CCIV10010 Introduction to Celtic Civilization

Academic Year 2023/2024

Students will need a laptop and Wifi connection to participate fully in this module.

This introductory module provides students with an overview of the origins, languages, literatures and mythologies of the Celts from prehistoric to medieval times. It forms a solid foundation from which students can progress to study the legacy of the Celts in greater detail at stages 2 and 3.

The first half of the module begins with a survey of the main periods of Celtic archaeology and then considers how the Celts were portrayed by Classical Greek and Roman authors, our only written sources for the history of ancient Celtic Europe. Following this, English translations of legal and historical texts composed in Ireland from the seventh century onwards are drawn upon to build up a picture of life in the medieval Celtic world, considering topics such as the structure of early Irish society and the role of women.

In the second half of the module, students will be introduced to the main genres of early Irish literature. This rich tradition will complement insights gained in the first half of the module. Students will focus on reading texts within the contemporary medieval context and will become familiar with the diversity of the early Irish literary tradition. The module will also address recent scholarship in relation to the interpretation of the relevant literature.

Following an examination of approaches and sources, the module will focus on selected genres. One approach categorises the literature into four main sections. These are: The Ulster Cycle, the Mythological Cycle, the Fenian Cycle and the Cycle of the Kings. Students will also examine particular tale types involving voyages, death, love and other central themes.

All texts will be read in translation, supported by critical reading, and no previous knowledge of a Celtic language is required. Beginners’ modules in medieval Irish and Welsh are also available for those wishing to study the languages of the primary sources.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. outline the sweep of Celtic civilization on the continent and Ireland
2. assess the nature of source material, its value, biases and deficiencies
3. follow the transformation of themes and stories in the insular literary tradition

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Learning will take the form of structured lectures and tutorials supported by online resources. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Assignment 3 Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Assignment: Assignment 2 Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Assignment 1 Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Written feedback provided post assessment.

Name Role
Dr Jaqueline Bemmer Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Kelly Fitzgerald Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Allison Galbari Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Fangzhe Qiu Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Joseph Simpson Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: Weeks 2-12 Mon 12:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: Weeks 2-12 Wed 11:00 - 11:50
Tutorial Offering 2 Week(s) - Autumn: Weeks 2-12 Tues 15:00 - 15:50
Tutorial Offering 3 Week(s) - Autumn: Weeks 2-12 Tues 14:00 - 14:50
Tutorial Offering 5 Week(s) - Autumn: Weeks 2-12 Tues 12:00 - 12:50