The Celtic World

Course No. 3733
Professor Jennifer Paxton, Ph.D.
The Catholic University of America
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Course No. 3733
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What Will You Learn?

  • There is little evidence to support the idea that there was ever a singular, all-encompassing Celtic" civilization-discover what this group was made up of."
  • The Celts had surprising and historic involvements with Hannibal, Spartacus, Henry II, and Richard Lionheart.
  • Gain a fascinating insight into the hierarchical structures, legal systems, and the role of women in the Celtic societies.

Course Overview

When you hear the word “Celtic,” which images come to mind? These days it could easily be Braveheart, kilts, leprechauns, and St. Patrick’s Day. However, since 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 Irish saints who took on the traits of Celtic deities, 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, 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.

Discover the Celts through Their Society

There is actually very little evidence to support the idea that there was ever a singular, all-encompassing “Celtic” civilization. Earlier historical narratives paint a picture of the Celts as a people that migrated (and sometimes conquered) throughout Europe before settling in the British Isles. In fact, as Professor Paxton highlights from the very beginning, the “Celts” of Europe and the “Celts” of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales were likely different groups, connected by aspects of language and culture (and some imaginative scholarship) but not by genetics.

While The Celtic World offers a look at the modern view of Celtic cultures as varied identities rather than a homogeneous group, you will still dive deeply into the history of the peoples most often recognized as Celtic—those who lived in what is now the United Kingdom and Ireland. And even these more familiar groups can offer some unexpected surprises. For example, when the English began to encounter—and try to assimilate—the other peoples of the British Isles and Ireland in the 11th and 12th centuries, many English lawyers and clerics were disturbed that the Celts didn’t practice “primogeniture”—the legal right of the first-born son to inherit his father’s estate. Instead, as Professor Paxton reveals, in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales a much more fluid system of inheritance dominated, one that even included rights for illegitimate sons. Instead of the criminal justice system that focuses on individual culpability that we are familiar with today, Celtic law was based on the kin group, so disputes were settled by the families of the plaintiff and the defendant. Under this system, if your cousin killed someone, the victim’s family simply sued yours for damages, and everyone in your family had to pay a portion of the compensation out of their own pockets! To paraphrase Professor Paxton, it was good incentive to keep your family from causing trouble.

The Celts also expressed themselves in unique ways. Rather than limiting their displays of wealth to big houses, clothing, or servants, wealthy residents of the Celtic Fringe also displayed their affluence by hiring poets to sing songs of praise about them at public events and parties. These poets also, perhaps most importantly, wrote and performed poems satirizing and insulting their employers’ enemies or rivals. The idea behind this medieval trash-talking was that the better the lord’s poet was, the more money he must have in order to meet the high price of these in-demand performers.

Celtic culture had its darker side as well; slavery and indentured servitude permeated the Celtic world. Poverty and dependence were common, much as in other parts of feudal Europe. However, in contrast to forced labor practices, lords and property owners often entered into contracts with peasants that offered them discounted rent payments in exchange for manual labor, service in combat, or participation in their lord’s entourage when he needed to travel through enemy territory.

This glimpse into the social life of the Celts constitutes just one small portion of day-to-day life in The Celtic World. As you trace this rich history with Professor Paxton, you will also explore subjects as varied as women’s rights, artificial islands built into lakes, and why it was insulting to fast on someone’s doorstep.

Discover the Celts through Their Arts

When they weren’t farming, fighting wars, or paying their murderous cousins’ legal fees, the Celts had to do something to pass the time. On the one hand, some of what we know about their earliest days remains limited because they believed that passing down their knowledge orally was highly preferable to the written word, which they saw as lazy. Fortunately for us, a culture of writing did eventually develop and Celtic books came along, bringing a rich tapestry of history, arts, and mythology with them. As you study the Celtic peoples with Professor Paxton, you will discover many aspects of their art, literature, architecture, and more, including:

  • The mythological Book of Invasions, an early Irish “history” involving one-legged, one-armed giants and sorcerers practicing black magic.
  • The surprising origins of King Arthur and Arthurian literature throughout Europe.
  • The intricate, curvilinear Celtic art style that was found on jewelry, armor, pottery, and more.
  • Traditional Celtic instruments like the carnyx—a long, vertically standing war trumpet with moving parts.
  • Celtic dress, from the nudity preferred in battle to the famous plaid tartan.
  • Real-life Celtic figures who inspired fiction much later, such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Braveheart‘s William Wallace.

