Professor John T. Koch MA, PhD, FLSW

Position: Senior Fellow and Project Leader, Ancient Britain and the Atlantic Zone Project
Tel.: 01970 636543
Fax: 01970 639090
Postal address:

Professor John T. Koch,
University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies,
National Library of Wales,
SY23 3HH

A graduate of Harvard University, where he set out on his substantial academic career in Celtic Languages and Literatures and also began to work as a publisher, Professor John Koch has been a senior research fellow at the Centre since 1998. His interests include the languages, literatures, and civilizations of the early Celtic peoples from prehistory through the early Middle Ages. His works have developed original ideas in such fields as the earliest Welsh poetry, the Mabinogi, Continental Celtic, Irish saga literature, St Patrick, the classical authors’ descriptions of the ancient Celts, and Bronze Age and Iron Age archaeology. He is the author of groundbreaking volumes, such as The Gododdin of Aneirin and The Celtic Heroic Age , has co-authored major innovative works, such as The Inscriptions of Early Medieval Brittany , and has contributed widely to international volumes and journals. The fruits of his most recent interdisciplinary project include the acclaimed five-volume Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia and An Atlas for Celtic Studies , both of which he not only edited and co-authored, but also designed. In 2007 the University of Wales awarded him a personal chair.


Selected Publications:

Tartessian: Celtic in the South-west at the Dawn of History (Aberystwyth, 2009), xii + 173pp.

An Atlas for Celtic Studies: Archaeology and Names in Ancient Europe and Early Medieval Ireland, Britain, and Brittany (Oxford: Oxbow: 2007), 224pp.

editor and principal contributing author, 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), pp. 247–62.

series editor, Francesco Benozzo, Landscape Perception in Early Celtic Literature , Celtic Studies Publications VIII (Aberystwyth, 2004), xvi + 274pp.

series editor, John Carey, Máire Herbert, and Kevin Murray (eds.), Cín Chille Cúile: Texts, Saints, and Places – Essays in Honour of Pádraig Ó Riain , Celtic Studies Publications IX (Aberystwyth, 2004), xxiv + 405pp.

general editor and co-translator, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales (4th edn., revised and expanded, Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2003), x + 438. ISBN 1 891271 09 1.

‘Celts, Britons, and Gaels – Names, Peoples, and Identities’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , new series 9 (2003), 41–56.

‘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, 75–92.

‘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, 171–97.

‘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), pp. 102–22.

‘Celtoscepticism: Some Intellectual Sources and Ideological Implications’, Indo-European Studies Bulletin 9/2 (2001), 1–8.

co-author with Wendy Davies, Gwenaël Le Duc, et al., The Inscriptions of Early Medieval Brittany/Les inscriptions de la Bretagne du Haut Moyen Âge (Aberystwyth, 2000), 360pp.

‘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), pp.33–4.

‘Fled Bricrenn in its Broader Celtic Context’, in Fled Bricrenn: Reassessments , ed. Pádraig ÓRiain, Irish Texts Society Subsidiary Series 10 (Dublin, 2000), 15–39.

co-editor with J. Carey and P.-Y. Lambert and contributing author, Ildánach Ildírech: A Festschrift for Proinsias MacCana (Andover & Aberystwyth, 1999), 330pp.

‘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), pp. 199–210.

‘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), 410pp.

‘Obscurity and the Figure of Taliesin’, Medievalia , XIX (1996 [for 1993]), 41–73.

‘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), pp. 37–40.

‘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), pp.22–8.

‘The Celtic Lands’ in Medieval Arthurian Literature: A Guide to Recent Research , ed. N. Lacy (New York, 1996), pp. 239–322.

‘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), pp. 79–95.

‘The Conversion of Ireland and the Emergence of the Old Irish Language, AD 367–637’, Emania , XIII (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. Stockman (Belfast, 1994), pp. 229–37.

‘Thoughts on the Ur-Gododin: Rethinking Aneirin and Mynydawc Mwynvawr’, Language Sciences , XV.2 (1993), 81–9.

‘Gallo-Brittonic Tasc(i)ouanos "Badger-slayer" and the Reflex of Indo-European *gwh’, Journal of Celtic Linguistics , I (1992), 101–18.

‘Gallo-Brittonic vs. Insular Celtic: The Inter-rela­tion­ships 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), pp. 471–95.

‘Further to tongu do dia toinges mo thuath [“I swear to the god to whom my tribe swears”], &c.’, Études celtiques , XXIX (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), pp. 1–43.

‘Ériu, Alba, Letha: When Was a Language Ances­tral to Gaelic First Spoken in Ireland?’, Emania , IX (1991 [‘Focus on the Origins of the Irish’]), 17–27.

‘Gleanings from the Gododdin and Other Early Welsh Texts’, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , XXXVIII (1991), 111–18.

‘Thoughts On Celtic Philology and Philologists’, Comparative Literature Studies , XXVII.1 (1990), 31–6.

‘*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), pp. 179–202.

‘Brân, Brennos: An Instance of Early Gallo-Brittonic History and Mythology’, Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies , XX (winter 1990) 1–20.

‘Some Etymologies Reflecting on the Mythology in the Mabinogi’, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium , IX (1990), 1–11.

‘Neo-Brittonic Spirants from Old Celtic Gemi­nates’, Ériu , XL (1989), 119–28.

‘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), pp. 17–41.

‘Prosody and the Old Celtic Verbal Complex’, Ériu , XXXVIII (1987), 143–76.

‘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 , XXIV (1987), 253–78.

‘A Welsh Window on the Iron Age: Manawydan, Mandubracios’, Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies , XIV (Winter, 1987), 17–52

‘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 , VI/VII (1986–87), 1–35.

‘When Was Welsh Literature First Written Down?’, Studia Celtica XX/XXI (1985–86), 43–6.

‘Emphasis and Movement in Gaulish’, BBCS xxxii (1985) 1–37.

‘gwydanhor, gwydyanhawr, clywanhor’, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , XXXI (1984), 87–92.

co-editor Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium (1983).

‘The Sentence in Gaulish’, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium , III (1983), 169–216.

‘Mor Terwyn’, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , XXX/3–4 (1983),

‘The Loss of Final Syllables and Loss of Declen­sion in Brittonic’, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , XXX/3–4 (1983), 201–33.

co-editor Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium II (1982).

‘Gaulish eti-c, eqqi-c< Indo-European *esti-kwe?’, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium , II (1982), 89–113.

‘The Loss of Final Syllables and Loss of Declen­sion in Brittonic’, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium , I (1981), 21–52.

‘The Stone of the Weni-kones’ [= maen gwynngwn (CA 83)], Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , XXXIX.1 (1980), 87–9.