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CELTIC-L  April 2002

CELTIC-L April 2002


Re: Caesar on the Gauls part I


Vyvyan Ogma Wyverne <[log in to unmask]>


CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.


Thu, 4 Apr 2002 17:56:18 +0930





text/plain (905 lines)

Hallo Ray,

----- Original Message -----
From: "Raimund KARL" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, 2 April 2002 7:51 PM
Subject: Re: Caesar on the Gauls part I

Hi Vyvyan,

Vyvyan Ogma Wyverne schrieb:
> > No, that's Chris and the vast majority of all scholars opinion against
> > your speculation. Opinion should be seen as an educated and reasonable
> > judgment based on perceivable evidence, which is what the opinion of
> > Chris and scholars in Celtic languages is. Your speculation, however, is
> > based on ignorance rather than on knowledge of the evidence, which
> > disqualifies your statements from being a viable opinion.
> This is polemic, not scholarship, but I'll give you fair answers.

No, this is not polemic, this is a scholarly opinion

It is your opinion, and even if some contributors to this newsgroup agree,
it has not got concensus. Few scholars are even acquainted with my opinion.

based on what you have shown us as yet.

I have not yet shown you my methodology.

Every time someone, be it me or someone else,
quotes evidence, your response clearly shows that you have never heard
of that evidence before,

Often I haven't, but not always.  But I do criticise your 'evidence' and
protest that some current scholarship, notably some of that which produces
dictionaries, is questionable, and yet stays 'authority' by
maintaining a mystique and by defeating anyone who holds other views which
may be equally
sound , or sounder, in power struggles that do not realistically address
scholarly issues.

and that you immediatly summarily dismiss it as
it does not fit into your theoretical framework.

I don't dismiss them out-right: I pore over them and I keep
them firmly in mind. But when I find fault with them, I say so.

This shows that you do
not know and actually are not much interested in explaining existing

I'm drawing from the same planetful of largely unexplored evidence, and
explaining it otherwise.  But scholarly opinion is 'opinion about the
evidence', not 'evidence'.

I am explaining existing evidence.  I am not attempting to explain existing
opinion. My premises and my logic - indeed, anybody's, whoever they
are -should be meticulously critiqued (feminist critique offers useful
models of critique with built-in etiquette to keep the flow of reason clear:
ruthless but well-crafted, just, restrained and to the point, by no means
dispassionate, but civilized). But I don't understand why you think I should
disprove a one existing hypothesis when I present one I find at least
equally convincing.

My criticism of the work of some etymologists whose work is considered first
class, is that they don't cast their nets far enough a-field when trawling
for cognates - it's as if they're scared they'll find some -and they can't
tell cognates from by-catch, any better than I can.

but rather are attempting to save a preconceived idea from
being disrupted by actual evidence.

Again, this accusation does not address my hypothesis, and is not scholarly.
My idea comes out of years of intense engagement with dictionaries,
languages, and language histories, and also with myth, religion, Celtic
folksong and ballads, and the oral traditions of many cultures, and
scholarly literature surrounding it, which I have been studying as an
undergraduate at a well-respected Australian university (not one that that
only offers lightweight liberal studies programmes), over the past few

What you argue in is thin air,

You have not perused my evidence yet.  It is too much to present in an
email, so I am preparing an account of it for you, as asked.

results in your theory constantly colliding with evidence as it turns
up, which makes it a non-viable opinion in a scholarly discourse.

No.  It challenges existing opinion.  This is a vital process in the
forming of scholarly opinion.

quality, and this is a scholarly assessment, is comparable to claiming
the world is flat or that the Celts actually were green-skinned Martians
that spoke a Viennese dialect more than a millenium before Viennese is
first attested at all.

No, it is the exasparated opinion of one scholar.

You are free to nonetheless stay with it, but it
is not a opinion that can be seen as a serious, scholarly attempt to
explain the existing evidence.
This doesn't indicate that you may not be right and that not scholarly
opinion, regardless of it's specific content, may be wrong - this, of
course, is possible. But it does indicate that it is not testable based
on the existing evidence, and thus is not scholarly, as scholarly
opinion is defined by being testable against the existing evidence.