Professor Paxton lays all these aspects of Celtic culture out with an accessible simplicity, and she shows how, from their influence on Latin to mythology-infused heavy metal, the Celts shine brightly across human history.

Classical “Celts”?

The Celts of classical Europe stood out as northerly neighbors to the Greeks and Romans as far back as 500 B.C. From that time until the English defeated the last Irish chieftains 2,000 years later, the Celtic world bursts with action-packed tales of lands gained and lands lost, triumphs and defeats, ritual practices that defy belief, and more.

The Gauls, who we know presided over much of Central Europe, nearly bested Julius Caesar himself. Professor Paxton gives you a thorough look at this page of history, from Gaulish victories to their leader’s public execution in Rome.

But Celtic culture was flourishing on the fringes of Europe, in Britain and Ireland, and it was continually enriched by outside influences. By looking at the Celts and their interactions with the Vikings—both peaceful and violent—Professor Paxton shows that the Celts happily adopted Viking art motifs and used the silver brought by Viking traders from the Islamic world to transform Irish fashions in jewelry. Vikings also influenced the fighting capabilities of the Irish by introducing them to the battle axe.

Aside from Julius Caesar, the Celts also had surprising and historic involvements with Hannibal, Spartacus, Henry II, and Richard Lionheart. In addition to these landmark European figures, the story of Celtic civilization sprouted in the fringe territories of Brittany, Galicia, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man, each of which you will explore in The Celtic World.

A New History for an Ancient People

By bringing a new historical understanding to long-held beliefs about the Celts, The Celtic Worldwill broaden your idea of what “Celtic” really means. This new perspective will open your eyes to the larger story of European history through the centuries, and with Professor Paxton’s personable and informative guidance, you will learn valuable new information about this vital and storied culture and will be able to further appreciate countless aspects of our modern world that have derived from Celtic influence, from Celtic music and dance, to government, law, and social hierarchies, and even the very shape of contemporary Europe.

