When I lived in Germany from the ages of nine to eighteen, wandering through Roman ruins became a pastime. We’d drive down roads that were built by the Romans and see their effects on the countryside. When I stood inside the Colosseum in Rome, the weight of the Roman world surrounded me as heavily as the scorching sun. The Roman contribution to Europe remains tangible. What is less well felt is the Celtic contribution.
Now I live in Ireland, a place that the Romans never ventured to. The Latin name for Ireland is Hibernia- which is invariably translated as land of eternal winter or wintery place. In short, the story goes that the Romans felt it was too cold here. Considering that an airport in the west of the country was covered in snow just days ago, perhaps, they had a point.
The Ancient Paths uncovers a history before the Romans, challenging ideas about the ancient routes, communities and peoples. It is a fascinating account of life across the continent and British isles. In particular, I enjoyed the portions that talked about the orientation of the Celtic world, which was really several groups of people, rather than a homogeneous identity. Many of their routes correspond to the lines of the solstice. For more information on Ireland’s neolithic connection to the winter solstice, visit this post.
For anyone interested in history, geography, cartography, ancient Europe, the Romans or the Celtic peoples, this book provides details of a little known story!
My best to you all,