My protest is that existing opinion, given that it is diverse, and that
concensus exists only within contending schools, sometimes tends to overlook
a lot of good evidence.

That's all I say. Given the evidence as it is, your theory is extremely

> It's a question of whether a word from another language, upon being
> until they were included in the Macquarie Australian Dictionary.
> I don't think you can speak of a correct spelling of Boudicca/Boadicea
> you have it in a dictionary, and then, only by virtue of its appearing
> there, which it does at the arbitrary judgement of the lexicographer.

I never spoke of a correct spelling of Boudica.

No, you didn't, but that there is one is an example of a 'scholarly opinion'
that doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

What I do speak of,
however, is that a spelling Boudicca or Boadicea can not be the result
of any possible original word, but that it can only be the result of
several different terms, based on the options of pronouncation that were
available to the British of the 1st century AD,

Yes, that's what I've said myself, adding that we lack instances of them
because of the lack of records of speech in Britain at that time.

and that these
possibilities should be attested in several independent cases as a
regular pattern,

This of course is impossible when you have only two instances of the word.

as, else, Boudica can equally validly be derived from my
Viennese explanation, or from the term Berdache (as we have it in the
anthropological literature), or from south Bantu dialect.

Except that there were Gauls in Britain at the time, and no Bantus.  What
does Berdache mean?  It isn't in my Collins German-English dictionary.

To differ
between these possibile derivations, we need to put her name in an
explanatory framework that considers the spatiotemporal context in which
the term was first recorded,

We have only a Roman account of it in which I find evidence of human error.
The value of the opinion of the Roman(s) whose statements Tacitus used is
not testable, but I find plenty of evidence that their knowledge of Celtic
custom and speech varied greatly from one reporter to another.

and this requires us to base this on the
available evidence, which, for instance, tells us, that in all
likelihood, no language that can be 1:1 equated with modern Irish was
spoken in Britain in 60-70AD.

I have apologised for being flippant.  Of course, I don't really believe
that there
was.  Nevertheless to dismiss the possibility that a phrase or word might
belong to a forerunner of a modern language on the grounds that it is TOO
similar to current words with related meanings in that language is

I have already quoted numerous sources

Of opinion, not proven fact.

this, and in fact, there is an innumerable amount of evidence that tells
us that this is extremely unlikely, about as unlikely as that modern
Viennese was spoken then and there.

I say nothing of Viennese modern or ancient. No one doubts that
Boudicca/Boadicea was a Celt and it follows that she'd have spoken a
fore-runner of a Modern Celtic language, which is all I have claimed for

We do, however, have evidence that
tells us that it is very likely that another language was spoken then
and there, a language that can be explained and even translated,

I think it unlikely that she spoke anything but a Celtic language.

that is able to explain the name of Boudicca/Boadicea as transliterated
by Roman authors,

A Roman author and an English one.

who, in turn, followed regular, self-similar patterns
of transliteration that can independently be documented from classical

They indeed differ from one to another as John Hookers coin inscriptions
show. As well, they seem to have been ideosyncratic in literating words
containing sounds not in use in Latin.  Variations in spelling the Celtic
'ch' for example include cc, ce, and x representing the Greek chi.

As such, while the definition of a "correct" spelling is a
mostly arbitary decision, the sum of potential transliterations and the
number of terms they have possibly come from are limited to a certain
group of terms, which are arrived at by applying regular, attested
possible mutations due to transliteration possibilities.

Yes, exactly.

Within this
group of potential pronouncations, the term Bardacha is not included,
and as such could only be explained as a single-case individual
deviation from else commonly attested transliteration patterns.

When all possible permutations are accounted for, and ranked in some
subjective order of likelihood, Bardacha is, as I have proposed, quite
possible, without any deviation whatsoever. It's this subjective order of
likelihood that we should be deconstructing.

such deviations, of course, always are possible. However, if an
explanation is based on the postulation of such a deviation, as is
yours, while there is another theory, which can explain the same term by
regular transliteration patterns that are attested in numerous other
contemporary terms, the second possibility is a vastly preferrable
option, as it succeeds in explaining a whole group of terms and thus is
testable (which the individual case - explanation is not, as you either
have to believe in it or not, as it is nowhere else attested).

