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Review: The Celts: A History

Daithi O'Hogain

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

The Celts: A History

In his book, Mr. Daithi O’Hogain (1949 – 2011), with the most Irish-sounding name and surname, served his readers with a cross-sectional account of the history of his ancestors, i.e. the Celts. He described it in a book with the telling title “The Celts: A History”. And in fact, as the title suggests, a lot happens in his book, both good, because we have a lot of good information about the Celts until the eleventh century CE, and very bad because Greco-Roman history was not the favorite domain of the reviewed author studies. Here is a list of errors and omissions:

  • The Theban-Spartan War of 378 to 362 BCE is blithely referred to by the author as ”Peloponnesian”, perhaps only because it was fought in the Peloponnese. Or it’s evidence of considerable sloppiness on his part. Such “gifts” for readers do not end there. This is just the beginning of a rather unpleasant enumeration. So we go further.
  • The text of this book, for example, suggests, or at least seems to imply, that the famous king of Epirus, Pyrrhus, died fighting Sparta, when in fact he died from a tile dropped on his head by an elderly resident of the city of Argos, during the fighting in this city.
  • The wife of Gaius Marius was Julia, the aunt of Gaius Julius Caesar himself, later known as Divine Julius. So Gaius Julius Caesar was even more related to the great reformer of the Roman army than the author of a peer-reviewed study of the Celts suggests, mentioning only his marriage to the daughter of Gaius Marius’ business partner, Lucius Cornelius Cinna, Cornelia, whom Gaius Julius Caesar dearly loved.
  • There are also some minor inaccuracies in the text of this book, such as confusing the chronology of Septimius Severus’ conflict with his rival for power in Gaul, and suggesting that the conversion of Constantine the Great took place in 324 CE.
  • It seems to me that the author confused the events of Eugene and Arbogast’s war with Theodosius the Great with events 30 to 40 years earlier, without mentioning a word about Julian, later called the Apostate and his brilliant Gallic military campaigns. Accordingly, there is not a word in this book about the Romanized Celts who then fought bravely with their master in Persia. It’s a real catastrophe at this point in the text of the book that I don’t think even big heads can explain. Apparently, the only thing that mattered to the author was the history of his Celtic ancestors, whose defeats he openly regrets.

Nevertheless, this book can be read while being aware of its shortcomings, which are generously served to its reader and quickly reveal they’re great numbers.

Purchase book in Amazon

Author: Antypater (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)

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