THE BATTLE-AX PEOPLE by Olivia Vlahos

THE BATTLE-AX PEOPLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A staggering undertaking which condenses about 5000 years of Indo-European language groups"" history and prehistory into 200 pages. Tracing nomadic and military migrations through gods, graves and archaeological excavations in an idiomatic English her Bell Beaker and Battle-ax predecessors never knew, the author dashes to the north Caucasus for a (questionable) starting point, then speeds through part of India, back into the Turkish peninsula, Europe, England, and Ireland. Wave after wave of ax-burying peoples, usually on horseback, meet city folk and either shake hands or come out fighting. The author is at her best when making use of archaeological procedures to piece together evidence for, say, indoor plumbing in Crete, less reliable in digging up linguistic roots to suggest common origins rather than cultural cross-pollinations. Necessarily, there are oversimplifications (in Rome ""the Greek pantheon was adopted wholesale"") and hyperboles (the Greek philosophers ""said it all and said it best"") but these are used to gain time and the result is no hatchet job. Battle-axiomatics for anthropology buffs.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1968
Publisher: Viking