Facing the Ocean: The Atlantic and Its Peoples 8000 BC-AD 1500

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9780192853554: Facing the Ocean: The Atlantic and Its Peoples 8000 BC-AD 1500

The Bretons are not French, the Celts are not English, and the Galicians are not Spanish, writes Barry Cunliffe. These maritime communities have long looked north and south along the coast, not inland, to claim a common bond. Even today, the Bretons see themselves as distinct from the French, but refer to the Irish, Welsh, and Galicians as their brothers and cousins.
In Facing the Ocean, Barry Cunliffe, one of the world's most highly regarded authorities on prehistoric Europe, offers an utterly original way of looking at that continent. He argues that the peoples of the Atlantic rim--of Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar--all share a cultural identity shaped by the Atlantic Ocean, an identity which stretches back almost ten thousand years. These peoples lived at the edge of the world, in places called Land's End, Finistere, and Finisterra, and looked out on a bountiful but terrifying expanse of ocean, a roiling, merciless infinity beyond which there was nothing. Their profound relationship with the ocean set these communities apart from their inland countryman, creating a distinct Atlantic culture. Cunliffe culls the archaeological evidence to illuminate the bonds that developed and intensified between these isolated communities and helped to maintain a shared and distinctive Atlantic identity.
Attractively designed and vibrantly written, Facing the Ocean offers a striking reassessment of a people who have usually been regarded as peripheral to European history. It will send shock waves through the history world and will radically change our view of the European past.

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About the Author:


Barry Cunliffe is Professor of European Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford.

Review:


"An eagle-eye view of unique clarity from an impassioned observer with a discerning mind.... It delivers history from a fresh perspective, encompassing a region rarely glimpsed as a whole."--The Economist


"Brilliant. One of the most fascinating new ideas in archaeology."--Richard Ellis, The Times [London]


"A remarkable achievement. Cunliffe has produced a measured and masterfully executed account of the long-term development of Atlantic communities and their maritime connections, bringing together for the first time a staggering amount of material."--Jon Henderson, Times Higher Education Supplement


"Profusely illustrated with maps, aerial views and archaeological photographs, this volume is a delight to the eye as well as a splendid introduction to the European roots of the modern Atlantic community."--Seaport


"Lavishly illustrated...a beautiful book...Cunliffe is to be complimented because he has stepped beyond the yearning for Celtic myths to use contemporary archaeology to tell a great story of human endeavour."--Richard Hodges, History Today


"This is a seminal work, an innovative and imaginative treatment of ancient and medieval European history, written in an engaging fashion. Not only is its thesis riveting, the book is beautifully laid out with informative maps, charts, and colored and black and white photographs, good documentation, a very usable index, and even bewitching sea beast iconography adorning the title page of each chapter. That Cunliffe, who 'wanted to write [this book] for a lifetime,' did so is a celebration for all privileged to read it."--Journal of Social History


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Barry Cunliffe
Editorial: Oxford University Press, USA (2004)
ISBN 10: 0192853554 ISBN 13: 9780192853554
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Cunliffe, Barry
Editorial: Oxford University Press (2004)
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