Whether you’re interested in the whole of European history or simply want to appreciate your own Celtic heritage, The Celtic World has so much to offer. Come along for a ride through history to discover your inner Celt.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 32 minutes each
  • 1
    Who Are the Celts?
    Professor Paxton begins this lively history course by examining the common preconceptions about Celtic identity—before smashing them to bits. The first lecture paints the initial brushstrokes on the gargantuan canvas of this European culture most widely perceived as Scottish and Irish while promising much more. x
  • 2
    The Celts and the Classical World
    Our earliest written records of the Celts come from Italy, Greece, and Spain, dating as far back as the 6th century B.C. Although scholarly theories about the Celts’ migration throughout Europe conflict, the foundation of our understanding of their origins is laid bare here, peppered with several curious historic anecdotes. x
  • 3
    Celtic Art and Artifacts
    Archaeological studies of Celtic artifacts have woven a rich tapestry of their millennia-old society and its La Tène art style. Learn about war trumpets, gold necklaces, ornate helmets, and other recovered objects from around Europe to build an image of this ever-adapting culture and its connections to the classical world. x
  • 4
    Celtic Languages in the Ancient World
    The discovery of Celtic inscriptions on the western coast of Spain suggests the possible development of a common language along maritime Celtic trade routes, revolutionizing studies of Celtic origins and migration. The long-standing theory of Central European Celtic origins may die out thanks to new linguistic evidence. x
  • 5
    Caesar and the Gauls
    Several centuries of violent combat against Celtic-controlled Gaul made northern Italy and southern France a dangerous neighborhood for the Romans. Hannibal, Gaius Marius, and Spartacus are just some of the famous figures of world history who encounter the Gauls in this lecture centered on Julius Caesar's wars against the Gauls. x
  • 6
    Celtic Religion and the Druids
    Celtic religious beliefs included divination, reincarnation, and human sacrifice. Along with these practices, discover the ancient religious figures known as druids who served as holy men, soothsayers, and even lawyers. Enjoy this insight into the Celtic version of one constant that appears in all civilizations—the sacred. x
  • 7
    Celtic Britain and Roman Britain
    Professor Paxton uses the theory of trade-based migration to first explain the arrival of the Celts influence in Britain before the arrival of the Romans. Then she details the exciting struggle between the Celts and the Romans over Britain, untangling the web of history on the island during the first and second centuries A.D. x
  • 8
    Celts and Picts in Scotland
    With a Romanized southern Britain, what was life like in Scotland? Meet the warring tribes of Picts that ruled North Britain, with the Irish to the west and Angles moving in from the southeast. Highlights include the ancient Pictish tongue and the truth about William “Braveheart” Wallace and all that blue paint. x
  • 9
    Prehistoric Ireland and the Celts
    An early Irish text called The Book of Invasions is the basis for this truly unique look back at the origins of Ireland and its people. In equal parts weird, fascinating, and humorous, this text tells of one-armed pirate giants, descendants of Noah, a tribe of sorcerers, and six full-scale takeovers of Ireland. x
  • 10
    Celtic Britain after Rome
    North and west of what today is England, where the Romans held far less influence, a paradoxical era of both peaceful immigration and rebellion added to the melting pot of Britain in the first millennium A.D. Discover Cornwall, Wales, and parts of Scotland with a quick appearance of one of Britain's noblest legends: King Arthur. x
  • 11
    Brittany and Galicia: Fringe of the Fringe
    See how both France and Spain welcomed immigrants from a rapidly de-Romanizing Britain. Brittany became a thriving Celtic province that maintained its autonomy through the Middle Ages, while Galicia mostly lost its Celtic identity until a revival of interest in modern times. x
  • 12
    Celtic Churches
    The melding of pagan religions and Christianity is a compelling tale. St. Patrick’s legendary priesthood and missionary work are discussed, as is the Christian saint Brigid, who was remolded as a nature deity to impress the recently converted Irish. Learn how Irish monks brought Latin learning back to the European continent and “saved civilization.” x
