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CELTIC-L  October 2001

CELTIC-L October 2001

Subject:

Re: It is always the same, Karl

From:

"Mag.phil. Raimund KARL" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Wed, 17 Oct 2001 00:05:44 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (183 lines)

Hi Pepd,

pepd perez schrieb:
>
>   I`ve noticed your post are always quite disturbing.

I'd love if I could say I'm sorry about that, but that would be an
outright lie, as such, I won't say it. Actually, I think it is good if
my mails are disturbing in that way as you see them as disturbing, as
much too many people tend to much too easily accept things as given that
not at all are.

> I mean, I tend to accept things like "The god of
> craftmanship it was Lugh Lambfadha (or whatever), the
> Gaulish version of whom it was Lugus who named
> Lugdunum. Later Lugdunum became the religious capital
> of the Gauls, where the emperor Augustus was
> worshipped. Then, if the cult to the emperor replaced
> the former one, Lugus and the "solar-god -Augustus"
> were much alike, and Lugdunum was ALREADY an important
> sanctuary. Legend says the city was built on the place
> that ravens indicated, and raven is often linked to
> important gods (Bran, Odhin, maybe Cronos), so Lugus
> CAN`T be a simple local god."

See, the problem with stories like this is that many of them were
created a hundred years ago and since have, at least in part, shown to
be questionable at best, often enough shown to be simply wrong, and in
some cases even shown to be wild speculations not based on facts at all.
Because of this, I always advocate that one should trust nothing one
hears or reads - including that what I say and write!

Of course, stories like the one above are so nice that I'd love to
believe them, but in fact, much too much speculation has been built on
such stories which often enough simply are not based on facts. Only look
at the above story: To get to this story, one needs to mix evidence from
an areas several thousand kilometers apart, and dating from periods
separated by at least one millenium.

I don't say that Lugus wasn't an important god (as we have quite some
evidnece that a god with that name seems to have been quite important),
but I warn of drawing quick conclusions only because they seem to well
reflect a past we want to believe in.

>  And so on and on...I mean, inferrings depend always
> on "common sense", we can`t have certainties in
> matters like this.

Of course we can't have certainty, but this does not indicate that every
explanation is as good as any other. One has to be extremely careful
with trying to explain such things, and one has to study the evidence as
thoroughly as possible, before coming to a conclusion. Working with
nothing but "common sense" is risky at best, outright dangerous at
worst.

I'll give you an example: I will document, perfectly with common sense,
that the Ancient Celts in fact were little green men from Mars. Ok,
let's go ahead with this:
It is a matter of common sense that when one wants to depict something,
one tries to do this as accurately as anyhow possible.
It is wellknown that the Celts were master artisans, especially in
metalwork. Now, almost all depictions of human beings coming from the
Celtic world are small Bronze objects, ranging between about 2 and 20
centimeters in size.
Common sense tells us that Bronze corrodes quickly when exposed to air,
changing it's colour to greenish or brownish during that process. Now,
the Celts definitly knew this, as they definitly were well aware of the
characteristics of the metals they were working with.
You will also have noted that such depictions of human beings in Celtic
Art show that they have very strange features: unnaturally large eyes,
strange mouths, disproportionate limbs, etc.
Now, following the above reason, we can conclude with common sense that
the Celts were depicting "human" beings the way they did because in fact
the beings depicted were no humans at all, but rather looked like the
depictions - smallish, with strange features, and greenish to brownish
skin.
Now, where could such a race of smallish, greenish creatures have
deleloped at all? Green skin tells us that their blood must be based on
copper, rather than iron. Their small size tells us that they must have
originated on a planet with a thin atmosphere, else they could have
grown to considerably larger size. Now, there is one planet in our solar
system, that fulfills these properties: Mars is rich in copper (which
you can tell from its red colour), and has a thin atmosphere. Even
better, you will definitly know the "face" that can be seen with
telescopes on the surface of Mars - it looks conspiciously like the
faces on "Celtic" depictions of humanoid beings.
Thus, common sense tells us that the Celts were, in fact, little green
men from Mars.

