Non-Classical Europe

3500 BC to 300 CE

Celts, Gauls, Scythians, Picts, Etruscans, etc.

copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center

Be sure and catch the Atlas of Civilisation series, in this case the early chapters of The Cultural Atlas of France, The Cultural Atlas of Russia, etc.

We are no longer adding books on the Scythians. They were not Mongols but Europids, and ruled Cental Asia until the Late Antiquity invasions of the Huns drove them west and south, so that they became known then as the Alans, while other segments were part of the rootstock of the Franks. They will now be addressed on the Central Eurasian page.

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Boucher, Francois

Twenty Thousand Years of Fashion; the History of Costume and Personal Adornment ****
Harry N. Abrams, 1966; 440 pg, index, glossary
Gives unusually broad coverage of "Bronze Age" and other costumes from excavated artwork, even preserved corpses. Worth reading and studying. T1

Cornelius Tacitus, Publius

Germania (The Germans) ****
The first 27 "books" (sections like large chapters) cover the geography of the Germanic areas and general Germanic culture, while the remaining 19 detail individual tribes, as they differ from the norm. Of course, the farther anything or anyone is from the Roman border, the less accurate and more fanciful the tale.
Written about 98 CE, Tacitus may not be a rigorous modern anthropologist, but he's all we have for the period, prejudiced as he is. After all, to him one of the signs of savagery of the Germans was that they took women's advice! You can find him on the Internet Classics Archive from MIT (see either Classical Greek or Roman bibliographies) or via Paul Halsall's Internet Medieval Sourcebook (Dark Ages or Middle Ages bibliographies). T2

Cunliffe, Barry

The Celtic World ****
St. Martin's Press; 224 pgs
Excellent reconstruction of the complex civilization that Classical authors often dismiss as "barbarians" (which in the end means merely someone who does not speek Greek as a native language). Shows the continuance of the Celtic culture as part of the base of the Middle Ages and modern world. T2

Delbrueck, Hans

The Barbarian Invasions; History of the Art of War, volume II ****
University of Nebraska Press, 1980, trans. Walter J. Renfroe, Jr.; orig. 1921; 505 pg, index
Reduces the numbers in the hordes to realistic levels, which rather cuts into the heroism of the swamped Romans, who simply show the decay of their military in losing things they might have won. Excellent on debatable points and technical details. T2

Ellis, Peter Beresford

The Druids ***
Eerdmans; 304 pg
One of several possible interpretations. T2

Evans, D. Ellis

Gaulish Names ***
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1967
An excellent compilation of Celtic names in Gaul and Britain, recorded in Latin and Greek letters, but lumps together all questionable names with Male Names, leaving only a few marked out as Female Names. Actually, gender could have been determined as Probably Female and Probably Male in most cases. As it is, it looks as though only seven or eight female names were ever recorded. Sorts according to philological roots. About 1500 names. T1

Glob, P. V.

The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved ****
Ballantine Books, NY; see also Faber and Faber, Ltd., and Cornell University Press; 1965; trans. by Rupert Bruce-Mitford; now from Barnes & Noble in hardcover
Details the finding and investigation of ancient sacrifices preserved in northern European bogs (whence the title), and explores their culture and deaths. Good for clothes of the period! Very readable. T1

Green, Miranda J.

Celtic Goddesses: Warriors, Virgins and Mothers ****
George Braziller
Covers the not-PC Goddesses of the Irish and British based on archeaology and myth, including war Goddesses, Goddesses of promiscuity (have fun, girls, and make lots of new tribe members), and the horse Goddesses. T3

The World of the Druids *****!
Thames & Hudson
Superb reconstruction of the place of Druids in Celtic life -- and most of non-Classical Europe was Celtic. Explains the Roman's propaganda trying to discredit them and laws making them illegal, because they always formed a core for rebellions. T2

Green, Miranda J., editor

The Celtic World *****!
Routledge Paul Kegan; 839 pg
Worth the possible back injury! Actually only 7" x 10", but FAT. Covers towns and farms, politics (yes, they were sophisticated enough to do more than growl at each other), religion, trade, warfare, literature, all the good stuff. T2/3

Herm, Gerhard

The Celts: The People Who Came Out of the Darkness ****
Barnes & Noble, NY; 312 pg
Covers the 2000-year span of the archeological and spottily historical culture that ruled Northern Europe and periodically invaded the Classical Mediterranean. T2

