> Before we can accept or refute this hypothesis, we need to establish what
> the word 'Celt' means for us. The word comes from the Greek word 'Keltoi',
> which became 'Celtae' in Latin. (Although many authors like Caesar and
> Polybius preferred the words 'Galli' or 'Galatae'.)
> Interestingly enough, these words were only used for people living on the
>> The words were used at different times and places to denote
>>groups, not "Celts" as a whole. Your statements give the impression that
>>the ancient world, there was a general agreement that certain fgroups
>>all over Europe were cultureally and linguistically linked.
Exactly my point. I was trying to proof that the Celts were never a united
group and that they were not seen as belonging to one group (except that
they were barbaroi, for not being Greek (also a modern common denominator
for different groups) or Roman and as such they would be classified together
with all the other "barbaric" peoples of ancient Europe. I also wanted to
make clear that the word Celt as it is used today is imposed upon us by
linguists since the 16th and 17th Century (Edward Lhwyd, a.o.). The origin
of the word itself may be (according to Cunliffe, Barry. 1997. The Ancient
Celts. London: Penguin.) from an ancient IE-root meaning stranger. "In which
case it could hardly be an ethnonym" he goes on. (If this root exists it has
changed in Germanic languages to wealas or something like it. Using this as
an ethnonym would imply classifying the French-speaking Belgians (who would
be of Romance origin) and the Welsh as belonging to the same ethnicity, how
stupid would that be!!!))
>> And BTW, Keltoi may itself be a corruption of Galatae.
Where did you get this. It is against my linguistic sixth sense that the
form with kappa precedes the one with gamma and Hecateus and Herodotos, who
were among the first to name these people used Keltoi, not Galatae. If you
look at their distribution, you can see a difference of meaning though: the
terms Keltoi/Celtae were the general name and were used to indicate the
peoples who lived in the area stretching from north of the Alps to Iberia
and the terms Galli/Galatae were used more often for the tribes who
emigrated to the south and south-east (although Caesar makes another
distinction, see the following point).
> No person living in the British Isles was ever called a Celt by
> the classical authors.
>>And no person living in Gaul was, either.
I didn't say anything about this, but they were. Herodotos called people in
the area that is seen as Gaul almost the whole of France and Belgium (Called
Gallia Transalpina by the Romans), while part of northern Italy was called
Gallia Cisalpina) Keltoi (and Caesar wrote:"Gallia est omnis divisa in
partes tres, [...], tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli
appelantur. Which is roughly translated as follows: "Gallia as a whole is
divided in three parts, [...], the third one [is inhabited by people who]
are called Celts [=Celtae] in their own language and in ours Gauls [=Galli].
> Caesar and others saw the people in Britannia as
> closely related to the ones living in Gaul, but distinctive enough to have
> other names.
>> Quote your sources, please.
a.o. Caesar: De Bello Gallico: V, 14: "+- The inhabitants of Kent [...]
differ but little from the Gallic manner.
V, 12: "the maritime part [was inhabited] by tribes who came in an earlier
stage from Belgium."
V, 12: "the farmbuildings [...] being very like those of the Gauls"
VI, 13: "It is believed that their rule of life [the druids'] was discovered
in Britain and transferred from there to Gaul; and today those who would
study the subject more accurately, journey, as a rule, to Britain to learn
it. (this implies that they had the same religion and probably also that
there languages were intercomprehensible). (Sorry I haven't got any more
materials at this time + I believe I took this notion from Simon James (see
bibliography of my original email))
> If we would use the word 'Celt' as the classical authors did, they could
> not be pushed back or slaughtered by the Anglo-Saxons when they came to
> England, because they were not living there in the first place.
Sorry about that. Bad formulation (English is not my native tongue). I meant
that you can't wipe out a people that is not there.
>> Your view of groups as solely made up of one genetic group or
>>another is, IMGHO, naive and misleading. How do you think people spread
>>conquered others? By massacring the ones who were already there? Not as a
>>rule. They killed the ruling groups or made them subject by marrying the
>>women and taking over their lands, then using the existing peasantry to go
>>on doing what they knew how to do: farm the land. Only very isolated
>>remain "racially" pure. Most are mongrels, to say the least.
