Women in Celtic Law and Culture

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This study presents a global view on the early Celtic experiment in gender equality, focusing on pre-Roman Celtic groups (Celtiberi, British, Gaulish) as well as the six major Celtic societies which survived into the Middle Ages (Breton, Cornish, Irish, Manx, Scottish, and Welsh). Employing an interdisciplinary approach, it avoids parochialism by cross-referencing, where possible, Pagan, secular Christian, and Christian Church authors. In the cases of conflicts in dates, all sides of the conflicts, and types of evidence from such varied disciplines as archaeology, history, women's studies, anthropology, classical studies, comparative law, economics, linguistics, political science, and psychology are cited.


“The unusual status of women in Celtic law and culture has for centuries aroused considerable interest…..Jack G. Thompson’s book touches on one of the most interesting and controversial Celtic-related issues…..Thompson devotes extensive attention to this question and attempts its thorough examination, this task being all the more challenging because the status of women in Celtic culture has often been superficially viewed as exceptional without sufficient explanation or criticism; this attitude is based on a ‘myth’ of sexual equality (or even female superiority) among the Celts rather than on actual evidence…..The author has succeeded in presenting the controversial issue of women in Celtic law and culture without going to extremes of interpretation or blundering into a confusing mass of speculation….he has provided a clear, detailed analysis of legal regulations defining women’s status, considering its changes over time, distinctly portrayed various types of Celtic women and clearly elucidated the role they played in various spheres of cultural activitiy.” – Acta Universitatis Wratislaviensis No. 2400, Angelica Wratislaviensia XXXIX, Wroclaw 2002

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