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
Compiles Gaulish, Gothic, and other names of the period. Sarmatians, etc, can be found in Iranian chapter of the historical section. We are told the revised edition will be stronger in this. T1

King, John

The Celtic Druids' Year ****
Blandford, London
A lot of books on Druids out there are either really about the neo-Pagan Reformed Druids of North America, or the Welsh-language preservationist Druids. This is actually focused on the ancient Celtic Druidism, especially its fundamental seasonal aspects. T2

Laing, L & J

The Picts and the Scots ****
Alan Sutton; 172 pgs
Uses archeological as well as historic evidence to show both the autochthonous Pictish culture back into the earliest (Roman) period, and the invasive Scots from Scotia (modern Ireland), and how they eventually melded. T1

McEvedy, Colin

The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History ***
Penguin Books, 1967; 96 pg, index
Good to show the spread of literacy, bronze, iron, and the influence of the Mediterranean. T1

Osprey Military Books

The worst book out by Osprey still gets three stars. The best are five stars and a bang. These are each a dense, military monograph on weapons, tactics, strategy, and history, with some little cultural background. Rarely at libraries, you will usually find these where military miniatures are sold. T2/3

The Men-at-Arms Series on "Rome's Enemies":

Now that's an area hard to dig up stuff on!

Pawlicki, T. B.

How to Build a Flying Saucer, and Other Proposals in Speculative Engineering
Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1981
"Megalithic Engineering: How to Build Stonehenge and the Pyramids with Bronze Age Technology" *****!
Absolutely brilliant! Instead of baffled awe by an archeologist, a "no big deal" explanation by a man who used to work in heavy earth construction with shovel crews. "The standard way to erect pylons would have made no scene for Charlton Heston in "The Ten Commandments." The pylon is drawn to the site on a stoneboat; pallets have been traditional in the moving trades since prehistoric times. A thousand slaves driven by whips are not necessary, because a thirty-foot pylon with an average cross section of five square feet weighs less than fifteen tons. Three hundred slaves, or a dozen oxen, could handle it easily. Even if the ancients had unlimited slaves, they used beasts of burden because animals are more efficient..." and there are tomb paintings of stoneboats drawn by cattle. Notice how 15 tons is everyday to him. Must be read to be appreciated in total! Goes on to discuss the simple matter of building trilithons, or moving megaliths overland. T3

Seibs, Benno

Die Personnenamen der Germanen **** (Personal Names of the Germanic Peoples)
Another great German-language onomastics text. Covers the Saxons, English Germanics (Anglo-Saxons, Frisians, etc.), and the Norse, all intermixed according to the philological roots of the individual names, in the one of the two sections (translated as Roots and Stems). Apparently every one he could find in literature, manuscript or inscription, in which the one element could be translated. A few thousand total. T1

Sharp, M.

A Land of Gods & Giants *****!
Fraser Stewart
Covers the ritual earthworks and megalithic sites of the village farmers of Britain, active from 3400 to 800 BC. T1

Time-Life Books, the editors of


Ancient World Web *****!

Superb linksite, which it would be silly to try and duplicate here. Especially fine for including Asian, American, and African sections, not just Europe and the Near East.

The Center for the Study of the Eurasian Nomads (CSEN)

Lots of photos and articles, including reviews of the latest books.

H-GIG Historical Times & Places ***

A thorough-going linksite maintained by the University of California at Riverside, H-GIG sorts by area, by era (ancient<yours>, Medieval, early Modern, Modern, and 20th C), or by topic (military, women, etc.). It's a good place to start a hunt for books and essays online.

Internet Medieval Sourcebook *****!

Halsall is collecting texts in translation, and also providing links to other sites like Berkeley, so as not to duplicate effort. This huge initial page links internally and externally to a list of period works, from the late Byzantine-early Christian age to the early Renaissance. Wonderful source, attractive without glitz, many matrices of approach (eg, by a topic like women's roles or by a period).

Especially, check his link to Other Medieval Sites. This is actually a lot of Ancient sites, and there are a fine lot for the oft-ignored Slavs and other Eastern European peoples.

To Bibliography of Middle-Tech Skills

To Central Eurasian Bibliography

To Ireland Bibliography

(for non-Continental Celts)

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