While planning a bicycling trip along the Heraklean Way, the ancient route from Portugal to the Alps, Graham Robb discovered a door to that forgotten world--a beautiful and precise pattern of towns and holy places based on astronomical and geometrical measurements: this was the three-dimensional "Middle Earth" of the Celts. As coordinates and coincidences revealed themselves across the continent, a map of the Celtic world emerged as a miraculously preserved archival document.
Robb--"one of the more unusual and appealing historians currently striding the planet" (New York Times)--here reveals the ancient secrets of the Celts, demonstrates the lasting influence of Druid science, and recharts the exploration of the world and the spread of Christianity. A pioneering history grounded in a real-life historical treasure hunt, The Discovery of Middle Earth offers nothing less than an entirely new understanding of the birth of modern Europe.
- ISBN-13: 9780393081633
- ISBN-10: 039308163X
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Publish Date: November 2013
- Page Count: 387
- Dimensions: 9.39 x 6.4 x 1.32 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.63 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-08-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Presenting one of the most astonishing, significant discoveries in recent memory, Robb, winner of the Duff Cooper Prize and Ondaatje Award for The Discovery of France, upends nearly everything we believe about the history—or, as he calls it, “protohistory”—of early Europe and its barbarous Celtic tribes and semimythical Druids. Popularly dismissed as superstitious, wizarding hermits, Robb demonstrates how the Druids were perhaps the most intellectually advanced thinkers of their age: scientists and mathematicians who, through an intimate knowledge of “solstice lines,” organized their towns and cities to mirror the paths of their Sun god, in turn creating “the earliest accurate map of the world.” In his characteristically approachable yet erudite manner, Robb examines how this network came to be and also how it vanished, trampled over by a belligerent Rome, which has previously received credit for civilizing Europe—though in Robb’s account, Caesar, at the helm, appears dim, unwitting, and frankly lucky, and the (often literally) deeply buried Celtic beliefs and innovations seem more relevant in modern Europe than previously assumed. Like the vast and intricate geographical latticework that Robb has uncovered, the book unfurls its secrets in an eerie, magnificent way—a remarkable, mesmerizing, and bottomless work. 50 illus. Agent: Gill Coleridge, Rogers Coleridge & White (U.K.). (Nov.)