal studies of the Celts almost entirely. I found it interesting, informative and very helpful. Thank you Mr. Ellis for this book!

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Great book

Knowledge is power , and you will find plenty of that here. try it out.

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  • petitbilbo
  • 09-03-15

A full account of today's knowledge of the Celts

I've always been very interested in the history of the Celts, but after listening the this book, I have to recognize that I knew almost nothing.

In the 'brief' history, the state of the art about knowledge of the Celts is revealed in a clear, complete but (dare I say it?) concise manner.
When I listened to the author's prologue, I had the impression of hearing a rant, but after listening to the rest of the book, I can quite understand the need for it.

Excellent book!

11 people found this helpful

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  • Goronwy-Wyn
  • 10-15-16

Fascinating.

I found the book well written, very well narrated, it systematically steps through Celtic history, and is full of fascinating facts I would like to check by visiting the places detailed.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-03-20

10 out of 10

Fascinating and detailed , I've already relistened to a number of chapters... Very impressed

4 people found this helpful

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  • Barleyman
  • 06-24-18

Interesting

The reader has a bit of a condescending tone to his voice but if you can get past that there is a lot of interesting information in this book

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mary Carnegie
  • 06-01-17

Forgotten/suppressed?

Modern scholarship (archeology, closer analysis of texts and artefacts, etc) has revealed that there was far more to know about the once widespread Celtic civilisation than Julius Caesar (The Gallic Wars) and Romans in general wanted you to know (Rome was humiliated early on by Italian Celts, so don't expect objectivity!)
When I was at school, in Scotland, in the dying years of the British Empire, you had to study Latin to go to uni, which I didn't mind at all, because it's logical and concise and rewarding (you know when you've got it right!) We also knew that the Romans invaded "Scotland" a wee bit, but thanks, probably, as much to the midges as the ferocious natives, they didn't stay long. We also, surprisingly, learnt Irish history from the viewpoint of the indigenous Catholic population-("my enemy's enemy is my friend"?) and we knew fine well our Christian heritage was Irish not Roman, but Anglo-Saxons, like the Romans before them, controlled the propaganda and still do.

Forget all the Brigadoon and "The Quiet Man", even - though I still enjoy it - Whisky Galore- Celts were/are everywhere, sometimes hidden.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kdl
  • 01-15-17

my history

I just found through my DNA that I'm a Celt. fills in my history brilliantly

3 people found this helpful

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  • The_price_of_bottled_water
  • 04-10-21

erudite and good history

I've wondered about the tribes beyond the Roman Empire, and this is a well researched book on the Celts. I found particularly the chapters on Druids and religion fascinating.

2 people found this helpful

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  • P J HOUGHTON
  • 09-17-16

Pompous

The subject is fascinating and the text has great information which enlightens the listener, if you can get past the terrible, affected and almost comedic accent of the narrator makes one feel patronised.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-01-18

I struggled with this book, it was very technical

the author/ narrator tended to talk about other books and how he disagreed with them. It is probably more suitable for students studying this element of history and is probably extremely useful in that respect. I found it dull

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-31-21

Celtic mystery

Struggled to finish it. Too many dates and names of places interspersed with celtic history.