Die Kelten * Alexander Demandt (ISBN: 3406447988)

In set-up this book holds the middle between the other two books that I reviewed in this series, “Die Germanen” which is a scholarly book about this ancient peoples and “Götter und Kulte der Germanen” mostly based on archeological findings. Demandt deals with the Celts and mostly uses archeological findings for his ideas, but also uses the scriptures of especially Ceasar about the Celts. The book mostly speaks about the history and also political history of the Celts. A hard-to-answer question is who the Celts exactly were and where they came from. Demandt supports the idea that they originally came from south-west Germany, but quickly went to north-east Germany and from there, northern France, the Brittish isles and the rest of Europe. Unlike the Germans, the Celts were good enough warriors to make the lives of the Romans miserable. They even managed to take in Rome for a short while. At the peak, the Celts inhabited an area from Great Brittain to Romenia. When the Romans regained power, the Celts were drawn back. Also the (quite similar, but not quite the same) upcoming Germans took (back) much land.

Even more contrary to the Germans, the Celts were a flexible folk who adjusted to new surroundings. They took the good things from the Romans, blended well into the Italian and near-Eastern peoples just to name two examples. Still this couldn’t prevent them to become parias in the Roman empire and being pushed back as far as Ireland and Scotland. There they met a new treat: Christianity and also here (as we all know) the Celts (outwardly) adjusted their convictions and way of living.

The worldview, myths, religion and folklore is shortly dealt with. At the end you can read a bit about the Celtic revival in the Romantic periode and in our own day and time.

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