Celtic studies

Celtic studies

Celtic Studies is the academic discipline occupied with the study of any sort of cultural output relating to a Celtic people. This ranges from archaeology to history, the focus lying on the study of the various Celtic languages, living and extinct. The primary areas of focus are the six Celtic languages which still survive, or have only recently become extinct: Irish, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Cornish and on the continent, Breton. Many consider the Celtic languages to be the least studied surviving branch of the Indo-European language family. The field has at this time barely been surveyed; this is due to the small number of trained experts.Fact|date=September 2007 Thus it is possible for relatively inexperienced scholars to make a significant contribution.

As a university subject, it is taught at a number of universities worldwide, most of them, obviously, in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and Brittany. Some universities in the US, Canada, Germany, Poland, Austria and The Netherlands offer courses as well.


Celtic Studies as an academic subject grew out of comparative and historical linguistics, which was itself established at the end of the 18th century. Long before this various authors, such as Julius Caesar. had commented on the Celtic languages. In the 16th century George Buchanan studied Gaelic, while around 1700 Edward Lhuyd compared the various Insular Celtic languages and published the English version of a study by Paul-Yves Pezron of Gaulish. In 1767 James Parsons published his study "The Remains of Japhet, being historical enquiries into the affinity and origins of the European languages". He compared a 1000 word lexicon of Irish and Welsh and concluded that they were originally the same, then comparing the numerals in many other languages.

The Englishman William Jones famously postulated that there existed some ancient connection between Latin, Greek and Sanskrit in 1786. This would later be hailed as the discovery of the Indo-European language family, from which grew the field of Indo-European studies. The Celtic languages were definitively linked to the Indo-European family over the course of the 19th century.

Celtic Studies in the German speaking world

German Celtic Studies (Keltologie) is seen by many as having been established by Johann Kaspar Zeuss (1806-1856). His monumental work "Grammatica Celtica" (volume 1, 1851; volume 2, 1853), composed in Latin, used Old Irish and Middle Welsh material to make plausible the connection of the Celtic languages to the Indo-European language family. In the creation of his work, Zeuss undertook a monumental study of numerous primary sources that had been neglected until that time. In 1847, he was appointed as a professor of linguistics in Munich.

Until the middle of the 19th century, Celtic Studies progressed largely as a subfield of linguistics. Franz Bopp (1791-1867) carried out further studies in comparative linguistics to link the Celtic languages to the Proto-Indo-European language. He is credited with having finally proven Celtic to be a branch of the Indo-European language family. From 1821 to 1864, he served as a professor of oriental literature and general linguistics in Berlin.

In the second half of the century, significant contributions were made by the Orientalist Ernst Windisch (1844-1918). He held a chair in Sanskrit at the University of Leipzig, however is most remembered for his numerous publications in the field of Celtic studies. In 1901, the Orientalist and Celtologist Heinrich Zimmer (1851-1910) was made professor of Celtic languages at Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin, the first position of its kind in Germany. He was followed in 1911 by Kuno Meyer (1858-1919), who, in addition to numerous publications in the field, was active in the Irish independence movement.

Perhaps the most important German speaking celticist is the Swiss scholar Rudolf Thurneysen (1857-1940). A student of Windisch and Zimmer, Thurneysen was appointed to the chair of comparative linguistics at Freiberg in 1887; the succeeded to the equivalent chair in Bonn in 1913. His notability arises from his work on Old Irish. For his masterwork, "Handbuch des Altirischen" (1909, meaning "Handbook of Old Irish"), translated into English as "A Grammar of Old Irish", he located and analysed a multitude of Old Irish manuscripts. His work is considered as the basis for all succeeding studies of Old Irish.

In 1920, Julius Pokorny (1887-1970) was appointed to the chair of Celtic languages at Berlin. Despite his support for German nationalism and Catholic faith, he was forced out of his position by the Nazis on account of his Jewish ancestry. He subsequently emigrated to Switzerland and returned to Germany again in 1955 to teach at Munich. In Berlin, he was succeeded in 1937 by Ludwig Mühlhausen, a devout Nazi.

After the Second World War, German Celtic studies took place predominantly in West Germany and Austria. Studies in the field continued at Freiburg, Bonn, Marburg, Hamburg as well as Innsbruck, however an independent professorship for Celtic studies has not yet been arranged anywhere. In this period, Hans Hartmann, Heinrich Wagner and Wolfgang Meid made notable contributions to the scientific understanding of the boundaries of the Celtic language area and the location of the homeland of the Celtic peoples. In the GDR, the Berlin chair in Celtic languages has not been occupied since 1966.