Oh, yes, I see.  If I'm going to 'add in' a new hypothesis to an existing
theoretical framework it has to subscribe to the basic premises of that
But that isn't what I'm doing.  I'm finding serious faults in existing
theories and I'm working from a new theoretical basis.  My reading shows me
that I'm one of many theorists doing the same thing.  I do think it is
scholarly to do this, and you can't define as unscholarly all scholarship
that doesn't subscribe to a particular hegemonically favoured theoretical

> Now you are being the Fals Knight on the Road.
> That there is no correct spelling of Boudicca/Boadicea, or that Mattingly
> might be naive, doesn't equate to that the Earth is flat.

This is not what you have claimed. You have claimed that your opinion is
explaining the evidence a lot better or at least equal to that of
Mattingly, which is like claiming that the earth is flat is an equally
valid explanation for the shape of earth as is the explanation of it as
a geoid. And thus, my equation is quite fitting: Of course, no one can
prove that the earth is not flat, but the huge majority of all available
evidence points towards the opinion that the earth is not flat but a
geoid. Equally, all available evidence points towards the opinion of
Mattingly and not towards your opinion.

You have before you my opinion, and you have Mattingly's.  You equate
Mattingly's with established, all but proven fact (that the world is a
geoid) and mine with all but proven error.  This is a facile sophistry, and
unscholarly taunt, with all due respect, and in my opinion not worthy of

I'd prefer the term spheroid to geoid in order to avoid tautology, since
geoid means an approximately earth-shaped object.

> > Now, of course, you are free to stick to that opinion, but all
> > available evidence
> You give no references.

Well, I have given numerous referneces in the past mails, while you, as
yet, have given not a single one.

Indeed I have.  I have quoted living languages, refered to dictionaries and
the texts under discussion.

Anyway, I refer you for this to P.Y.
Lambert, La Langue Gauloise, Holder's Altceltischer Sprachschatz,
Birkhan's Kelten, Cunliffe's the Celtic World, Rankin's The Celts in the
view of the Classical Word and Koch&Carey's The Celtic Heroic Age, as a
starter, pointing you towards the evidence that I refer to here as "all
available". Quote me equivalent literature refering to evidence for your

I would like to see these books, and shall look out for them.  I am
preparing a formal reply to your two-part email in which I will attempt to
satisfy you concerning my sources of general and specific information,
theory and opinion concerning the Celts and peripheral subjects that shed
light on their culture.

> > clearly points to the fact
> It is an opinion.

As I have already pointed out, everything is opinion, but not every
opinion is equally qualified. As such, constantly repeating that "this
is an opinion" does not increase the value of your opinion, as, as you
yourself have already agreed to in another mail, not every opinion is
equally valid. As such, this above opinion is referring to the
near-factuality (in that it is commonly perceived as a viable statement
by the vast majority of active, and most likely also passive
listmembers) of my statement:

> > that such an opinion is blatant nonsense
> This is a value judgement, and therefore opinion.

See above. It is referring to a viable explanation with near-factual
status. Thus, it is a qualified opinion, one that can be backed up by
evidence and thus can be considered inter-subjective.

But the near-factual status of practically any etymology can't be compared
to that of the opinion that the world is a spheroid.

> > one drops off its edge when she/he reaches the horizon. As such,
> > if you uphold the idea that the earth is flat IN SPITE of the available
> > evidence, you of course are welcome to do so, but nonetheless, it is not
> > a viable scholarly opinion, but just a crackpot idea.
> Yes, but that the name represented as Boudicca here and Boadicea there had
> no correct spelling until someone judged between the two and published
> judgement as fact doesn't equate to cosmological madness.

Which, however, is not the limit of the explanatory scope you ascribe to
your theory. I do not argue with you that there is nothing as a
"correct" spelling of the name of Boudica, in fact, I have already
written this quite explictly in the mail you are responding with this


It is the larger explanatory scope of your theory I am equating
with the belief in a flat earth, as this larger explanatory scope of
your theory is not fitting with the available evidence, for sources for
this again, see the avbove mentioned literature.

