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December 23 2013

11:51

Druids And Celts From A Real ‘Middle Earth’

Hobbitmania returns, and we look at the real legacy of druids and celts in the “Middle Earth” of Iron Age Western Europe.

A druid watches the sunrise by the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge, in southern England, as access to the site is given to druids, New Age followers and members of the public on the annual Winter Solstice, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.

A druid watches the sunrise by the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge, in southern England, as access to the site is given to druids, New Age followers and members of the public on the annual Winter Solstice, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.

Guest

Graham Robb, British author and historian. Author of the “The Discovery Of Middle Earth: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts.” Also author of “The Discovery of France,” “Parisians: An Adventure History Of Paris,” “Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century” and several biographies.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Prospect: What did the Druids ever do for us? An interview with Graham Robb — “We tend to think of the efficient transmission of information as a feature of our own society. But one of the things that seems to have amazed the Romans is the way that the different [Celtic] tribes could form alliances at very short notice over huge distances.”

The Christian-Science Monitor: The Discovery Of Middle Earth — “At the heart of ‘The Discovery of Middle Earth’ is a profound meditation on the nature of knowledge itself: not just its discovery or intrinsic value, but also (and perhaps centrally) how susceptible it is to being lost or corrupted. The  Via Heraklea may be the example that Robb picks apart in detail, but other examples dance like flames throughout the pages of the book: the Antikythera Mechanism, a gear-driven mechanical ‘hand-held computer’ from the 2nd Century BC that acted as a complex calendar and navigation aid; the immense loss of ancient Druidic scholarship, which lived and eventually died through oral memory; and the burning of the Library of Alexandria, one of the great tragedies of the ancient world.”

Los Angeles Times: Graham Robb’s ‘Discovery of Middle Earth’ offers a new look at Celts — “Indeed, although the Druids were the learned elite of the ancient Celts, they are better known today as the inspiration for such flaky goings on as the gathering at Stonehenge of ersatz Druids in white robes celebrating the summer solstice. (Stonehenge actually antedates the Druids by millenniums.) They seem an odd subject for the critically praised biographer of Balzac, Hugo and Rimbaud, a historian whose previous works seldom look back further than the French Revolution.”

Read An Excerpt Of “The Discovery Of Middle Earth” By Graham Robb

August 23 2013

06:26

Correspondents Report - Archives - Sunday 11 August 2013

August 14 2012

04:23

JJGo! With Graham Linehan

As this space continues its role as a repository for JJGo! episodes with interesting guests.

March 15 2012

13:13

January 28 2012

02:08

The Struggle of Memory Against Forgetting - Hindsight - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Oral history has been part and parcel of the democratisation of history since the Second World War. Through interviews with historians from many different countries, and archival material from seminal oral history projects, we chart the international oral history movement, paying special attention to the role of oral history in Aboriginal historiography, and in post-Apartheid South Africa. Historians have always relied on oral history. Think of Homer and Thucydides and their reliance on eyewitness accounts and oral tradition. It was only in the 19th century when history as a discipline became professionalised, and historians started to think of their discipline as a 'science', that a total reliance on documentary sources developed. From the 1950s onwards, historians became interested again in personal testimony. In the US it was an archival project, an effort to get the reminiscences of 'movers and shakers' on the record, great men who were too busy to write their autobiographies. But in the UK and Europe, historians with a socialist ethos like Paul Thompson were keen to get the experiences of ordinary people on the record, in order to write 'history from below'. This impulse emerged from the inclusive social movements of the 1960s. In the decades since, oral history has been a democratising force in historical work, and a crucial means of achieving cultural and political recognition for marginalised groups. In countries with recent histories of trauma and political instability, oral history has urgent applications in restorative justice processes and national reconciliation. In 'The Struggle of Memory Against Forgetting', we explore some of these. Contributors include Inga Clendinnen, Paul Thompson, Peter Read, Heather Goodall, Sean Field and Bonnie Smith. Archival oral history material featured in the program relates to apartheid South Africa, the Stolen Generations in Australia, Aboriginal cattle drovers in the Northern Territory, British nuclear tests in South Australia, and working people in Edwardian England. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/hindsight/the-struggle-of-memory-against-forgetting/3658718
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