Now, of course this is a completely bogus theory, but it is fully based
on common sense.

> What else can we expect? We can`t send Margaret Mead in a time
> machine back to the 3rd century b.C. so that she finds out the
> truth about Celtic religion. And there is nothing such as the
> Vedic himns concerning those beliefs.

Of course not. But we can carefully examine the evidence, which also
means considering arguments like those of Maier, who argued that Lugu-
placenames are not to be connected with the god Lugus. And if they are,
the whole nice story from above crumbles into nothingness, as with the
god missing, everything else has no connection anymore.

To make that clear: The whole story above is based on the assumptions
that Lugus is to be equated with a) Irish Lug, b) Roman Mercury and c)
with the Lugu-element in the Gaulish placenames. Take Lugus out of the
story, and the three things that seemingly fit so well are no longer
connected at all.

This doesn't mean that this connection is wrong, but it does tell us
that we have to be careful when using it, that we should not take it as
a perfectly safe fact.

>   The only possible way, I think, regarding the
> poverty of our sources, it is to gather a lot of
> hints, and THEN make an inferring.

Absolutely. However, the result of such a process is not necessarily an
undisputeable fact, but rather has to be taken with a grain of salt for
what it is: one possible explanation.

> If you find placenames devoted to Lugus all over Europe, you can`t
> say he is a "local" god.

Yes, but this is exactly where Maier's arguments shake the concept.
Maier basically argues that the placenames containing the Lugu-element
are not places devoted to a god Lugus, but have a very different
meaning. And if he is right, then practically all attestations of a
Gaulish god "Lugus" vanish into nothingness, and with it the
pan-european distribution of this god.

> If many tribes (one of them here, in Asturias) chose a name which
> meant "the people of Lug", then he is an important god, not a
> fire insurance.

But the question is, did these names actually mean "the people of Lug"?
And if, why are there no "the people of Belenos", "the people of
Taranis", "the people of Esus", et cetera ad infinitum? What if the
Lugu-element, as Maier claims, meant something different? Is Lugus still
an important god then? Do you see now that all of these musings of how
important the god Lugus was center upon the question of wether names
that contain a Lugu-element are connected to a god named Lugus or not?

>  The most commonly accepted theory, as far as I know,
> it is to believe that the Gaulish Mercury, and Mars,
> are Lugus` "interpretatio". Why shouldn`t we accept
> it?

500 years ago, the most commonly accepted theory was that the Earth is
flat and if you sail to far west you'll drop off the rim. Why shouldn't
we have accepted that, then? 100 years ago, the most commonly accepted
theory was that man could not fly, as else god would have given him
wings. Today we have airplanes that have man fly over the rim where one
dropped off the Earth and come to a continent that did not exist 600
years ago in less than 10 hours.
That a theory is accepeted does not necessarily mean that it is correct.
Thus, to allow progress in research, we have to question the old,
"commonly accepted" theories ever again, to find if we do not find a
better explanation that puts the formerly commonly accepted theory into
the dustbin of history.

>   Although this post may seem agressive, I think it is
> good to find a sceptical point of view like yours,
> when the web is so crowded with neopagans which seem
> willing to accept any idea about celts without critic.

Not only the web, we all tend to willingly accept what we are told much
too often, even people as sceptical as I am do so.

RAY
________________________________________________________________________
Mag.phil. Raimund KARL <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Universität Wien, Institut für Alte Geschichte
A-1010 Wien, Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 1
Privat: A-1120 Wien, Hasenhutgasse 7-11/9/4
Tel/AB/Fax: (+43 1) 8103629 oder mobil: (+43 676) 3048830
________________________________________________________________________

     Besuchen Sie die Homepage der Studienrichtung Keltologie unter
       Visit the Celtic Studies at Vienna University homepage at
            <http://www.univie.ac.at/keltologie/index.html>
________________________________________________________________________

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