> Deconstructing mental illness is a bit ambitious, and probably vital to
> Celtic Studies.  Nevertheless, Thinking that 'correctness' in spellings is
> matter of opinion, except insofar as prescribed by a dictionary as a
> of convention, is a far cry from believing oneself to be Napolean.

I repeat, it is not your questioning of the belief in a "correct"
spelling that I am critizising. It is the theory that you build out of
thin air that I am critizising. Of course, it is a good trick to attempt
to make people believe that I critizise the valid points which you make
about the absence of a correct spelling, but this is not what I do, I
critizise your wild speculation about the name of Boudica, which you
base completely on misapplications of such deconstruction-techniques, by
implying that, if something has no ONE correct spelling, EVERY spelling
is equally possible, which, of course, is complete nonsense. There are
preferred spellings, and these follow a consistent pattern, and thus
neither are clearly determined, nor completey arbitrary.

I am trying scrupulously to avoid polemical trickery, and have not intended
it here.

> > Similarly, your statements about the Celts are not valid scholarly
> > opinions, as they go against all available evidence, which you need to
> > twist in horrible and non-regular fashion (i.e. you have to twist each
> > piece of information in the evidence differently, and not interpret
> > several larger portions of it in similar ways, following a regular,
> > self-similar pattern) to come to the results you arrive at.
> No.  Facts aren't things.  To twist them is a metaphor.  I don't work
> according to your metaphor.

Your mails clearly show that you do. You are not applying self-similar
patterns with a certain degree,

I have a number of different approaches which I will explain in my formal
answer in essay form to your two part email.

but not unlimited freedom of choice, but
you are implying that something which is not precisely defined is
necessarily completely arbitary.

Indeed, I am, which I shall show in my formal reply.

Thus, you twist the evidence to fit
your preconceived idea, instead of exploring the possible degrees of
freedom and interpreting within the limits of these possibilities.

> You have to check out all its possible references and in
> nothing is twisted, and many more possibilities are viewed,
> followed up, and compared.

Oh, now I get it: you are argueing for a freeform phenomenological
hermenteutic! Well, this is exactly what I call a "anything goes"
approach: my wedding ring and the sun both are round, and as such, they
are the same. Karl Raimund Popper and Raimund Karl share the same names,
and thus are the same.

Wait till you've seen the drafts of my tables and my formal account of my

Berdache is a term describing a trans-gender role
and Boudica is a trans-gender leader thus Boudica is a Berdache. Boudica
and Bards sound remotely familiar, and
thus the two things can be equated.

Wonderful.  According to me the modern English 'Bawd', with its derivative
'Bawdy', meaning "indecently vulgar" is a variant of Bard.  Uproariously
bawdy ballads of transvestite lesbian love are abundant up to quite recent
times.  The Folk musicians Steel-eye Span sing a delightful example of one.

Boudicca logically represents the attempt at a phonetic literation of a
succession of sounds that closely, not vaguely, resembles a pronunciation of
Bardacha which is extant today and arguably could well have been within the
range of local variations in use in the 1st Century AD.

Boudica can be explained as a Viennese dialect sentence and thus is
derived from Viennese dialect. Anything goes, as I said, no
possibilities to determine whether one opinion is more likely than
another, hard contemporary social constructivism: there is no past, the
past is what we make of it.

No.  It isn't anything goes.  It is that we can't claim to know what does go
until we've looked at all possibilities.  You can't look at all words
similar in meaning to and logically derivable from an English word element
in ancient Germanic languages, and also in Celtic languages, and choose
between them, declaring those from the favoured languages to be cognates and
those from the to be not cognate,  and declaring what's worse,
the recognition and use of the denied cognates to be a defining feature of

There is certainly a past, but we have to admit that we haven't learnt to
read its records.
Be that as it may, there are no records, that I know of, of Viennese troops
or refugees in
Britain at the time, while we know that there were Bards and that they spoke
Celtic, as surely as we know that the world is a spheroid.  So this is not a
case of 'anything goes'.  I'm only suggesting that the Celtic woman
concerned spoke Celtic which is still intelligible (hence my unfortunate
quip that they were prattling away in Modern Irish, which it isn't fair of
you to taunt me with, since you know what I meant), and that she said what I
propose should be spelt Bardacha, combining two C-celtic word elements Bard-
and -acha, which are still meaningful in modern Irish, to give an example of
a modern C-Celtic language.

