The Celtic World

Course No. 3733
Professor Jennifer Paxton, Ph.D.
The Catholic University of America
Share This Course
4.6 out of 5
272 Reviews
88% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 3733
Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • numbers 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."
  • numbers The Celts had surprising and historic involvements with Hannibal, Spartacus, Henry II, and Richard Lionheart.
  • numbers 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.

Hide Full Description
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

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 24 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 265-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 265-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos and illustrations
  • Suggested reading
  • Questions to consider

Enjoy This Course On-the-Go with Our Mobile Apps!*

  • App store App store iPhone + iPad
  • Google Play Google Play Android Devices
  • Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Tablet + Firephone
*Courses can be streamed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

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...
Learn More About This Professor
Also By This Professor

Reviews

The Celtic World is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 272.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Jennifer Paxton focuses on all of the things I wanted to know about the Celtic World. Her sessions were packed with information, stories, photos and music. I will look for other Great Courses done by her. Thank you Dr. Paxton.
Date published: 2020-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course Just bought this course and am half way through it. So much information presented in away that causes you to think. I’ve even repeated a lesson or two to catch even more. Love the maps and slides of objects. Professor gives more than one point of view about the theories of origins of language, etc. worth the money and time.
Date published: 2020-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I have visited the British Isles and continental Europe several times over the last 35 years and have all these wonderful bits and pieces of information and memories. Along the way I developed a good bit of interest in things Celtic. This course has helped greatly to put most of those bits and pieces into a more orderly and understandable arrangement, tying them together in a way I had not been able previously.
Date published: 2020-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding lecturer The professor is gifted with excellent clarity in presenting complex historical material. She weaves threads of time and place into a coherent whole that I found fascinating.
Date published: 2020-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great series! We loved this series so much we watched it twice! Jennifer does a great job of presenting the information.
Date published: 2020-05-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Clear and fascinating Very clearly presented, with excellent detail. The context is made very clear, making the lectures very easy to follow and absorb.
Date published: 2020-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb content and delivery! The lecturer’s knowledge and delivery style are excellent - everything you ever wanted to know about Celtic life and history. Well-organized material with great graphics.
Date published: 2020-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Histroy Professor Paxton brings into her lively presentations literary, archaeological, linguistic (among others) aspects of this fascinating period of human history. This course gives one an immense appreciation of the mysteries of human life and motivations of the family of man.
Date published: 2020-05-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Just right for a jump start I bought this course during the pandemic I am from A Celtic background ( Scottish/ Irish/ Welsh). I found the instructor easy to listen to. Each lesson had enough information to keep me engaged, but didn’t overwhelm me with technical jargon. I do think that at checkout the buyer should be made aware of how much extra it will be once it is the price is converted to their own currency. When I bought, it said $48 but in Canadian funds became $72. Almost double. I’m not sure I want to pay that much for a course.
Date published: 2020-05-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too much on the continent and discarded theories I was mainly interested in the history and culture of the British Isles (including Ireland) and so skipped through a lot of the continental history of Gaul etc. Also, especially in the early lectures, there was extended discussion of theories that were later disproven or became doubtful - a lot of "we just don't know".
Date published: 2020-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous! I absolutely loved this lecture series. Dr. Jennifer Paxton is wonderful. She is interesting to listen to, has a good sense of humor and a passion for the subject that draws you in. I love that she can admit that the original Celtic thought is mostly incorrect and also that there is so much they don't know. It is nice to see a professor admit that the theories are changing as sometimes professionals are set that they are right. Often, Dr. Paxton is willing to say "hey, if it's been a few hundred years, let it be. Sometimes it isn't worth arguing over minute issues." Again, this is a wonderful series with a wonderful professor.