Today, Celtic Studies is only taught at a handful of German universities. Only Marburg, Vienna and Bonn maintain formal programs of study, however even then as a subsection of comparative or general linguistics. No Celtic studies research has taken place in the former centres of Freiberg, Hamburg or Berlin since the 1990s. The last remaining chair in Celtic studies, that at Humboldt University in Berlin, was abolished in 1997.

Celtic Studies in the British Isles

Celtic Studies are taught in universities in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland (see below). These studies cover language, history, archaeology and art. In addition Celtic languages are taught in schools in Wales, Scotland and Ireland while courses are run extramurally in Cornish and Manx.

A notable research project is CISP, the Celtic Inscribed Stones Project, which has made details of the many inscriptions in Britain available on line. Work has also been carried out on the Celtic influence on the English language and on the Celtic elements in the place names of England. Books and publications on aspects of Celtic Studies are numerous, a notable one being that of Kenneth H. Jackson on "Language and History in Early Britain". This included chapters on all the types of Insular Celtic, including Pictish. Several journals on Celtic Studies are published including "Celtica" and "Studia Celtica".

Sir John Rhys became the first Professor of Celtic Studies at Oxford in 1874. Henry Jenner was the initiator of the revival of Cornish while Robert Morton Nance had founded the Old Cornwall Society and Goreth Kernow in 1828.

Celtic Studies in North America

While Celtic studies programs in Canada are not as wide spread as they are in the British Isles several universities offer some Celtic studies courses (such as St. Francis Xavier University), while only two universities offers a full B.A. as well as graduate courses. St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto and St. Francis Xavier Universityoffers the only B.A. of its kind in Canada with a dual focus on Celtic literature and history, while the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto offers courses at a graduate level through their Centre for Medieval Studies, along with St. Francis Xavier University.

In the United States Harvard University is notable for their Doctorate program in Celtic studies.

Celtic Studies in the rest of the world

Areas of Celtic Studies

* Archaeology
* (historical) Linguistics
* Ethnology
* History
* Literature
* Religious Studies (see Celtic Christianity)
* Political Science

Notable Celticists

*Osborn Bergin (1873-1950)
*D. A. Binchy
*Nora Chadwick
*Ann Dooley
*Thomas Charles-Edwards
*Peter Berresford Ellis (1943-)
*Ellis Evans (1930-)
*Robin Flower (1881-1946)
*Sir Idris Foster (1911-1984)
*John Fraser (1882-1945)
*Richard Gendall
*Ken George
*R. Geraint Gruffydd
*Kathleen Hughes
*Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson (1909-1991)
*Henry Jenner (1848-1934)
*Bobi Jones (1929-)
*Breandan O. Madagain (1942-)
*Ranko Matasović
*Kuno Meyer (1858-1919)
*John Morris-Jones (1864-1929)
*Robert Morton Nance (1873-1959)
*Cecile O'Rahilly (1894-1980)
*T. F. O'Rahilly (1883-1953)
*Julius Pokorny (1887-1970)
*Sir John Rhys (1840-1915)
*Ailbhe Mac Shamhráin
*Thomas Taylor (1858-1938)
*Rudolf Thurneysen (1857-1940)
*Calvert Watkins
*Glanmor Williams
*Sir Ifor Williams (1881-1965)
*Nicholas Williams (1942-)
*Ernst Windisch (1844-1918)
*Johann Kaspar Zeuss (1806-1856)
*Heinrich Zimmer (1851-1910)


*"Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie", est. 1897, Halle.
*"Revue Celtique", est. 1870, Paris.
*"Ériu" est. 1904, Dublin.
*"The Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies", est. 1921, Cardiff; merged with "Studia Celtica" in 1993.
*"Etudes Celtiques", est. 1936, Paris.
*"Celtica. Journal of the School of Celtic Studies", est. 1949, Dublin.
*"Studia Celtica", est. 1966, Cardiff.
*"Studia Celtica Japonica", est. 1988.
*"Journal of Celtic Linguistics", est. 1992, Cardiff.
*"Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies", est. 1993, Aberystwyth; formerly "Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies".
*"Cornish Studies", est. 1993, Tremough.
*"Keltische Forschungen", est. 2006, Vienna.

