Celtic Warriors: The Armies of One of the First Great Peoples in Europe by Dáithí Ó hÓgáin


Synopsis: Sometimes  touching and sometimes horrifying, here is the definitive guide to the  history of Celtic wars and their warriors. 170 photos, maps, and charts.

Review:  Not a large book by any means, including the Index it is 128 pages, but an interesting one none the less.  It is very well illustrated with photos, maps and charts and obviously very well researched.  The author does, of course, admit to the limitations that he had to work with, things like no written history by the Celts and most of what we do know comes from archeology and what other classical writers had written about them.

The author talks about the appearance, fighting styles, and history of these  ancient warriors using words that capture the reader’s attention.  By  telling the history of the warriors of ancient Gaul, Britain, Ireland,  Celtiberia, and Galatia, he effectively gives the whole history of these  realms as it is known to us from the point of view of the warriors and how they warred.  The author reveals, like most books on this topic, the various strengths  and weaknesses of the ancient Gauls – tall, strong, and courageous, but  also superstitious, undisciplined, and prone to heavy drinking and  fighting amongst themselves.

I think the best part of the book apart from the written word and the photos is the Appendix.  The Appendix lists all the tribes that have shown a Celtic culture and which region they can be found in.  The book is copyrighted to 1999 so as with any history book that is a bit old be sure to check the information with anything current on the same subject (though I think that something that is geared towards only warriors is not available in the same way, if anyone has a book on the subject other than this one please let me know.).

A very enjoyable book added to my library, small enough to be read quickly but still valuable enough to be kept as a reference book.

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8 thoughts on “Celtic Warriors: The Armies of One of the First Great Peoples in Europe by Dáithí Ó hÓgáin

  1. Tom O Connor says:

    In my 2008 book ‘Hand of History, Burden of Pseudo History’ I have a lot of material about Celtic warriors and their wars on the Continent, in England and in Ireland. If you are interested you can check it out on the book’s website, http://www.handofhistory.com

    Tom O Connor

  2. Dafydd says:

    This looks like an interesting book on the subject; thanks for the review!

    I’ve read a few basic books on Celtic Warfare -Tim Newark’s simplistic but well written ‘Celtic Warriors: 400 BC – AD 1600’ (Blandford Publishing, 1986) and a few short books by Osprey publishing – ‘Celtic Warrior: 300 BC – AD 100’ by Stephen Allen, and ‘Rome’s Enemies: Gallic and British Celts’ by Peter Wilcox.

    I’m guessing this book is a bit more extensive, well researched and up to date than the Tim Newark/Osprey books.

    Osprey books might not be as in-depth as I would like, but they do have wonderful illustrations, courtesy of Angus McBride. Tim Newark and Angus McBride also worked on a brilliantly illustrated book called ‘Ancient Celts’ by Concord Publishing (1997), well worth getting if you want to visualise the world of the Celts.

    • celticscholar says:

      Dafydd, it is like a short introduction to the Celtic Warrior lol. But still good.

      • Dafydd says:

        I can’t seem to find anything extensive about Celtic Warriors. At 128 pages this book is short, but it’s nowhere near as short as Peter Wilcox’s work, which is around 40 pages long. Newark’s book on Celtic Warriors is over a 150 pages long, but most of it covers England’s wars against Scotland, Wales, and Ireland during the Medieval and Renaissance eras, rather than the ancient Iron Age world.

        Would you consider this better than Stephen Allen’s ‘Lords of Battle’ (224 pages)?

        • celticscholar says:

          Honesty, I can’t say. Both have their good points but they pretty much cover the same thing. Though this one is a “little” more serious than the Allen one, but not by much…

          • Dafydd says:

            Thank you very much for the reply – I think I’ll go with O’Hogain’s book for now. Your reviews on this site and your replies have been a lot of help in selecting the next literature I’m going to read about the Celts – so keep up the goodwork. Plus I’d like to apologise for pestering you with lots of questions in the past – sorry!

          • celticscholar says:

            You are very welcome, and you are not pestering me. I like the feedback 🙂

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