Date published: 2020-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Lecturer, Excellent Story I saw and ad for The Celtic World and since my wife is half Scottish and half Irish I bought it as a mother's day gift for her. I couldn't wait that long so I presented it to her early and we watched the first session (30 minutes). She was delighted! We are now on the 13th session and continue watching one or two sessions each day. We are particularly impressed with the Lecturer. She has done a formidable amount of research - presumably with some help. Her presentations turn history into a page turner - except there are no pages to turn, its all on the DVD and the story just unfolds before us. Incidentally, the castle shown on the covers of the book and the DVD. It is Eileen Donan. For many years it belonged to one McKenzie or another. My wife was a McKenzie so our attraction to it is natural.
Date published: 2020-05-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Constant "I'll talk about this later" I quickly got tired of the lecturer stating that she would "talk about this later". If something is worth mentioning now, it is worth talking about now. I am a lecturer myself, and I hope that I never constantly talk about "what is to come".
Date published: 2020-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Masterfully presented!! I have long wondered where my "Ulster-Scots" roots/heritage fits in "the Celtic World." Now I know!.
Date published: 2020-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic course great contentand great delivery This is one of the very best courses I've ever purchased from the Teaching Company. Dr Paxton is incredibly well organized, factual,and sometimes understatedly funny. The maps, videos, photos and music well a nice addition, but even without them, Dr Paxton paints a vivid picture and gives an excellent overview of the "Celts", commencing in middle Europe and bringing thier history up through today. Since I am a genealogical researcher with roots in Ireland, Scotland and the Celtic fringe, these lectures this put some things into perspective that I had not realized were part of the big picture. It's a plus that she has a pleasantly modulated voice and perfect grammar and knows what she's doing when pronouncing other languages. I enjoyed this course so much that I also bought her course on 1066. I wish I could take her to lunch and ask her some specific questions : ))
Date published: 2020-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent and informative lectures and visually very interesting!
Date published: 2020-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I related to this topic! My ancestors came from Scotland, Wales, and England. I loved learning about the Celts. There was so much new information that I’m going through the videos again. The professor is well prepared and knowledgeable. It is a pleasure to listen. I love the visuals she has chosen to illustrate the series.
Date published: 2020-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Every thing you ever wondered about Celtic world Content has excellent coverage and well documented sources
Date published: 2020-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Ancestry DNA is Celtic/Scandinavian . We are in the middle of the corona pandemic so it was a great distraction.
Date published: 2020-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Ongoing Adventure I really enjoyed this course. I’ve been to the UK many times (and plan on going back many more). Professor Paxton’s lectures added a lot to my memories of past trips and to my anticipation for future trips.
Date published: 2020-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Presentation Dr Paxton does a marvelous job of talking her way through this class. Clear, steady voice easy to listen to. She uses enough facial gestures and witty comments to hold your interest. Her hands sometimes become distracting, but some of the hand movements accentuate the text very well. The course is very well organized and each lecture flows smoothly from objectives through concluding remarks. The course material is excellent. The topic of Celtic History well documented and inclusive.
Date published: 2020-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great lecturer with a sense of humor "The Celts" have intrigued me for many years, so I bought the course during shelter in place March 2020. I like the enthusiastic and humorous presentation by the lecturer. It is very interesting to see that this ethnicity isn't one peoples. It is also interesting to see that the superficial presentation you get of the Celts misleads because the use of the Celtic languages is very complex and doesn't lend itself to tidy, simple explanations.
Date published: 2020-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Celtic World I have listened to Chapter 1. Fascinating. Professor Paxton is an interesting speaker. Can't wait to learn more.
Date published: 2020-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Celtic World We have a trip to Ireland planned for later this year. We thought it would be interesting to learn more about the Celtic world before our trip. Dr Paxton is a wonderfully experienced and engaging lecturer. She really holds our attention. We are learning so many interesting things about Celtic history and society. As well as, fascinating European history. My husband especially enjoyed the lecturers dealing with linguistics and philology. My family has always talked about our French and German heritage. My sister recently had a DNA Genealogy test done and was surprised to find out that we are mostly Irish and British! So the course has special significance for me now.