 Very postmodernist, I agree! In my opinion,
and in this case I have to agree that this is just an opinion, as this
is a purely philosophical argument without any possibility of deciding
which opinion is more viable, this is a completely un-scholarly

This simply restates your disbelief without prospering the debate.

> > As such, your opinion, as interesting as it may sound to some, is
> > nothing but an individual,
> No one, not even a specimen of the many supporters of a single opinion, is
> more than an individual.

Of course not, but a viable inter-subjective opinion is a systemic
opinion and thus not dependent on any given single individual holding
it. And, while an individual opinion can be upheld even though it
radically conflicts with reality even if subjected to rigorous testing
and failing (which is what we call a delusion, most commonly),

Delusion is simply another name for error, even when extreme, the word's
pathological connotations notwithstanding.

inter-subjective opinion cannot be upheld when radically conflicting
with reality. This means that individual opinion becomes non-viable at
the death of the mortal individual holding it,

No.  Many viable opinions and scholarly beliefs have gone to their graves
with their authors, to be resurrected later as central to their disciplines.
Mendel's theory of inheritence springs to mind, and there are more examples
in science, history and language studies as well.  The Rev. Skeet's
Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, which I have in facsimile
from OUP, which deals in his Indo-European root words, is an example of
scholarly opinion once much vaunted, now largely discredited.

while inter-subjective
opinion becomes non-viable if conflicting with reality when tested
against it.

> > non-intersubjective opinion
> I'm not sure what that means.

This means limited to you, not bound into a systemic, inter-subjective
opinion that is viable as an autopoietic system. A non-intersubjective
opinion is not able to transmit the informations it contains beyong the
single individual holding it, and thus becomes extinct at his/her death.
Every personal opinion not tied into a larger system of self-reproducing
opinion is non-intersubjective.

Thank you. You are teaching me a lot.

> > that has no validity as a
> > scholarly opinion (which needs to be intersubjective to fulfill the
> > criterium of being a valid opinion).
> If you mean others should think so too, exposure on on email list can't
> establish whether it is or isn't.

No, I mean that it should be tied to a common frame of reference. This
can be acchieved by referring it to primary and secondary sources that
allow to cross-relate them with other opinions (be those opinions
similar and in agreement to the one held by an individual, or be they in
opposition to it). This can, for instance, be done by using a commonly
accepted terminology (like P- and Q-Celtic intead of self-defined, only
self-referential terminology like C-Celtic), but also by finding other
ends that can be tied in with a commonly understood frame of reference.

But if you find fault with accepted dogma, it is certainly not helpful to
perpetuate it by falling in line with others who do, no matter how many of
there might be, and how few might side with you..

> > Therefore, Chris' and your opinion are not on the same level of
> > intersubjective quality: while Chris' is, even though many scholars
> > might disagree on minor aspects of his opinion, within the range of
> > general, intersubjectively acceptable and thus scholarly opinions, while
> > yours is nothing of that, but a delusion.
> Are you saying that 'fifty thousand Frenchmen can't be wrong?'

No, I am not. I am saying that speaking in a language that is not
understood by anyone but you is not likely to help you be understood by
anyone else.

Oh, I see your point.  I must try to make my admittedly unorthodox, but not
the less viable idiom, intelligible to a number of inter-communicating
scholars within the context of their existing idiom, and address the central
theses of extant scholarly ideology.  Sorry, I have been a little obtuse on
this issue.

As I repeatedly said, right or wrong can only be determined in
relationship to a common frame of reference (as right or wrong, if used
as absolute terms, can only be applied if there is something like
absolute truth, which is something which I don't think to be accessible
to limited minds, whether it exists or not).

I agree.