Institutions offering courses in Celtic Studies



*University of Vienna ( [http://www.univie.ac.at/keltologie/ Celtic Studies] de icon)

Czeach Republic

*Charles University in Prague ( [http://uaa.ff.cuni.cz/index.php?ur1=4&ur2=5&ur3=0&sab=103&design=45 Centre for Irish Studies] )


*University of Aarhus ( [http://www.hum.au.dk/engelsk/cisa/en/ Centre for Irish Studies] )


*Bath Spa University ( [http://www.bathspa.ac.uk/schools/historical-and-cultural-studies/irish-studies/ Irish Studies] )
*St Mary's University College, Twickenham ( [http://www.smuc.ac.uk/Courses/Undergraduate/Irish-studies/index.htm Irish Studies] )
*University of Bradford ( [http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/diaspora/ Irish Diaspora Studies] )
*University of Cambridge ( [http://www.asnc.cam.ac.uk/ Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic] )
*University of Exeter ( [http://www.ex.ac.uk/cornwall/academic_departments/huss/ics/ Institute of Cornish Studies] )
*University of Liverpool ( [http://www.liv.ac.uk/irish/index.htm Institute of Irish Studies] )
*University of Oxford ( [http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/celtic/ Celtic] )


*University of Caen Lower Normandy ( [http://www.unicaen.fr/mrsh/irlandais/ The Centre for Research in Irish Studies] fr icon)
*University of Rennes 2 - Upper Brittany ( [http://www.uhb.fr/langues/CEI/ Irish Studies Centre] fr icon)
*University of Western Brittany ( [http://www.univ-brest.fr/index.php?page=affiche_formation&class=formation&object=formation405029dcc968a Breton and Celtic] fr icon)


*Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz ( [http://www.fask.uni-mainz.de/inst/ssc/ssc.html Scottish Studies Centre] )
*Philipps University of Marburg ( [http://www.uni-marburg.de/studium/studgang/ki/ki10sprawikel-mag-pr.pdf Celtic Studies prospectus] de icon)
*University of Bonn ( [http://www.keltologie.uni-bonn.de/ Celtic Studies at the University of Bonn] de icon)


*Dublin City University ( [http://www.dcu.ie/fiontar/index_english.shtml Fiontar] )
*Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies ( [http://www.celt.dias.ie/english/ School of Celtic Studies] )
*National University of Ireland, Galway ( [http://www.nuigalway.ie/celtic_studies/ Faculty of Celtic Studies] )
*National University of Ireland, Maynooth ( [http://nuaghaeilge.nuim.ie/ Department of Modern Irish in the Faculty of Celtic Studies] )
*Trinity College, Dublin ( [http://www.tcd.ie/Irish/ School of Irish and Celtic Languages] )
*University College Cork ( [http://www.ucc.ie/faculties/celtic/indexbearla.html Faculty of Celtic Studies] )
*University College Dublin ( [http://www.ucd.ie/icsifl/index.html School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore and Linguistics] )
*University of Limerick ( [http://www.ul.ie/~lcs/category/sections/irish-section/ Irish Section of the Department of Languages and Cultural Studies] )

The Netherlands

*Utrecht University ( [http://www.studiekiezers.nl/index.cfm/site/Bachelor/pageid/7FA92CFA-3048-275E-60320C3BA32459CB/index.cfm Celtic Languages and Cultures] nl icon)

Northern Ireland

*Queen's University Belfast ( [http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofLanguagesLiteraturesandPerformingArts/SubjectAreas/IrishandCelticStudies/ Irish and Celtic Studies] )
*University of Ulster ( [http://www.arts.ulster.ac.uk/lanlit/irish/ Irish Courses] )


*University of Poznań ( [http://ifa.amu.edu.pl/~celticstudies/ Department of Celctic Languages and Literatures] )


*Moscow State University ( [http://www.philol.msu.ru/rus/kaf/germphil/2.htm Department of Germanic and Celtic Linguistics] ru icon)


*Sabhal Mòr Ostaig ( [http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/beurla/ Official Site] )
*University of Aberdeen ( [http://www.abdn.ac.uk/celtic/ Celtic] )
*University of Edinburgh ( [http://www.celtscot.ed.ac.uk/ Celtic and Scottish Studies] )
*University of Glasgow ( [http://www.gla.ac.uk/departments/celtic/index.htm Celtic Studies] ), Association for Scottish Literary Studies


*University of Burgos ( [http://www2.ubu.es/filo/filoing/marcoprincipal.htm The Spanish Association for Irish Studies] es icon)


*Dalarna University College ( [http://www.du.se/Templates/InfoPage____1281.aspx?epslanguage=EN Centre for Irish Studies] )
*Uppsala University ( [http://www.uu.se/Adresser/HL2_1.html The Celtic Section at Uppsala] sv icon)