  • 13
    Celtic Art and Insular Art
    Native Britons copied much of the art style prominent on the continent, complicating the process of defining Celtic art, but Professor Paxton unties this intricate knot. Observe some of Ireland's most breathtaking religious and secular art pieces, from the Book of Kells to the Tara Brooch. x
  • 14
    Medieval Irish Literature
    The early Irish prized literary skill just as much as prowess in warfare, and lords were judged by the quality of poet they could hire. This lecture gives a glimpse into the diverse genres of Irish literature, from epics about mythological heroes to exciting tales designed to warn kings about the dangers of ruling unjustly. x
  • 15
    Celtic Women, Families, and Social Structure
    Irish society treated all disputes as civil suits between families—so if your cousin killed someone, you had to pay some of the damages, which varied with the social status of the victim. Gain a fascinating insight into the hierarchical structure of this period and women’s roles in society as well. x
  • 16
    The Irish Sea World: Celts and Vikings
    By the turn of the first millennium A.D., we find ample evidence of Viking presence in both Ireland and Scotland. From raids to intermarriages, the Celtic-Scandinavian relationship is a stranger-than-fiction love-hate saga any history buff can appreciate. x
  • 17
    English Invasions of Wales and Ireland
    Get a glimpse of the life of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, one of the most influential Welsh rulers, who briefly unified the country 1,000 years ago. Uncover the shocking truth of Henry II's invasion of Ireland and its causes as well as anti-Irish propaganda and the development of cruel stereotypes that influenced English views of the Irish down to the modern period. x
  • 18
    Scotland from Macbeth to Braveheart
    How do Shakespeare and Hollywood stack up against the truth in some of the fictional accounts of Scotland's history? Learn about the historical Macbeth and William Wallace (of Braveheart fame), as well as the famous ruler Robert Bruce, who secured Scottish independence from the invading English. x
  • 19
    Politics and Literature in Wales
    Unveil the turbulent story of English conquest in Wales with this insightful glimpse into Welsh history that includes the unfortunate influence of misplaced loyalty to family that cost the Welsh their sovereignty forever. Then, look at Welsh literature, particularly the wonderful but enigmatic myths of the Mabinogi and the witty poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym. x
  • 20
    The Tudor Conquest of Ireland
    After Henry VIII denounced Catholicism, England tried repeatedly to bring Ireland into its fold. With Catholicism and Protestantism at odds, Irish chieftains were caught in the middle: the English offered land deals in exchange for shedding their Irish culture and heritage. Witness the aftermath when a historic powder keg exploded, with devastating losses on both sides. x
  • 21
    (Re)Discovering the Celts
    Just as the Tudors were conquering Ireland, linguistic studies of the Celtic languages began and a new fascination with the Celts slowly emerged. Witness the resurgence of mythological Celtic tales and the revival of the tartan after it was briefly banned by the British; see how fascination with the druids and Welsh bards created a newly confident Welsh identity. x
  • 22
    The Gaelic Revival in Ireland
    Compared to the fun-loving and historically focused revival of Celtic culture in Scotland and Wales, Ireland's Celtic revival had more of a political edge. Ancient Irish mythology played a surprising role in the growth of Irish nationalism that led to conflict and ultimately to independence from Britain. x
  • 23
    Celtic Music and Dance
    Celtic instruments come to life in this lecture. Take a music lesson and learn about the carnyx, a war trumpet; the bodhrán, a hand drum; and the crwth, a lyre played with a bow. Treat your ears to samples of these and beautiful Irish singing, then watch clips of delightful Celtic dances based on classic traditions. x
  • 24
    The Celts Today
    In the final lecture, end your 2,500-year journey with the Celts by considering the Celtic nations in the 21st century. Bilingualism, modern Celtic pop culture, and renewed nationalist groups pushing for political autonomy are merely the tip of the iceberg in this satisfying conclusion to a truly epic history of culture, politics, and warfare. x

