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By John Davies

Who have been the Celts, and the place did they arrive from? This new account of a such a lot beautiful culture--the legitimate significant other to an incredible overseas television show-delves into their origins, following their routine into the often authorised Celtic lands of Scotland, Wales, eire, Cornwall, the Isle of guy, Brittany, and Galicia. each one attention-grabbing bankruptcy, illustrated with colour pictures and maps, relies upon one application within the six-part sequence. From prehistoric Europe to near-obliteration to the sunrise of a brand new self-assertion, a centuries-long tale unfolds: the Celtic heyday with its bards and druids; the defeats via the Roman forces; the adoption of Christianity and the precise nature of the Celtic church; and the trendy period of emigration, which unfold Celtic language, artwork, and track through the world.

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Yet the place the mainland Celts are involved, the manager centre of curiosity is Armorica or Brittany, a rustic which has persevered to be an important centre of Celtic language and tradition till the current day. at the eve of Caesar's invasion, Armorica, just like the remainder of Gaul, had a Celtic-speaking inhabitants. Of its 5 polities, the names of 3 - the Namnates, the Veneti and the Redones - live to tell the tale in these of 3 of its significant towns - Nantes (Naoned), Vannes (Gwened) and Rennes THE ATLANTIC CELTS 111 (Roazon) - and the 2 others, the Osismii and the Coriosolitae, are remembered at Carhaix (Karaez) and Corseul. There are historians who think that Armorica, just like the remainder of Gaul, fully deserted Gaulish, and that Breton Celticity owes every thing to migrants from Britain. but because the eighteenth century, there were advocates of the view that Brittany's Celticity is indebted, not less than partly, to the survival of Gaulish. the good Celticist Joseph Loth, writing in 1883, rejected this view. From the early Fifties onwards, even if, Fran<;ois Falc'hun argued insistently that, whereas the Breton of Finisterre and Cote du Nord is basically British in foundation, that of the Vannes sector is basically Gaulish. In 1980, Leon Fleuriot's magisterial if wrong learn, Les OriBines de los angeles BretaBne, was once released, a ebook destined to develop into the starting-point for all next discussions of Breton Celticity. Fleuriot positioned the heritage of Brittany within the context of millennia of touch among Armorica and Britain. He maintained that Breton is essentially a language which sprang from that of migrants from Britain, yet used to be inspired via the Gaulish substratum, within the north and west ofArmorica up to, if no more, than within the Vannes zone. If Fleuriot's thesis is approved, it's only in Armorica that any major components of the unique Celticity of mainland Europe live on. This survey of the lands completely or partly Celtic-speaking within the final centuries of the Roman Empire shows that Celticity was once safe in eire, tenacious in a lot of northern and western Britain, and challenged within the east and the south of the island and in Armorica. within the background of Celtic tradition, the main major switch within the instant post-Roman centuries was once the disappearance of that tradition in so much of southern and primary Britain, and the triumph there of the tradition of the Anglo-Saxons. So inadequately documented is that adjust that it's the topic of a lot controversy and of much more unbelievable theorizing. To major nineteenthcentury English historians, the tale was once basic. Following the autumn of the Empire, the Romano- British, helpless within the face of the assaults of the Picts and Scots, referred to as in Teutonic warriors. Led by way of Hengist and Horsa, the soldiers sailed around the North Sea and landed at Ebbsfleet at the Isle of Thanet. J. R. eco-friendly, the 19th century's hottest chronicler of the historical past of the English, wrote of Ebbsfleet: 'No spot will be so sacred to the English because the spot which first felt the tread of English toes.

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