As such, all I can say as a
scholar is that your theory does not refer to the common frame of
scholarly reference, which is, in general, the available evidence, and
thus is, under the conditions of scholarly research, irrelevant and thus
has to be considered, if you insist on the idea that it is a scholarly
_opinion_ and not a (religious or otherwise arrived at) _belief_, to be
a delusion (which means insisted upon even though documentably wrong as
related to the scholarly frame of reference). This does not indicate
that that your _belief_ might not be much closer to an _absolute truth_
about what we are talking (which is something of which I, as a scholar,
can't speak, as truth is outside of the scope of scholarly discourse),
it only says that it is not within what can be considered _scholarly_

Well, I object to the definition of scholarly opinion, as I've said.  If one
studies in a scholarly way, then one's considered opinion will be scholarly,
whatever anyone else thinks of it.

In other words, 50.000 Frenchmen can be wrong with everything, but
50.000 Frenchmen are not wrong in calling you deluded if you claim you
speak French as they do, when as far as they can tell you don't speak
the language that they speak, but speak English. Now, there is a
possibility that, if there is an _absolute truth_, this absolute truth
is that English is French, and the French who speak a different language
which they, in error, call French, then, are all wrong as they don't
speak French but you do, but they nonetheless are right in saying that
you are deluded in claiming you speak the same language as they do, as
you don't understand them and they don't understand you.

This I understand. And if the absloute truth were suddenly revealed to us
all and it chanced to be that French is really English, then existing
scholarly opinion to the effect that French is French and not English would
be pure delusion.  If a child or five stated emphatically that French was
English, whether she succeeded in convincing others or not, she would be
right. But she would be up against a contrary (and in this instance) deluded
concensus of opinion.  Now no discipline claims to be error-free, and Celtic
examines all kinds of conflicting paradigms as far as I can see.  And
benefits from the debate, what's more.

> Scholarly intersubjectively acceptable opinion to the effect that
> the sun was at the centre of the universe was orthodoxy, with torture
> and cruel deaths as punishment for heresy at one time.
> Intersubjectivity can only ever be among scholars in agreement, so
> as a criterion for deciding the validity of an opinion, it is based
> on a tautology and is therefore of dubious value to scholarship.

Not at all. Intersubjectivity is based on a common frame of reference,
with is a necessary prerequisite for understanding each other.

Yes, I've understood this now.  I've presented my argument naively.  But I
still think my argument itself is not naive.

Only if
scholarship would be looking for truth, then this would be problematic,
but scholarship, as I have already explained, is not looking for truth,
but for explanations of the world as we are able to perceive it and talk
about it.

But of course it tries to dicover the truth. It sustains hypotheses that it
thinks might point towards the truth, in the colloquial sense of the term.
When it examines a text, it seeks to convince itself that it can discern
what it 'really' meant to those who wrote it.

And, as you might know had you dealt with the history of the
conflict about the heliocentric world-view, you would have realised that
it was not the question of whether the earth or the sun was at the
centre of the universe, but rather if truth could be found without the
word of god. The actual conflict between Galileo and the papal
authorities was whether mathematical proof of _the truth_ was possible,
not if the sun was at the centre of the universe. But by only looking at
popular representations of the conflict, where it is much easier to
transport that they differed about what was the centre of the universe,
this minor but nonetheless extremely important snippet of information
has gone unnoticed by you.

Yes, but I'm not claiming special insight into it, as I am into the
translation of Boudicca/Bardacha.

It has not, btw, in most of the academic
literature on the conflict about the heliocentric world-view.
Even more, the historical context in which academic word is progressing
nowadays has considerably changed since the times of a Galileo and the
conflict about the heliocentric world-view. Thus, understanding
orthodoxy and its repression of heterodoxy is a much more complex issue
than to simply do it away by argueing that scholarly opinion as
intersubjective opinion is necessarily repressive and orthodox.

I haven't done that.  I've only challenged it on a couple of points.

