Cut-throat or cuddly - who were the Celts (not)?

Cut-throat or cuddly - who were the Celts (not)?

A memorial lecture commemorating the work of a pioneering Celticist from the North-east will examine the history of the Celtic nations and explore how modern and historical images of the Celts have developed.

Organised by the Celtic Department at the University of Aberdeen, the John Strachan Memorial Lecture, entitled Cut-throat or cuddly – Who were the Celts (not)? is being held in honour of John Strachan who was a leading Celticist. He was born in Keith and was a graduate of Classics at the University of Aberdeen.

The event is the first of its kind and will be delivered by Dr Bernhard Maier, Reader in Celtic at the University, on Thursday, May 12, at 5.00pm – 6.00pm in the King’s College Centre. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

From this year onwards, the topic of each John Strachan Memorial Lecture will cover the three main fields of research and teaching covered by the University’s Department of Celtic: Celtic Civilisation (this year), Gaelic Studies (2006) and Celtic Studies (2007).

This year’s lecture starts from the observation that the popular image of the Celts has always tended to change between the frightening and the attractive. As John Strachan was a Classicist as well as a Celticist, the lecture will explore the writings of the Greek and Roman authors, as well as modern imaginative depictions of the Celts based on these writings and archaeological evidence.

Dr Maier said he was looking forward to welcoming fellow scholars who are renowned for their work and research in their respective Celtic fields. He said: “The Celtic Department is delighted to be hosting this event in memory of one of the greatest Celtic scholars, not only of Scotland, but of the world.

“It demonstrates that the academic study of Celtic in all its aspects is as vigorous as ever at the University of Aberdeen.”

The event will be preceded by a seminar, which focuses on the life and work of John Strachan. There will be lectures by Professor emeritus Emrys Evans (John Strachan's biography), Professor Patrick O'Neill (John Strachan's Work on the Old Irish Glosses and Middle Irish), Dr Dagmar S. Wodtko (John Strachan's Work on Old Irish Grammar), Dr Brian Ó Catháin (John Strachan and the School of Irish Learning) and Dr Graham Isaac (John Strachan's work on Welsh).

Dr Maier was Professor of Comparative Religion in the University of Bonn and joined the University of Aberdeen in September 2004. His English books include Dictionary of Celtic Religion and Culture (1997) and The Celts: A history from earliest times to the present (2003).

To book a FREE place at the lecture - Cut-throat or cuddly – Who were the Celts (not)? – on Thursday, May 12, at 5.00pm, please contact (01224) 272625, langlit.school@abdn.ac.uk.

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