Vyvyan Ogma Wyverne schrieb:
> > As you fail to show such regular patterns, but do present us
> > time and again with individual, unattested cases,
> They don't exist.
So you are arguing that there exist no regular patterns, or that there
exist no attested cases of Roman transcription of British languages?
> We have only the Roman form and those who use it, and the
> British form which may have surfaced into the preserved
> literature after spending a long time in the lost literature
> and in unrecordable speech. There may have been others, which
> haven't survived.
And as such, we rather explain the Roman forms away, and speculate about
those that haven't survived based on single-case transformations? Thank
you, but no. This is ex silentio argumentation, which is acceptable in
fantasy literature and religious writings, but not in scholarly
discourse. Scholarly discourse requires that, at least at some point,
your theory has a connection to existing evidence, and not only to
postulated potential evidence that was, if it ever existed at all,
completely lost without trace.
> > and you are violating the
> > basic principles that underly any scholarship, including, BTW, Chaos
> > theory.
> That's not how I would use Chaos theory in this.
Well, so how would you use Chaos theory?
> > Your explanations are, to be precise, explanations as if human
> > societies were non-deterministic Chaos,
> I'm not sure why you say non-deterministic there.
Because your explanations are single-case ad hoc explanations that do
not follow regular patterns, and what you argue for is that attested
versions are arbitrary choices, not reflections of structurated patterns
of deterministic choas. As far as can be said from your mails, you argue
that every single case depends on individual attractors rather than
phase-space attractors, and if every single case is the result of a
case-specific individual attractor, you are describing absolute or
non-deterministic chaos. I thought you had read about Chaos theory?
> Nor do I imply that human
> societies in general are chaotic, although it could be argued that they are.
Well, I do argue they are, but are subject to what is called
deterministic Chaos (in difference to non-deterministic or absolute
Chaos, i.e. completely unstructured and unpredictable interaction),
which leads to the development of self-similar patterns. Fractals, if
you want, phase space attractors, dynamic equilibrium, temporary
stability, self-similarity, whatever you want.
> I'm saying that we have no clear knowledge of who was in Britain
> during the time of the Roman occupation, where they were from,
> what languages they spoke, how diverse or similar they were, which
> ones were natives, and which ones were refugees or allies.
No, you are argueing that we have no knowledge at all, and thus are
allowed to speculate freely without any reference to attested evidence.
No one argues with that we have no clear knowledge, but it cannot be
derived from the fact that our knowledge isn't perfectly clear that we
have _absolutely_ no idea what languages they most likely spoke, how
diverse or similar they were, which ones were natives, refugees, allies
or occupiers. Actually, we have an incredibly large amount of evidence
available for all those things, in the archaeological record, the
linguistic and onomastic evidence, in classical literature as well as in
post-Roman indigenious literature (see e.g. John Koch's Manawydan -
Mandubracios in Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies), in art history,
numismatics and so on. As such, while our knowledge is nowhere clear,
our choices for explanations are considerably limited by this evidence.
Evidence which you, as I have repeatedly said, obviously have no idea
about, as you still have failed to quote any literature on that
evidence. You have no idea how transition from pre-Roman to Roman to
post-Roman contexts shows up in sites like Castell Henllys, or in
Whitton Farm, or on any other site in Britain, how Roman villa economy
can be distinguished from local native farmsteads and other
organisational patterns during the Roman period, you don't know anything
about pre-conquest contact and post-conquest relationships between
British natives and Roman "occupiers", you have no idea about such sites
as Hengistbury Head or anything that would allow you to build a
You simply make an authoritative statement that we do not clearly know
(still correct), by which you imply that we do not know anything at all
(no longer correct), from which you imply that you are allowed to
postulate anything you would like based on an alleged "common sense" and
have this postulate accepted as a valid theory (not at all correct, and
definitly not scholarly). And while it might be fashionable in some
radical narrativist circles to never let evidence get in the way of a
good theory, this hardly can be seen as scholarly discourse.
> So cultural turbulence is indicated.
So the term turbulence is what you actually take from Chaos theory? As
you don't seem to think of the self-similar structures appearing in
turbulence, like the Lorenz attractor forming turbulent weather patterns
or the characteristic spirals witnessed in turbulent waters, but what
you understand as turbulence is a wild mix of many things in which
> > which, of course, as we can
> > clearly and intersubjectively observe, they are not, but rather show all
> > the features associated with deterministic Chaos as described by Chaos
> > and Complexity theory.