Date published: 2020-04-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Poor Start but a Solid Course Paxton tries to do a lot with this course from historian to linguist to commentator. She stumbles initially by smirking applause for the sardonic Ad Hominem arguments of “new” scholars who apparently lack data for their viewpoints. EXAMPLES: L8: "Caesar tells us” that the Celts used blue woad to decorate themselves (ie: a pretty reliable, written source). She counters Caesar’s writing by stating: “But there are no specific accounts of woad being used in Scotland..." (ie: there is no written record of woad’s use or non-use by people who did not provide written records). Therefore, she concludes: “(we) don’t know if the Picts actually painted themselves blue.” L9: Wastes a great deal of time on the inevitable scholars who question both written sources and oral materials, taking aim particularly at how accurately early Christians would preserve a pagan past. The “older" academic view was “that people could actually trust these sources...it was their native history after all.” After many circular arguments, we are left without any meaningful "new" viewpoint. L9: “Neither (archaeological or DNA) evidence supports the idea of Ireland being peopled by a series of invasions." “Yet while DNA evidence does not show strong correlations...with Central Europe, it does show links between the Irish and the inhabitants of the whole European Atlantic seaboard, including Spain." Therefore, ”…’The Book of Invasions’ may have (accidentally) been right.” L12: “New” scholars are far less sure about a.) How Christianity came to Celtic lands, b.) Brigid being a monastic figure instead of a goddess, c.) The Voyage of Brendan (while admitting, "monks really went on such voyages”). Fine. But offer credible proof beyond the existence of “some” disagreeing modern scholars. After these “insider” trysts, her tone remarkably softens and she concentrates on her own work. She is incredibly well organized for such a wide-ranging course. Her method is more of a conversation that ranges from topic to topic in an intuitive, marvelous order. Her ability to meld traditions, countries, peoples, and events is best appreciated late in the course. So, hang in there…it’s a wonderful course once Paxton takes charge. As others have pointed out, one leaves this course with a very intuitive grasp of a complex subject. In her concluding remarks, Paxton defends removing the term Celtic entirely – the degree to which you feel you can defend accepting OR rejecting this hypothesis is a reflection of how well you understood this course. Thanks go to The Great Courses for a top notch Guidebook that accurately summarizes the lectures, and the illustrations, especially the L4 language diagram. Would recommend the PDF because it is in color which is better for the maps, etc. Extending such Great Courses to other areas often drives home how valuable these courses are. Paxton’s “The Celtic World” provides much. Her L5: “Caesar and the Gauls” remarkably backgrounds the board game “Falling Sky” and it’s prequel “Ariovistus”. Paxton’s expertise also aids understanding the great 18th century English historical fiction writer G A Henty: L11 for “Wulf the Saxon” on the Norman Conquest and L18 for “In Freedom’s Cause: A Story of Wallace & Bruce”. Paxton’s notes on the Irish cattle currency and the Tudor conquest (L14) amplify other Henty works.
Date published: 2020-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Prepare for the Deep Dive into the Celt World! Professor Paxton does a wonderful job explaining a very complex subject. What is Celt is not easy to define it turns out. This course explained a lot about my own geographic DNA results. I look forward to learning more from Professor Paxton in other courses. However, I am glad there is no final exam at the end as I fear I would not pass.
Date published: 2020-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Constantly Learning I thought I was up on Celtic history but this series hs taught me much more.
Date published: 2020-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good course The instructor covered a very complex subject very well. I would recommend this course if you don’t mind a complex subject matter.
Date published: 2020-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating! I had so many questions about the reach of the "Celtic World," and Professor Paxton answered them richly. Her lectures are very well done, fully informative, beautifully presented, so interesting. I had a great-granny from Wales, a grandfather from the southwest of England, and two grandparents from Galicia, so I was curious about all possible aspects of Celtic heritage. I'd heard many conflicting accounts of just what a Celt was/is. Professor Paxton explains the complexity of that term. I enjoyed every single lecture and learned a great deal. I'd recommend this course highly.
Date published: 2020-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating history of the Celts!! My wife and I have been viewing 2 lectures every night since receiving this course due to the compelling history of the Celts and the engaging way it is presented by Professor Jennifer Paxton.
Date published: 2020-02-29
  • y_2020, m_8, d_7, h_15
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.10
  • cp_2, bvpage2n
  • co_hasreviews, tv_15, tr_257
  • loc_en_US, sid_3733, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 123.97ms
  • REVIEWS, PRODUCT

Questions & Answers

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought