John T. Koch

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Professor John T. Koch is an American academic, historian and linguist who specializes in Celtic studies, especially prehistory and the early Middle Ages.[1]

He is a graduate of Harvard University, where he was awarded the degrees of A.M. and Ph.D. in Celtic Languages and Literatures in 1983 and 1985 respectively. In addition, he has also pursued studies at Jesus College, Oxford, and the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.[1] He has taught Celtic Studies at Harvard University and Boston College.[1]

Since 1998, he has been senior research fellow or Reader at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, where he has supervised a research project focusing on Celtic Languages and Cultural Identity.[1] One of the offshoots of this project is the publication An Atlas for Celtic studies (2007).

He has published widely on aspects of early Irish and Welsh language, literature and history. His works include The Celtic Heroic Age (first published in 1994, 4th edition in 2003), in collaboration with John Carey; The Gododdin of Aneirin (1997), an edition, translation and discussion of the early Welsh poem Y Gododdin; and numerous articles published in books and journals. A grammar of Old Welsh and a book on the historical Taliesin are in the works.[1]

In 2007, John Koch received a personal chair at the University of Wales.[2]

Koch supervises (as Senior Fellow and Project Leader) the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies Ancient Britain and the Atlantic Zone Project (Ireland, Armorica, and the Iberian Peninsula).[3] In 2008, Professor Koch gave the O'Donnell Lecture at Aberystwyth University titled People called Keltoi, the La Tène Style, and ancient Celtic languages: the threefold Celts in the light of geography.[4][5] In 2009, Professor Koch published a paper Tartessian: Celtic from the Southwest at the Dawn of History detailing how the Tartessian language may have been the earliest directly arrested Celtic language with the Tartessian written script used in the inscriptions based on a version of a Phoenician script in use around 825 BC.[6]


  • An Atlas for Celtic Studies: Archaeology and Names in Ancient Europe and Early Medieval Ireland, Britain, and Brittany (Oxford: Oxbow: 2007)
  • Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia (5 vols., Santa Barbara and Oxford: ABC-Clio, 2006), pp. xxviii + 2128. ISBN (print) 1–85109–440–7, (e-book) 1–85109–445–8
  • "Why Was Welsh Literature First Written Down?" In Medieval Celtic Literature and Society, ed. H. Fulton (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2005), 15–31. ISBN 1-85182-928-8
  • "De sancto Iudicaelo rege Historia and Its Implications for the Welsh Taliesin", in Heroic Poets and Poetic Heroes in Celtic Tradition: A Festschrift for Patrick K. Ford, eds. Joseph Falaky Nagy and Leslie Ellen Jones, CSANA Yearbook 3–4 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2005).
  • "Celts, Britons, and Gaels – Names, Peoples, and Identities", Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion NS 9 (2003)
  • "Some Thoughts on Ethnic Identity, Cultural Pluralism, and the Future of Celtic Studies", in Retrospect and Prospect in Celtic Studies: Proc. 11th International Congress of Celtic Studies 25–31 July 1999, eds. M. Herbert and K. Murray (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2003. ISBN 1-85182-770-6
  • "Marwnad Cunedda a Diwedd y Brydain Rufeinig [‘The elegy of Cunedda’ and the end of Roman Britain]", in Yr Hen Iaith: Studies in Early Welsh Language before 1500, ed. Paul Russell (Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2003). ISBN 1-891271-10-5
  • "The Early Chronology for St Patrick (c.351–c.428): Some New Ideas and Possibilities", in Celtic Hagiography and Saints' Cults, ed. Jane Cartwright (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2003)
  • "Celtoscepticism: Some Intellectual Sources and Ideological Implications", Indo-European Studies Bulletin 9.2 (2001)
  • (co-editor), The Inscriptions of Early Medieval Brittany - Les inscriptions de la Bretagne du Haut Moyen Âge (Aberystwyth, 2000)
  • "On the Origins of the Old Irish Terms Goídil and Goídelc", in Origins and Revivals: Proceedings of the First Australian Conference of Celtic Studies, eds. G. Evans, B. K. Martin and J. W. Wooding, Sydney Series in Celtic Studies 3 (Sydney: Centre for Celtic Studies, University of Sydney, 2000). ISBN 1-86487-380-9, 3–16.
  • "Ovania and /wu-/, /wo-/ < Celtic /wo-/, /we-/ (,/wi-/) in Pictish", in Kings, Clerics and Chronicles in Scotland, 500–1297: Essays in honour of Marjorie Ogilvie Anderson on the occasion of her ninetieth birthday, ed. Simon Taylor (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2000)
  • "Fled Bricrenn in its Broader Celtic Context", in Fled Bricrenn: Reassessments, ed. Pádraig ÓRiain, Irish Texts Society Subsidiary Series 10 (Dublin, 2000)
  • "The Place of Y Gododdin in the History of Scotland", in Celtic Connections: Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Celtic Studies, Vol. 1. Language, Literature, History, Culture, ed. R.Black, W. Gillies, R. Ó Maolalaigh (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 1999)
  • "A Swallowed Onomastic Tale in Cath Maige Mucrama?", in Ildánach Ildírech: A Festschrift for Proinsias MacCana (1999), pp. 63–80.
  • The Gododdin of Aneirin: Texts and Context from Dark-Age North Britain (Historical Introduction, Reconstructed Text, Translation, Notes) (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1997) curity and the Figure of Taliesin’, Medievalia, XIX (1996 [for 1993])
  • "Some Thoughts on the Gaulish Inscription from Larzac", in Die grösseren altkeltischen Sprachdenkmäler, Akten des Kolloquiums Innsbruck 29 April–3 Mai 1993, eds. W. Meid, P. Anreiter (Innsbruck, 1996)
  • "When a Seanchaidhe is not a Seanchaidhe and a Paddy is not a Paddy" [essay on Erskine Nicol’s painting The Seanchaidhe], in America’s Eye: Essay’s on the Irish Paintings in the Collection of Brian Burns, ed. A. Dalsimer and V. Kreilkamp (Boston, 1996)
  • "The Celtic Lands" in Medieval Arthurian Literature: A Guide to Recent Research, ed. N. Lacy (New York, 1996)
  • "Further Thoughts on Indo-European gwhin Celtic", in Hispano-Gallo-Brittonica: Essays in honour of D. E. Evans on his sixty-fifth birthday, eds. J. F. Eska, R. Geraint Gruffydd, Nicolas Jacobs (Cardiff and Dublin, 1995)
  • "The Conversion of Ireland and the Emergence of the Old Irish Language, AD 367–637", Emania 13 (1995), 39–50
  • "Windows on the Iron Age, 1964–1994", in Ulidia: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales, eds. J. P. Mallory and G. Stockmon (Belfast, 1994)
  • "Thoughts on the Ur-Gododin: Rethinking Aneirin and Mynydawc Mwynvawr", Language Sciences 15.2 (1993)
  • "Gallo-Brittonic Tasc(i)ouanos "Badger-slayer" and the Reflex of Indo-European *gwh", Journal of Celtic Linguistics 1 (1992)
  • "Gallo-Brittonic vs. Insular Celtic: The Interrelationships of the Celtic Languages Reconsidered", in Bretagne et pays celtiques – langues, histoire, civilisation: Mélanges offerts à la mémoire de Léon Fleuriot, eds. GW. Le Menn, J.-Y. Le Moing (Saint-Brieuc and Rennes, 1992)
  • "Further to tongu do dia toinges mo thuath [“I swear to the god to whom my tribe swears”], &c.", Études celtiques 29 (1992) 249–61
  • "On the Prehistory of Brittonic Syntax", in Studies in Brythonic Word Order, eds. J. Fife and E. Poppe, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory lxxxiii (Amsterdam, 1991)
  • "Ériu, Alba, Letha: When Was a Language Ancestral to Gaelic First Spoken in Ireland?", Emania 9 (1991 [‘Focus on the Origins of the Irish’])
  • "Gleanings from the Gododdin and Other Early Welsh Texts", Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 38 (1991)
  • "Thoughts On Celtic Philology and Philologists", Comparative Literature Studies 27.1 (1990)
  • "Cothairche, Esposito’s Theory, and Neo-Celtic Lenition" [re. the historical St. Patrick], in Britain 400–600: Language and History, eds. A. Bammesberger, A. Wollmann (Heidelberg, 1990)
  • "Brân, Brennos: An Instance of Early Gallo-Brittonic History and Mythology", Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 20 (winter 1990)
  • "Some Etymologies Reflecting on the Mythology in the Mabinogi", Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 9 (1990)
  • "Neo-Brittonic Spirants from Old Celtic Geminates", Ériu 40 (1989)
  • "The Cynfeirdd Poetry and the Language of the Sixth Century", in Early Welsh Poetry: Studies in the Book of Aneirin, ed. Brynley F. Roberts (Aberystwyth; National Library of Wales, 1988)
  • "Prosody and the Old Celtic Verbal Complex", Ériu 38 (1987)
  • "llawr en assed: the Laureate Hero in the War-chariot (C[anu] A[neirin] 932): Some Recollections of the Iron Age in the Gododdin", Études celtiques 24 (1987)
  • "A Welsh Window on the Iron Age: Manawydan, Mandubracios", Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 14 (Winter, 1987)
  • "New Thoughts on Albion, Ierne, and the “Pretanic Isles”: Part I" [on the oldest names for Britain and Ireland], Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 6-7 (1986–87)
  • "When Was Welsh Literature First Written Down?", Studia Celtica 20-21 (1985–86)
  • "Emphasis and Movement in Gaulish", Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 32 (1985)
  • "gwydanhor, gwydyanhawr, clywanhor", Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 31 (1984)
  • "The Sentence in Gaulish", Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 3 (1983)
  • "Mor Terwyn", Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 30.3–4 (1983)
  • "The Loss of Final Syllables and Loss of Declen sion in Brittonic", Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 30.3–4 (1983)
  • "Gaulish eti-c, eqqi-c < Indo-European *esti-kwe?", Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 2 (1982)
  • "The Loss of Final Syllables and Loss of Declension in Brittonic", Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 1 (1981)
  • "The Stone of the Weni-kones [= maen gwynngwn (CA 83)]", Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 39.1 (1980)


  1. ^ a b c d e John T. Koch, ed. (2006). "About the editor". Celtic Culture. A Historical Encyclopedia. 5 volumes. Santa Barbara, Denver and Oxford: ABC Clio. 
  2. ^ Personal webpage, University of Wales.
  3. ^ "Ancient Britain and the Atlantic Zone Project, University of Wales.". Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "O'Donnell Lecture 2008 Appendix". 
  6. ^ Koch, John (2009). Tartessian: Celtic from the Southwest at the Dawn of History in Acta Palaeohispanica X Palaeohispanica 9 (2009). Aberystwyth. pp. 339–351. ISSN 1578-5386. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 

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