> Perhaps, but I don't think Chaos theory can tell us much about the spelling
> of Boadicea/Boudicca at this point
Well, I'd say it can tell us a lot about the development of self-similar
patterns and that, thus, it is likely that the spelling of
Boudicca/Boadicea should not be expected to be an isolated singe-case
example of the same transliteration attractor in action, but should
belong to a whole cluster of transliteration examples following the same
transliteration attractor and thus forming what is observable in the
evidence as a regular pattern of transliteration. Also, it should not be
expected to be an isolated case in the naming evidence, but should also
appear as a name in other examples from Celtic and Romano-Celtic
contexts. As such, it is little surprising that the name Boudica
actually also appears as the name of a godess on a Gaulo-Roman
inscription (see CIL, also referenced in Maier's Lexikon der keltischen
Religion und Kultur) from France, and that it is also attested as the
name of an Irish king, Loegaire Buadach (see DIL, also referenced in
Koch&Carey). Neither, however, applies to your postulated form
"bardacha", which neither appears in any Romano-Celtic inscription nor
in any Irish source, so you neither can present us with evidence for a
transliteration in accordance with your theory, nor with a use as a
> though I agree that it in general it is
> useful in examining the contexts within which linguistic studies of
> the past are done.
It is helpful for knowing what to expect in the actual evidence as
patterns of self-similarity, and thus is extremely helpful not only for
examining the contexts within linguistic studies of the past, but also
of the linguistic evidence itself.
> It could very well be a kenning. Bards competed a lot. In declaring a team
> of poets victorious at an eisteddfod or similar competiton you would be a
> equating the idea of bards with the idea of victors in just such a way as mi
> ght give rise to a kenning, accidental to deliberate. Becoming a bard was a
> competetive thing, wasn't it?
Again, this is a "could be" explanation, not a "is attested" one.
Becoming a bard may have been, to a certain extent, a competitive thing
(even though you should not overestimate the tradition of the
Eisteddfodau, which is a tradition that originated in the 19th century
and is not attested earlier), but as far as the sources which are older
than the 19th century seem to tell us, it rather had to do with long and
thorough education rather than with winning at an Eisteddfod. Thus,
again, this is idle speculation without any attestation, in an attempt
to save your theory against better evidence.
> > Well, this shows the basic problem you have, which, BTW, is a basic
> > problem quite common to people who come up with theories like you: You
> > can't imagine that a queen that was defeated by conquering enemies
> > called herself "Victoria".
> I can't imagine that she'd have given her personal name on being conquered.
But it is no way a given that she'd hadn't given her personal name on
being defeated, and even less that the Romans would not have heard of
the personal name of their opponent's leader before defeating them,
especially given the considerable likelihood that there was considerable
peaceful contact between the Romans and the British in east England well
before the Icenian rebellion and the defeat of Boudica and her troops in
battle. In fact, if the story related to us in Tacitus and Dio Cassius
is not a complete Roman fiction but at least contains some amount of
factual evidence, if is pretty likely that Boudica started that
rebellion because her daughters, who had been given to the Roman
governer of Venta Icenorum to be educated, were sexually harassed and
raped by him, which implies that there was some kind of extended contact
between the Romans and the very person Boudica well before there was
anything like an armed conflict, as the Romans would most likely have
known the name of the mother of the two daughters of a friendly king
next door. Also, the archaeological record clearly demonstrates that
there was considerable peaceful contact between the Romans and the
people living in East Anglia in the first few decades AD, again
indicating that the Romans had considerable firsthand knowledge of the
people that were lead by Boudica in a rebellion after her daughters had
been raped by the very person they were entrusted with.
Your whole idea of the misunderstanding of Boudica's name by Roman
conquerors, however, rests on the assumption that there was virtually no
pre-defeat contact at all, as if the Romans, at the time of the Icenian
rebellion, had suddenly´and surprisingly invaded a country that they had
never even heard of before, which is clearly a wrong assumption. In
fact, your very theory rests on the rather dubious idea that there were
two mostly isolated groups of people, the one "the Romans" and the other
"the Celts" which had virtually no contact before the one suddenly
decided to conquer and opress the others, which of course is, even from
a purely theoretical point of view, a ridiculous assumption, as evident
from modern anthropological literature, which clearly shows that there
never were such mostly isolated, monolithic blocks of people, but that
contact and knowledge of each other existed between all even remotely
> > However, apart from the fact that this is an
> > application of hindsight (and I am pretty sure that Boudica did not
> > expect to loose when she started the British rebellion), there are
> > several queens that carried the name "Victoria" and still never won
> > large wars.
> Still it's more likely that that the Roman who took down her name, got it
> the way I said: Bardacha. The bards were who she represented, and an
> utterance something like 'Is i sin an ceann /i' was how the leader was
> pointed out to him.