In fact,
academic heterodoxy is much more widespread than you would have us
believe by quoting a non-scholarly conflict (as it was a
scholarly/theological conflict) from 500 years ago. In fact, to give an
example, I do totally disagree with Simon James an almost anything, but
nontheless, we both are working within the same intersubjective
framework. There are several more scholars with which I utterly
disagree, but nonetheless, they are working within the same
intersubjective framework - which is that we all derive our theories
from the existing evidence, even though they are completely opposed
theories. Your theories, on the other hand, are outside of this
intersubjective framework, as you summarily dismiss _all evidence_ as
useless in analysing the past,

No I don't.  I just use it differently (but still logically) and I get
different results.

but on the contrary argue that an alleged
'common sense', which documently is at least not 'common' as I do not
share it, nor does, seemingly, anyone else on this list, nor do all
Celtic scholars that I, personally or by their writings, know of (which
is sufficent to demonstrate that your alleged 'common sense' it is not
at all common), should be used to make statements about the past, which
is as such nothing but an attempt to make people believe your
authoritative (i.e. non-referenced) statements, seemingly because you
have some miraculous way of accessing _the truth_ about the past that
all others do not have.

I maintain that it is common sense to expect that the names of prominent
Celts might have Celtic translations which would be more readily accessible
if their Roman alphabet spellings were analysed with a view to logically
ascertaining as far as possible the sounds the Romans were attempting to
represent, and applying the Celtic methods of literation to the result for
the purposes of comparing them with extant Celtic words.

In other words, while it is absolutely possible to completely and
fundamentally disagree within the same intersubjective framework,
requiring to accept the opposing possibilities as viable alternative
interpretations to my own, this is not possible within your
authoritative approach, which one can believe or not, but which cannot
be tested against an intersubjective framework, as your approach
summarily dismisses any framework against which anything could be

You are talking about something like peer review here, I think.

As such, accepting or disagreeing with your theory is not a
matter of reasoning, but a matter of belief, if one accepts your
framework. I can believe you that there was an unattested dialect of
Irish spoken in 1st century AD Britain, but I can't look for myself if
there was.

Yes, but Irish scholars could be consulted.  You don't have to take my word
for it.

Accepting your paradigma means accepting your interpretation,
which amounts to accepting a dogma, as your whole paradigm is based on
single-instance explanations, not on systemic relations.

No it isn't, but I haven't shown you my methodology yet.

Thus, you are
creating a new orthodoxy (orthodoxy is derived from dogma) with no
possibility for heterodoxy within your framework, as heterodox opinions
would amount to leaving your paradigma, and thus would be heresy.
Thus, while the intersubjective paradigm of scholarly discourse allows
for heterodoxy, yours doesn't and thus is an authoritative paradigm.

This is my objection to some of the criticism I've had on this list: that my
opinion is not orthodox and therefore automatically considered not 'valid'.
However you are giving it a fair trial, for which I'm grateful. A raw cub
like me could scarcely have expected it.  I am chastened by your disclaimer
that you don't support me, but encouraged by the kindly (if sometimes
exasparated) lectures you are giving me and your careful attention to my

> > As such, while there of course is nothing
> > like "one correct" spelling of any spoken term, the transscribed forms
> > are self-similar in appearance, and this self-similarity follows regular
> > patterns.
> I'm not understanding you.

This is evident, but this line should be suffivent to show that you a)
see the fact that I do not dispute the fact that there was nothing like
"one correct" spelling and that you b) haven't understood the
implications of Chaos theory. The central message of Chaos theory is
that it tells us about the development of self-similarity, as seen e.g.
in the famous Mandelbrot fractals. It is the concept of strange
attractors that tells us how self-similarity develops in dynamic
equilibrium in complex interactive open systems sensitive to intitial
conditions within phase space distributions.

The generation of self-similarity is a feature of chaotic systems, but there
are other processes involved, and there are various ways of using it in
studying such complex dynamical systems (if I can call them that) as
languages, cultures, historical aeva, etc all in their interactive relations
to all other systems within their contexts, including those which are beyond
out knowledge, such as the complete grammr and vocabulary list of Boadicea's
dialect of whichever ancient language she may have spoken.  When applied to
schools of scholarly thought, chaos theory explores all possible generators
of change (opinion) and the changes they generate (in scholarship) and the
implications of these changes, as they feed-back into and modify the
'original' generators of change.  Applied to language study, it acknowledges
the interdynamical aspects of language change.