*Aberystwyth University ( [http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/prospectus/courses/welsh-celtic.php Welsh/Cymraeg, Celtic Studies and Irish] )
*Bangor University ( [http://www.bangor.ac.uk/courses/undergrad/index.php.en?view=course&prospectustype=undergraduate&courseid=287&subjectarea=11 Cymraeg] cy icon)
*Cardiff University ( [http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/cymraeg/ School of Welsh] )
*Swansea University ( [http://www.swan.ac.uk/cymraeg/ Cymraeg] cy icon)
*Trinity College, Carmarthen ( [http://www.trinity-cm.ac.uk/english/prospectus/ug/courses/welshbilingualpractice.asp Welsh and Bilingual Practice in Early Years] )
*University of Glamorgan ( [http://www.welshlearners.org.uk/ Welsh for Adults Centre] )
*University of Wales ( [http://www.wales.ac.uk/cawcs Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies] )
*University of Wales, Lampeter ( [http://welsh.lamp.ac.uk/Department/English/index.php Department of Welsh] )

North America


*Cape Breton University ( [http://www.cbu.ca/cbu/_main/default_main.asp?topic=programs&id=celtic_studies&menu=School%20of%20Arts%20and%20Community%20Studies Celtic Studies] )
*Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts ( [http://www.gaeliccollege.edu/ Official Site] )
*Saint Mary's University, Halifax ( [http://www.smu.ca/academic/arts/irish/ Irish Studies] )
*Simon Fraser University ( [http://www.sfu.ca/scottish/ Centre for Scottish Studies] )
*St. Francis Xavier University ( [http://www.stfx.ca/academic/celtic-studies/index.html Celtic Studies] )
*University of Guelph ( [http://www.uoguelph.ca/scottish/ Scottish Studies] )
*University of Ottawa ( [http://www.modernlanguages.uottawa.ca/celtic.html Chair of Celtic Studies] )
*University of Toronto ( [http://www.utoronto.ca/stmikes/celticstudies/ Celtic Studies] )

United States

*Bard College ( [http://www.bard.edu/academics/programs/programs.php?id=964490&pid=770 Irish and Celtic Studies] )
*Boston College ( [http://www.bc.edu/centers/irish/studies/ Irish Studies] )
*The Catholic University of America ( [http://arts-sciences.cua.edu/irish/ Irish Studies] )
*Emory University ( [http://www.irishstudies.emory.edu/ Irish Studies Program] )
*Evergreen State College ( [http://www2.evergreen.edu/ireland/ Irish Studies] )
*Fairfield University ( [http://www.fairfield.edu/x3459.html Program in Irish Studies] )
*Fordham University ( [http://www.fordham.edu/Academics/Programs_at_Fordham_/irish_studies/index.shtml Institute of Irish Studies] )
*Georgia Southern University ( [http://class.georgiasouthern.edu/irish/ Center for Irish Studies] )
*Harvard University ( [http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~celtic/ Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures] )
*Loyola Marymount University ( [http://bellarmine.lmu.edu/irishstudies/ Irish Studies] )
*New College of California ( [http://www.newcollege.edu/irishstudies/ Irish Studies] )
*New York University ( [http://irelandhouse.fas.nyu.edu/page/home Glucksman Ireland House] )
*Queens College, City University of New York ( [http://www.qc.cuny.edu/academics/irish_studies.php Irish Studies] )
*Saint Ambrose University ( [http://web.sau.edu/irishstudies/ Irish Studies] )
*Southern Illinois University Carbondale ( [http://www.siu.edu/~ireland/ Irish and Irish Immigration Studies] )
*University of California, Berkeley ( [http://ls.berkeley.edu/dept/celtic/ Celtic Studies] )
*University of California, Los Angeles ( [http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/celtic/ Celtic Studies] )
*University of Notre Dame ( [http://www.nd.edu/~irishstu/ Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies] )
*University of Rio Grande ( [http://madog.rio.edu/ Madoc Center for Welsh Studies] )
*University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) ( [http://www.stthomas.edu/irishstudies/ Center for Irish Studies] )
*University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ( [http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/celtic/ Center for Celtic Studies] )



*Murdoch University ( [http://wwwsoc.murdoch.edu.au/cfis/index.html Centre for Irish Studies] )
*University of Sydney ( [http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/foundations/CSFoundation/ Celtic Studies Foundation] )
*Australian Institute Of Celtic Studies ( [http://www.celticstudies.com.au/] )

New Zealand

*University of Otago ( [http://www.otago.ac.nz/irish_studies/ Irish Studies] )
*Victoria University of Wellington ( [http://www.victoria.ac.nz/stout-centre/research-units/issp/index.aspx Irish-Scottish Studies] )

ee also

External links

* Finding the Celtic project ( [http://celtic.ibiblio.org/ FtC] )

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