Why? You still have not presented a single piece of evidence for it, but
all you have asked of us is to accept your authoritative statements that
this is more likely. You have quoted no literature, have not presented
us with any consistent patterns that we might test for ourselves by
applying it to other names, all you have done is postulated that this is
more likely than something which follows regular patterns, about which
there is plenty of literature, something which is attested for in
several other instances as a name, is in line with current scholarship,
does not require to leave the existing interpretative frameworks for
British late Iron Age / Early Roman social systems, results in a name,
as might be expected of a person and is attested in numerous instances
in Britain at this time, instead of a misunderstood phrase in a language
most probably not then spoken there, and does not require the assumption
of an isolated misunderstanding based on a rather unlikely singular
contact between a isolated Roman and Boudica after her defeat as the
source of both her name and the name recorded for her people, the Iceni,
for the latter even a phrase that had to be horribly shortened to result
in the form recorded anyway.
Given this, there is not the slightest reason to ascribe a greater
likelihood to your theory than to the traditional one, quite to the
contrary, your theory is laughably ridiculous!
> It was a turbulent time.
And therefore, we should ignore the massive amounts of evidence that are
available for it, and rather make up our own theories and not let any
boring evidence come in our way? Again, I have to say thank you, but no!
Turbulent times or not, this doesn't allow us to make up freak theories
from thin air and disregard the existing evidence!
> > We know quite a lot about Celtic naming customs, even from Antiquity.
> > Additionally, insights can be gained from the archaeological record that
> > indicate that children were given a name when they had reached a certain
> > age, at earliest with about six months, at latest with about 6 years, a
> > practice that is quite well in line with what is recorded for most
> > non-modern societies, is in line with what is recorded for almost all
> > European societies in Antiquity and fits well with the patterns found in
> > the Early Irish and Welsh literature, be it the legal literature or the
> > epic one.
> This tells us nothing about what kinds of names they gave their children
No, except for those hundreds of names attested in various inscriptions
from the Continent and Britain, those attested in classical authors, on
coin legends (definitly pre-conquest coins!) and on various tools, like
swords, pottery and the like. That you haven't as yet heard of those
attestations does not tell us that they don't exist, in fact, they even
do exist in considerable numbers!
> > This, of course, all apart from the fact that
> > Boudica's name was known to the Romans well before her defeat, as again
> > is evident from the available sources.
> Which sources, please?
Tacitus and Dio Cassius, as already quoted. If the stories they relate
are not completely invented from beginning to end, which in fact would
then make it more likely that there was noone like a Boudica and that
she is completely invented as well, clearly shows that there was
considerable contact between the Romans and Boudica and her people well
before there was any kind of military conflict. This is also backed up
by the archaeological record, which shows that there was considerable
Roman influence on the native East Anglian British we now call Iceni
well before 60 AD, indicating that there were many merchants trading in
goods, and most likely especially good contacts between parts of the
Icenian nobility and the Roman authorities, first in Gaul and then,
later, in Southern Britain. There quite obviously was a quite constant
and regular exchange of goods, indicating that the Romans and British
were not at all isolated from each other, but must have known each other
pretty well, from over a hundred years of quite frequent contact.
That there could, at any time around 60 AD, suddenly have appeared out
of nothingness a wife of a deceased king to take over the leadership of
the Icenian people, without the Romans having had contect with her
immediate family well before, and thus having had multiple chances to
learn of her name well before the military conflict ensued, is extremely
This gives the theory that the Romans knew Boudica well before her
rebellion near-factual status. I abbreviated this to "the fact", which
of course, as always in scholarly discourse, ist to be read as "my
interpretation of the evidence", as we all know that there are no facts
but only interpretations of evidence.
> > There are numerous cases of similar names that are attested from the
> > Celtic world,
> You haven't cited any.
I have already, in several mails. But if you want other examples, why
not look into Holder's altceltischer Sprachschatz? Or, to make it easier
for you, look into Caesar, where you will find quite a number of similar
names, as you will in sources for Early Irish and Early Welsh names.
And, as I have already numerously said, even Buadach, the Old Irish
cognate of Boudica, is attested as a name in Old Irish material. It is
not my responsibility that you have no idea of this, and I have quoted
more than enough sources that you should be able to find out for
All the best,
Mag.phil. Raimund KARL
Österreich: <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Lektor für kulturwissenschaftliche Keltologie
Univ.Wien, Inst.f.Alte Geschichte, A-1010 Wien, Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 1
United Kingdom: <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Research fellow (European Archaeology)
Canolfan Uwchefrydiau Cymreig a Cheltaidd, Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru,
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3HH; ffôn: (+44 781) 6464861
Besuchen Sie die Homepage der Studienrichtung Keltologie unter
Visit the Celtic Studies at Vienna University homepage at
Visit the Canolfan homepage at