Al Hakim wrote:Gus,
in fact the term "keltoi" was a superordinate concept of the ancient Greeks and later the Romans to classify every foreigner living in the North of their empires while the Southern tribes were all "barbarian". The celtic tribes haver never called themselves "kelts", as far as I know, but by their tribal names "Treveri", "Lingones" on the continent. Our modern classification still stems from the old Roman authors who did not care who the other people were but just wanted to show their inferiority compared with the Roman culture and from a specific grave culture.
Al Hakim wrote:Because of the lack of written lore we just assume a straight line of tradition from the time of the ancient "celts" to the early middles-ages.
The big world religions developed several deviant paths throughout their history. Therefore, it is probable that a unique celtic philosophy - if such existed at all - had split up into different directions, too.
Al Hakim wrote: But most of the branches have disappeared without leaving any traces. So, the present Irish/Welsh (Celtic) lore will be a minimum cultural remain of what the ancient tribes really thought and taught.
DJ Droood wrote:Imagine someone trying to reconstruct "Christianity" in the "English World" in 2000 years when all the hard drives have rusted out and cheap paper has disintigrated, and the nasty athiests have destroyed everything....Catholic and Protestant, all the small snake handling sects and denominations and apostacies...related cults like Mormonism and Johos....all of which trace back to a shadowy cult figure 2000 years earlier still....I can just imagine all the hippies dressed in Pope's hats dancing around Easter eggs....and we are so much more careful with record keeping than the Iron Age Brits and Gauls.
Gus wrote:And although most people of an academic background might be uncomfortable with this - who knows - maybe some of those gods and spirits and otherworlds are real - no reason someone today cant rediscover them without discourse to ancient practises.
DJ Droood wrote:And although we may be veering off-course from the ops post, I don't see why "druidry" can't be used to describe this process of rediscovering, with the caveat that we don't make false claims about following ancient practices. If the original spirit of the druids was to discover the truth in the world around them, does that spirit not still exist today? And if we are heirs to their world, can't we lay claim to that word?
Al Hakim wrote:An excellent point. I think it is impossible to untangle the mysteries of history and - as Gus pointed out - discover the true roots of the celtic philosophy. So it is useless to even waste time on it !? But to strive for the truth is an everlasting topic. It only needs the single assumption that the old druids wanted to find the truth, too.
Al Hakim wrote:It only needs the single assumption that the old druids wanted to find the truth, too.
As a fairly solid rule, yes. Language is the vehicle for culture. Language (or culture!) and genetics, however, have absolutely nothing to do with each other.
As soon as he moves away from genetics, Oppenheimer's theories are, frankly, bollocks. The evidence suggests that the genetic makeup of the British Isles has not changed significantly since the Neolithic, which is all fine and dandy. However, genetic continuity does not indicate cultural and linguistic continuity: in fact, all the evidence points in the opposite direction.
Oppenheimer seems to be under the impression that populations do not change their languages, rather language replacement only stems from population replacement. Evidence for language shift without wholesale population replacement is abundant throughout the world, an particularly in the British Isles: the Cornish, for example, did not stop speaking Cornish and start speaking English because they were slaughtered or driven off by Anglophone immigrants.
He also seems to be under the impression that a lack of Celtic place-names in eastern England is an indication that there have been no Celtic speakers there. While few modern placenames in eastern England derive from Celtic, we have plenty of evidence for pre-Saxon Celtic placenames in the area: Camulodunum, Dubris, Noviomagus, Verulamium etc are all Celtic names, not Germanic. If during the Roman occupation of Britain this area was speaking some early form of English, why don't we have records of Germanic place names here?
Overall, he doesn't seem to have the first clue about historical linguistics. Which is fair enough, he's a geneticist. I know sod all about genetics. On the other hand, I don't concoct wild theories about genetics and foist them on the unsuspecting public in paperback form. Were I to come up with such a theory, I'd make damn sure I read the relevant literature on the subject before publishing: something Oppenheimer clearly hasn't done. For example, claiming that speakers of a Celtic language arrived in the British Isles around 9000 BC is ludicrous, and indicates that he hasn't bothered to read the literature. Proto-Celtic's own parent language, Proto-Indo-European, probably wasn't even spoken at that time.
(Furthermore, if I may comment on the quote from the article on romanarmy.net: "Dr. Oppenheimer agrees with Dr. Forster's argument, based on a statistical analysis of vocabulary". There's nice, two geneticists agree on something they know nothing about. Glottochronology dates from the 50s, and was abandoned by linguists only shortly afterwards. Because it does not work. It's not a matter of being "too cautious", it's abandoning a tool that doesn't work. Would you try to fix a computer with the remote from your telly? No, because it wouldn't work, no matter how much two carpenters tell you that you're being "too cautious".)
In summary: it's bollocks.
Oppenheimer seems to be under the impression that populations do not change their languages, rather language replacement only stems from population replacement.
claiming that speakers of a Celtic language arrived in the British Isles around 9000 BC is ludicrous,
On the other hand, I don't concoct wild theories about genetics and foist them on the unsuspecting public in paperback form.
If during the Roman occupation of Britain this area was speaking some early form of English, why don't we have records of Germanic place names here (Ed DaRC - those In eastern England)?
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