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Fortune-Seekers

Neal Ascherson: European Migration to AD 1000

23 October 2008
Europe between the Oceans: 9000 BC-AD 1000 
by Barry Cunliffe.
Yale, 518 pp., £30, July 2008, 978 0 300 11923 7
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... If BarryCunliffe’s large and magnificent new book has a guiding motto, it is a famous sentence by Fernand Braudel about the Mediterranean, which Cunliffe applies to the whole continent and repeats several times in these pages: ‘Our sea was from the very dawn of its prehistory a witness to those imbalances productive of change which would set the ...

What Columbus Didn’t Know

Peter Green: The history of cartography

21 February 2002
The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek, the Man who Discovered Britain 
by Barry Cunliffe.
Allen Lane, 182 pp., £12.99, October 2001, 0 7139 9509 2
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Ptolemy’s Geography: An Annotated Translation of the Theoretical Chapters 
edited by J. Lennart Berggren and Alexander Jones.
Princeton, 232 pp., £17.95, January 2002, 0 691 09259 1
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Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World: Atlas and Map-By-Map Directory 
by Richard J.A. Talbert.
Princeton, three volumes, £300, September 2000, 9780691031699
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... These three books constitute both landmarks and cautionary warnings in a long process that none of them addresses directly. Take BarryCunliffe’s reconstruction of the exploratory voyage by Pytheas of Massalia (Marseille) in the late fourth century BC: this not only exposes the striking lack of direct knowledge then prevalent among ...

Jigsaw Mummies

Tom Shippey: Pagan Britain

6 November 2014
Pagan Britain 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 480 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 300 19771 6
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The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria 
by Max Adams.
Head of Zeus, 450 pp., £25, August 2013, 978 1 78185 418 1
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... by art, language and even temperament. This has remained a powerful force even in modern politics. But what Hutton calls the ‘new model of ancient Celticity’, introduced in 2010 by John Koch and BarryCunliffe in Celtic from the West, sees the spread of Celtic languages as a consequence of the existence of an Atlantic trade route rather than ‘waves of invasion’. Trade doesn’t necessarily ...

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