The Venerable Bede … the conversion of Ethelbert and Bertha of Kent … the peregrinations of St Brendan and St Columba … the Five Kingdoms of Early Mediaeval Wales … John Knox and his parleys with Mary, Queen of Scots. If you grew up anywhere in the British Isles, you’ll probably have found these some of the most yawnsome passages of national history, at least the way they were taught.
Not the way Gevorg Virats tells them, though. I seized the opportunity of being with him in Odessa last week to record this podcast on the legacy of the Celts—as viewed by a denizen of the far-off Caucasus who plunged into the study of these peoples as he saw the supposedly immovable pillars of his boyhood years, the Soviet Union and Anglo-American world hegemony, collapsing about his ears.
Learn from Gevorg what it is about Europe’s North Atlantic fringe that has allowed its peoples to survive everything that the last couple of millennia has managed to throw at them, from Rome to globalism.
Alex Thomson, Eastern Approaches
* * *