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  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 265-page printed course guidebook
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Course Guidebook Details:
  • 265-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos and illustrations
  • Suggested reading
  • Questions to consider

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Your professor

Jennifer Paxton

About Your Professor

Jennifer Paxton, Ph.D.
The Catholic University of America
Dr. Jennifer Paxton is Assistant Director of the University Honors Program and Clinical Assistant Professor of History at The Catholic University of America. She was previously a Professorial Lecturer in History at Georgetown University, where she taught for more than a decade. The holder of a doctorate in history from Harvard University, where she has also taught and earned a Certificate of Distinction, Professor Paxton is...
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The Celtic World is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 204.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great course A very interesting course taught by a great professor
Date published: 2019-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Learned A Lot I probably would not have purchased this course, but as it was available on Great Courses Plus, I thought I would see if it was worth spending my time on this twenty-four lecture video course. It is VERY impressive. I came to this course with little real knowledge of the Celts, and came away with a great deal of solid information and, most importantly, understanding and appreciation. Professor Paxton is an excellent presenter who kept my attention throughout, not only in her lecture style and content but also because she includes so many fine photos, videos, maps, artifacts, and other illustrative materials. Overall, the graphics supporting this 2018 course are top-notch. The course is chronological from ancient to medieval and then to modern eras. There are a lot of interesting subdivision on such matters as the nature of evidence supporting long-held theories about the Celts (proven wrong by recent research, employing, most notably, linguistics and DNA), as well Celtic culture and its continuing influence. I found especially interesting Professor Paxton’s extended discussions about Ireland (my ancestral home), for which there is more material for research than for many other countries, and discussions on Celtic art, literature, and music and dance. There is also a good deal of history in the course, explaining, for example, the reasons for the mutual antipathy of the Irish and English and how Hollywood’s Scottish ‘Braveheart’ is historically inaccurate. Professor Paxton also takes side trips to modern-day Brittany (France) and Galicia (Spain), making for even more interesting discussions about Celtic people and culture. In addition to the stand-alone value of this course, I found it an excellent foundation for another TC course I just started, Marc Conner’s ‘The Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature’. While not necessary to appreciate Professor Conner’s course, ‘The Celtic World’ adds a good deal more to this fine course on Irish identity. Professor Paxton’s course has an excellent 256-page guidebook with a lot of illustrations (including maps) from the course as well good lecture summaries and an annotated bibliography.
Date published: 2019-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GREAT PROFESSOR! Everything I was taught has now been disproven! Dispersion of ideas not people. Further research on my part shows that the IRISH (81%), WELSH (89%) & BASQUE (91%) people of the NEOLITHIC period share the same (Y) R1b DNA marker! Further proving the new evidence explained in the course.
Date published: 2019-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Visuals help We had borrowed the CD version of the Celtic World and lost interest. We are visual learners and love the DVD version. Graphics and Text keep one engaged.
Date published: 2019-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Robert the Bruce, but no Larry the Bird Professor Paxton comes well-prepared, with a pleasant delivery style and a wonderful dry humor that can sometimes come right out of the blue. The course must have been difficult to organize since it covers such a wide range of time and cultures. But this survey course succeeds in providing a firm basis to begin to tackle some of the specific topics in more detail (e.g. 'The Irish Identity and the King Arthur legend). Since I am of Welsh heritage, I appreciated the background provided about Wales, particularly in their struggle against King John. I'd love to get into Welsh history in a bit more detail. The course of lectures is as entertaining as it is informative, even if it lacked any details about possibly the greatest Celt in the seventh game of the 1984 NBA Final. Dr Paxton is great and the course is a winner! know the drill.
Date published: 2019-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Celtic World This has been a wonderful, and exciting experience each day to listening/and watch a chapter at a time. The subject of the Celtic World has always fascinated me and with this course I found my previous knowledge was mostly 'hearsay.' Dr. Paxton is a fabulous lecturer and knows her subject well. She also arranges the subjects in good order to be able to understand all the mysteries of the Celtic history. I look forward to getting another course. This is added to a number of previous courses I have used from Teaching Company. ALL have been excellent, valuable info I never got in schooling. Not a one has been a failure. Thanks! for your gift! [by making these available.]
Date published: 2019-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Celtic World I'm very interested in medieval history and learned a great deal. Jennifer was a great instructor. She was very knowledgeable and also had a sense of humor,
