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Atlantic Europe in the First Millennium BCCrossing the Divide$
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Tom Moore and Xosê-Lois Armada

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199567959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199567959.001.0001

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Iron Age Knowledge: Pre-Roman Peoples and Myths of Origin

Iron Age Knowledge: Pre-Roman Peoples and Myths of Origin

(p.617) 30 Iron Age Knowledge: Pre-Roman Peoples and Myths of Origin
Atlantic Europe in the First Millennium BC

Richard Hingley

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that accounts of the Iron Age have been deeply influenced by classical writings about the ‘barbarian’ peoples on the western periphery of the expanding Roman Empire. As such, studies of the Iron Age and Roman periods are mutually implicated, since both derive their original inspiration from classical texts. Although Iron Age and Roman archaeologies often define themselves in opposition to one another, the academic histories of these sub-disciplines should be addressed together in order to explore this interrelationship. The chapter addresses this issue by considering origin myths and Iron Age archaeology, the complex interrelationship between ideas of barbarity and civilization, and the ‘Celtic controversy’. Throughout the chapter stresses the significance of the identities that particular peoples across Western Europe have drawn from the Iron Age past. It emphasizes the power of such ideas and the need to take care in deconstructing such interpretations.

Keywords:   Iron Age, Roman period, archaeology, barbarity, civilization, Celtic controversy

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