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CELTIC-L  April 2002

CELTIC-L April 2002

Subject:

Re: Caesar on the Gauls part II

From:

Vyvyan Ogma Wyverne <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Thu, 4 Apr 2002 13:29:59 +0930

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (74 lines)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Christopher Gwinn" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, 3 April 2002 12:30 AM
Subject: Re: Caesar on the Gauls part II


> >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.

It would be, but I have not made it.  I am aware of the trade routes of the
past, and the cultural medley that used them.  But I don't think the average
Roman Centurian had a better grasp of Ancient British than say, Christian
missionaries did of the Native Australian languages. Many an influential
American  goes off to do big business with Japan with a phrasebook in one
hand and a one cassette crash course in Japanese in the other.  And vice
versa.

Missionaries of the 19th century who lived and worked with Australian
Aborigines still managed to give what now are shown to be very misleading
and even wrong translations of their accounts of themselves, which were
distorted significantly by racist assumptions that they were childish and
not too bright.  In fact they're as various as far as that goes as any
ethnic group.
Do you believe that the Romans really were any freer from prejudice, or any
more impeccable as students of culture?

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
> >neighbouring peoples.

I have not made that assumption.  During times of political upheaval such as
that associated with war, there are always situations in which military
personnel must obtain information from people whose language they do not
speak.

>
> A very good point, Ray - you could even add the fact that a good number of
> Roman troops serving in Britain were actually ethnic Celts from both
> Cisalpine Transalpine Gaul - so it is more than likely that British Celtic
> names were transmitted properly into Latin via the assitance of bilingual
> Romanized Celts. Furthermore, there is some very good evidence that
Tacitus
> himself, despite being a proud Roman citizen, was ethnically Celtic - and
he
> was certainly familiar enough with both Gaulish and Brittonic to have
> remarked that their respective languages were virtually the same.

Yes, and there've always been many free Celts living and working in Rome as
Roman citizens.  But that doesn't fault my hypothesis, that the Roman who
took down Boadicea's details used the Roman alphabet to approximate a
pronunciation which it could not exactly represent, that a system of
spelling which has been devised to serve a Celtic language might more
accurately represent it, and that conjecture based upon such a
representation of it is likely to be less distorted by the incidental Latin
bias.

>
> - Chris Gwinn
>
> _________________________________________________________________
> Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger: http://messenger.msn.com
>

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