Date published: 2019-06-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good enough Was informative, but disc 4 was flawed, and I couldn't access parts of it.
Date published: 2019-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Celtic Through Time Professor Paxton has been a constant favorite and again presented an extremely interesting course, that built on the knowledge I had and also challenged some misconceptions. Where there are still open questions, Dr Paxton presented all sides ending with her own position. I was then able to make my own conclusions, not just swallow one interpretation. An excellent learning experience.
Date published: 2019-05-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Professor's approach drove me crazy Every lecture structured the same: "Here is what scholars used to believe about [this aspect of] the Celts. All that has now been replaced by the current thinking which is that we really don't know much about [this aspect of] the Celts." There may be SOME interest in this type of information, especially if some long-held scholarly theory is washed away by dramatic new evidence. But in the case of the Celts it's more like.....there isn't any evidence of anything. There never was. Previous generations of scholars had theories not backed by evidence and now have abandoned those theories. That doesn't leave us with much to say about the Celts. There must be SOMETHING interesting about them. But it isn't in this course.
Date published: 2019-05-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from One of these days ... Haven't had time to watch it yet and I wish you'd quit sending me requests for reviews before I have watched it!
Date published: 2019-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Introduction to Celtic History This is a great course on history of Celtic people. Lots of fascinating details about the people, places and culture
Date published: 2019-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very enjoyable course with an excellent Professor! Very glad I decided to order this course on the Celts. Professor Paxton has an excellent way of relating the traditional teachings regarding the Celts and their culture to recent discoveries. Comparing what was taught in the past with newly revealed information makes this course to life. All phases of the life of the Celts are covered in detail and with an eye towards keeping the interest of the student. Well done course that reflects the best kind of serious learning about the subject.
Date published: 2019-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Celtic World is complex and diversified A great journey into the history, culture, and complexity of the Celts that is informatively and entertainingly presented by Professor Paxton. I learned many things that surprised me, not only about the Celts and their global influence but also about geography and cultural evolution in Western Europe. An entertaining course.
Date published: 2019-04-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Returned it The first two lectures were all about how, if you stare long and hard enough, there's really no such thing as "the Celts" or "the Celtic world." I took the hint and returned the series for a refund.
Date published: 2019-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough, expansive and well-balanced I really enjoyed this course. Professor Paxton tried to explain myths and likely history as it has evolved over time, regarding our understanding of the ancient Celts.
Date published: 2019-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Lecturer Ever! All these courses live and die on the strength of the lecturer. I was only marginally interested in Celtic history, and bought this course based on another course by Jennifer Paxton, 1066. Half way through I'm hooked on Celtic history, and it's all due to Jennifer Paxton's presentation. She has it all!
Date published: 2019-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good teacher MS Jennifer Paxton is an excellent lecturer. She keeps the lesson interesting.
Date published: 2019-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Asterix Who were the Celts? The answer has changed in recent years. According to Professor Paxton, the old view was that the Celts were a Central European people sharing a common religious, artistic and military culture who invaded western and southern Europe, even crossing into Anatolia in the third century BC. They conquered Britain in two waves, first the speakers of q-Celtic or Goidelic and then the speakers of p-Celtic or Brythonic. Place names assigned by Greeks and Romans attest to the Celtic reach: Galicia in northwestern Spain, Gallia Transalpina in France, Gallia Cisalpina in northern Italy, and Galatia in Turkey. Alas, Roman and Germanic conquests pushed back Celtic culture until only a stubborn western “fringe” was left in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Brittany, plus the Isle of Man, home of the tailless Manx cat. That view is now in ruins thanks to new findings in archaeology and to DNA sampling. There was no single cultural package, the peoples of the British Isles are not genetically derived from ancestors in Central Europe, and there was no Celtic invasion of Great Britain. Some have argued that British/Breton languages shouldn’t even be called Celtic, since those peoples never called themselves that, and classical authors didn’t connect Britons with the Celts. Paxton won’t go that far, but she supports the idea that cultural and linguistic borrowing rather than migration explains any similarities between insular and continental Celtic-speaking peoples. Beyond this paradigm shift, the course is largely a political, literary and artistic history of Wales, Scotland and Ireland, with a long process of resistance to and accommodation with Viking and English conquerors. In that process the Celtic languages have largely died out, despite official attempts to revive them, yet each nation has