The Philosopher and the Druid

Full Title: The Philosopher and the Druid – A Journey among the ancient Celts

Author: Philip Freeman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Published: 2006

Pages: 221 including an index, notes and suggested readings, a pronunciation guide, a glossary of Gaulish words, a timeline and some black and white pictures.

Synopsis:

Early in the first century B.C. a Greek philosopher named Posidonius began an ambitious and dangerous journey into the little-known lands of the Celts. A man of great intellectual curiosity and considerable daring, Posidonius traveled from his home on the island of Rhodes to Rome, the capital of the expanding empire that had begun to dominate the Mediterranean. From there Posidonius planned to investigate for himself the mysterious Celts, reputed to be cannibals and savages. His journey would be one of the great adventures of the ancient world.
Posidonius journeyed deep into the heart of the Celtic lands in Gaul. There he discovered that the Celts were not barbarians but a sophisticated people who studied the stars, composed beautiful poetry, and venerated a priestly caste known as the Druids. Celtic warriors painted their bodies, wore pants, and decapitated their foes. Posidonius was amazed at the Celtic women, who enjoyed greater freedoms than the women of Rome, and was astonished to discover that women could even become Druids.
Posidonius returned home and wrote a book about his travels among the Celts, which became one of the most popular books of ancient times. His work influenced Julius Caesar, who would eventually conquer the people of Gaul and bring the Celts into the Roman Empire, ending forever their ancient way of life. Thanks to Posidonius, who could not have known that he was recording a way of life soon to disappear, we have an objective, eyewitness account of the lives and customs of the ancient Celts.

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Review:

I want to start with what I enjoyed from this book. It was a good refresher, and the writing was very readable and very engaging. I loved that the author wrote this from the perspective of Posidonius. Unfortunately, we don’t really know much about what Posidonius would have done or how he would have done it because his writings only survived in fragments in other people’s writings. What I didn’t like was that it was full of “may have, could have, must have”.

The writer did however, take us on a journey from the beginning of the Celts until their “end”. He talked about the history, the social structure of the Celtic tribes, their warriors and kings, their feasts and their women. I’d consider this a great introductory book or a refresher for the fully versed.

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The Treasure of the Tuatha Dé Danann

Full Title: The Treasure of the Tuatha Dé Danann: A Pocket Book of Irish Myths

Author: Morgan Daimler

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 121 including a bibliography

Synopsis: This dual language pocket book represents a collection of new translations of several Irish myths. Each story is first presented in the original Old Irish and then in English so that a reader can experience the story as it existed in the original before reading a new translation. Many of the existing translations are around a hundred years old, and often either exclude material or else skew the retelling to fit the mores of a more Victorian audience. The translations included here in stories including Angus’s Dream to the Taking of the Sidhe are an attempt to find a balance between a more literal translation that is still enjoyable to an English speaking audience. All material focuses on the stories of the Irish Gods, the Tuatha De Danann.

The Treasure of the Tuatha Dé The Treasure of the Tuatha Dé Danann

Cover of the print addition.

Review: Honestly? I think this small book is terrific. First of all it has all the bits of stories in the myths that interest me, and second I loved that it was in a tiny book that I could carry around if need be.

I loved the Miscellany part of the book too since it coved some of the major Gods that everyone love and what said about the festivals.

People reading it should know as the author already mentioned that this is HER translation of these stories and as such should be taken as an amateur’s attempts. Still I think that Morgan did a good job (from this amateur’s point of view anyway).

Get it. You know you want too.

The Celts An Illustrated History

Author: Helen Litton

Publisher: Wolfhound Press

Published: 1997

ISBN: 9780863275777

Pages: 138 including a bibliography, index, and many pictures both black and white and coloured.

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Synopsis: In the eyes of the world Ireland is a Celtic country – but just how Celtic is Ireland? Do we know whether the Celts arrived at all? What was their real impact on this western island at the edge of the known world?

Review: I brought this book from http://www.thriftbooks.com and from the name I honestly thought it would be one of these books with lots of illustrations and not enough words. What can I say, I can’t resist a book that says Celts on the cover. When it arrived I thought…oh well it is such a tiny book…full of pictures no doubt…I’ll start with it, look at the nice pictures then put it on the shelf. I did none of that.

The book certainly had many pictures. It also had text. Good text. The author, for the time period this was written in, was really on top of her game. She knew what she was talking about and she certainly knew how to present her information in a way that was informative and not boring.

I loved all the boxes with quotes from the classical writers about the Celts and about Ireland. The pictures were a great collection and were interesting to look at. This is one of the best introductory books on the Celts that I have read because even thought it was written in 1997 it still felt very relevant today in 2015.