Where in my piece did you read that I think groups are solely made up of one
genetic group. The piece was written to prove or at least give some
indications that the Celts never existed as a genetically unified group. And
that the English living now probably have inherited genes from so-called
"Celtic" peoples (meaning next to the ones they got from Picts, Angles,
Saxons, Jutes, Danes, French, Romans, and so on). All these groups are
genetically diverse and often intertwined. (I read some time ago that 99% of
people living in Europe are descendants of seven (or was it eight) different
women, no more!!! so there must have been a lot of inbreeding and even
incest). But still there is Luca Cavalli-Sforza who has proved or is proving
that the family tree of human genes is almost completely parallel with the
family tree of human languages (there is one very notable exception: the
Basques look genetically very much like the Spanish, although there language
is an isolate) see http://human.stanford.edu/;
html; and the book I mentioned in my original email)
This thing about genetics was only there to say that if we could prove that
the English living in England now are genetically related to people (who we
now called Celts) of whom we know that they lived in Britain before people
(who are now classified as Germanic) came to Britain (e.g. through
genetically analysis of bodies that are date via carbon-dating or some other
method to be from the first century BC until e.g. the fourth century AD (or
some other better time-scale) and prove that they are related (in a
statistically relevant way) to the people living in England now, we can also
prove that David Crystal & all. are wrong in saying that the Anglo-Saxons
(as they call them) wiped out or drove back the Celts (as they call them)
from England. This would also prove that our theory (we seem to share this
one) that conquering people do not (or did not) replace the conquered
people, only there elite and after a while (can be a long time, but
eventually you get to this stage) they get so intertwined (because they
influence each others cultures and languages and because they start to
intermarry) that no difference is made anymore. And if we can prove this
beyond doubt, all the blabla going on about sterilisation will be proved to
be bullshit, because then we could say that the English are as celtic as any
other celtic people and that our celtic friends should be sterilised too for
what they did to our pictish cousins. (And so on, there is even some
Neanderthal blood in our veins that still would need to be avenged). there
is only one problem: I don't know of such an investigation and if anyone
here does, I would love to hear about it.
> Many of the peoples that we now call Celtic, would never have considered
> themselves as such.
>>And were not called such by anyone--including classical writers.
I did not say anything else, nor would I.
> It is very probable that the peoples living in England before the
> Anglo-Saxons came in, were a mix of partly or fully Celtic Gauls, who
> crossed the channel and Picts, who were living in Britain before the
> arrival of the Gaulish and Belgic tribes. Why is it then that most people
> consider this collection of quite diverse people to be 'Celts'?
>>Where did you get this?
Picts were living in Britain before (so-called) Celts came to Britain (and
it doesn't matter if those Picts were proto-Celtic or not). If you hang on
to our theory of conquering and being conquered, we have to conclude that
there were Picts living together with "Celts" in England and that they at
some stage influenced each other and that it is very probable that they
intermarried at some points which would cause this mix I was talking about.)
To conclude I can say that we agreed on most points and that a lot of your
critique was premature. Please read this piece and then reread my original
mail, so you can see for yourself that we have to agree on most points.
Please also bear in mind that it was originally written for a course on old
English and that the only question of it was "How celtic are the English
now?" all other questions and answers only served to shed some light on this
question. (I did not want to write about Celt Iberians or the Galatians Paul
wrote to; e.g. in respect to your "were not called such..."-remark.
And now I am finally of to bed. I thank all of you for the many responses I
have had (I still like the one by Sean Oberle most), although I did not
expect to cause such a stir. And I ask you to read everything carefully
(even if it is in a bad, heavy, dry style, I should have rewritten it a long
time ago, but I am, at least for the time being, too lazy for that) before
criticizing it so heavily.
ps. Francine, I hope there will be no bad feelings between us. I very much
like most of the messages you write. (I don't know if personal messages like
this one are appropriate here, please let me know if they are not. I am a