maintained a distinctive culture. Brittany gets a lot less coverage than it deserves, considering that at the beginning of the twentieth century there were still two million Breton speakers. I suspect Professor Paxton isn’t up on her Breton history or literature or she made a conscious choice to minimize them in favor of the places that would interest her English-language audience. I also really wish she had spent more time on ancient Spain and Gaul; there must be some archaeological and linguistic material to talk about. As she acknowledges, there ARE Asterix comics after all. On the other hand, this course has a lot of strengths. Professor Paxton is a good speaker. Lectures 3 and 13 have a lot of great photos of Celtic art, including (in 13) illuminated manuscripts. In Lecture 9 there are funny animations to illustrate the weird medieval Book of Invasions, which claims the Irish descended from Spanish ancestors, but only after great floods completely wiped out previous waves of immigrants. Lecture 23 has video clips of a very cute girl demonstrating the jig, the reel and other dance steps. Lecture 18 on Scotland has a couple of interesting surprises. Macbeth was a real historical figure, but not the treacherous villain that Shakespeare and his Scottish sources make out. The families that most inspired later Scottish patriots, the Bruces and the Stuarts, weren’t native to the country, but came from Normandy and Brittany, respectively. Paxton also discusses the hucksterism that Celtic heritage has inspired, from James Macpherson’s supposed translation of Ossian poems that he himself composed in English, to the tartan plaid that has represented ancient Scottishness only since Queen Victoria, and finally to Spanish Galicia’s attempt to market itself to tourists as the original Irish homeland. If you have any interest in the non-English parts of the British Isles, I recommend this course for you.
Date published: 2019-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a very informative course. I bought this because I've always been interested in Scot-Irish history because my mom always told me I had Scot-Irish roots. A DNA test of my Y DNA shows it is Celtic in origin, and the Ancestry Autosomal DNA test showed very high quantities of DNA from the British isles and NW coast of Europe, where the Celtics settled. This course explores the origins, migrations, literature, art, and history of the Celtic people and is most interesting. Also, the lecturer, Dr. Jennifer Paxton, holds your attention. The course book is handy to review and the ability to go back on the DVD to re-watch something is great. Spoiler: This course questions some of the things that have been taught in the past.
Date published: 2019-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course. Excellent professor. I am a quarter of the way through this course and am finding it to be excellent. Love the way the professor has organized and presents the subject. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2019-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Describes the unexpected enormity I bought this as a companion course to “THE IRISH IDENTITY”. It was a great choice.
Date published: 2019-04-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One nitpick Overall I enjoyed the course though sometimes it seemed a little too heavy on the Irish element. "Plaid Cymru" does not mean "Children of Wales". It means "The Party of Wales". Children of Wales would be "Plant Cymru" though you can see where she missed it. In the film "The Englishman who went up a hill but came down a mountain" has a sign in the school room that says "Plant Owain" which means "Children of Owain (Glyndwr), the common people who supported the greatest fight for freedom in Welsh history.
Date published: 2019-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Larry's Take I'm half way through the course to date. Professor Paxton is an excellent teacher.
Date published: 2019-03-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Fine Review of Celtic Culture This is a fine review of Celtic culture across Europe. It is especially strong in its review of political and social history within the British Isles. A very solid piece of work.
Date published: 2019-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful course! I learned so much about my heritage! And why my DNA shows a trace of Scandanavian ancestry (gotta love those Vikings, right?). So glad I did this course!
Date published: 2019-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The History of India The History of India was excellent, one of the best of the many we have seen. It was much better than the British Raj. Though the professor was short on smiles, he was most interesting. Haven't seen the Celtic World yet.
Date published: 2019-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative ! I bought this course to delve a little deeper into the Celtic world. . This course is interesting and so well presented. Professor Paxton delivers each lecture thoroughly. She left me with wanting to know more!
Date published: 2019-03-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Content suffers from inaccurate maps The course content promises to be very good up until Chapter 4 when one of the maps used to illustrate a comparison point is blatantly inaccurate (Switches Norway and Sweden). From that point, I question what other errors were not fact checked prior to production and basically tuned out from the course.
Date published: 2019-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Most Recent Scholarship I have been interested seriously in the subject of the Celtic world for years. This excellent course has opened new and fresh approaches to the subject. Many of the older printed resources are shown to make assumptions that may, in fact, not be helpful. The Professor is well qualified and presents extremely well, which is an added delight.
Date published: 2019-03-13
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