Beyond the Aegean, some of the earliest written records of Europe come from the south-west, what is now southern Portugal and south-west Spain. Herodotus, the 'Father of History', locates the Keltoi or 'Celts' in this region, as neighbours of the Kunetes of the Algarve. He calls the latter the 'westernmost people of Europe'. However, modern scholars have been disinclined - until recently - to consider the possibility that the south-western inscriptions and other early linguistic evidence from the kingdom of Tartessos were Celtic. This book shows how much of this material closely resembles the attested Celtic languages: Celtiberian (spoken in east-central Spain) and Gaulish, as well as the longer surviving langiages of Ireland, Britain and Brittany. In many cases, the 85 Tartessian inscriptions of the period c. 750-c. 450 BC can now be read as complete statements written in an Ancient Celtic language.
Professor John Koch is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, University of Wales. His interests include the languages, literatures, and civilizations of the early Celtic peoples from prehistory through the early Middle Ages. His works have developed original ideas in such fields as the earliest Welsh poetry, the Mabinogi, Continental Celtic, Irish saga literature, St Patrick, the classical authors' descriptions of the ancient Celts, and Bronze Age and Iron Age archaeology. He is the author of groundbreaking volumes, such as The Gododdin of Aneirin and The Celtic Heroic Age , has co-authored major innovative works, such as The Inscriptions of Early Medieval Brittany , and has contributed widely to international volumes and journals. He is the co-editor of all three Celtic from the West volumes.