In more simple terms, relating to our specific problem of
transliteration of terms, it tells us that a certain cluster of
spellings can only be derived from a certain, different cluster of
divergent pronouncations, as transliteration follows a Latin
"transliteration attractor" that results in similar clusters being
transliterated in non-identical but self-similar, non-arbitrary ways.

But when ambiguity exists, as when no direct transliteration exists for a
sound the alphabet concerned can't represent accurately, Romans had no
choice but to depart from this rule.  And they did it ideosyncratically.

other words, all foreign language-terms transliterated with an ending of
-icca or -icea in Latin should go back to similarly pronounced terms in
the languages transscribed.

No.  In Latin there was no sound resembling the Celtic ch. So their alphabet
couldn't literate it accurately.

> We have one spelling from the Roman Tacitus, and those who copied
> him. We know when that spelling dates from.

Both date from the 14th century AD, which is when the Tacitus texts were
discovered in Monte Cassino after having been thought of as lost for at
least 10 centuries. We only have copied spellings, not the one of
Tacitus himself. As such, the two spellings known might both be copying

> We can scarcely imagine that the few texts that survive from the
> period of the Roman occupation and the following centuries are the
> only ones written,

You can scarcely imagine that. Many people can. This mainly depends on
the amount of literacy we want to ascribe to pre-Roman populations in
Britain, Roman Britain and post-Roman Britain.

> and in the multitudes of destroyed or unpreserved material, we can't
> know how many spellings arose in Britain itself, or when they dated
> from.

But we can't argue with something we don't know. The argument that "we
don't know how may different spellings existed" cannot be reversed to
justify that every spelling is possible!

But it is true and it is relevant.  If you drop a lobster net into the water
and pull up two lobsters, you don't imagine that there are only two lobsters
in the dam. But this doesn't make you lose all sense of ecology.

What you are implying here is
that we should ignore the available evidence, as we don't know how much
evidence has been lost,

No.  Not that we should ignore the evidence we have, but that we should bear
in mind that we haven't got much, haven't even begun to recognise the
resources, let alone mine them, and be tentative and open-minded about
what we infer from what we have.

and go on to argue that the lost evidence may
have included something which goes along with your theory, and continue
to argue that, therefore, your explanation is more likely than those
that are based on the existing evidence. In other words, you are asking
us to buy into an ex silentio argument that is not able to explain the
existing evidence, because the existing evidence _might_ potentially be
wrong, without showing that the existing evidence is _actually_ wrong!

No.  I'm looking at the evidence before me and drawing inferences.  So have
others before me looked at the evidence they saw and drawn inferences.  We
differ in our conclusions.  I assume that Boudicca was a Celtic woman, and
so do others.  I assume that she spoke a Celtic language, and so do others.
I assume that her name will have a Celtic translation, and so do others.  I
assume that the Celtic she spoke will have similarities with extant Celtic
languages, at least as much as say, Latin has with modern Italian.  I don't
know what others think of this.  I assume that since her name can be
translated into something which it is very likely to have meant in a
which is likely to be a descendant of the one she spoke, then that
translation is at least as scholarly a one as any other, and as worthy of
scholarly attention.

> Anyway, is the earliest spelling always
> given as the correct spelling?  All you can say is that two different
> spellings are known and make no judgement between them.

No, what the current theories about the name Boudica say is that her
name most probably meant "victorious", because this fits with regular
patterns of change observable in Latin transcriptions of native British
names, because the application of observable changes that lead from
ancient British to modern Welsh would lead to a term meaning
victorious, and that also the observable patterns of regular change
show that it's Irish cognate should be the term buadach, also attested
as a name in Irish, meaning "victorious".

It is also a possibility.  Also, not instead.  That's how I'm regarding it,

As such, the current theory
explains the existing evidence, is able to show derived terms of this
name in the language most likely being a direct descendant of the
language in which the original term was used, and is able to show a
cognate term in an indirectly related language where there even is an
attested case of this term used as a name element.
Your theory, in contrast, requires us to assume that the name is the
result of an individual complete misunderstanding of an unattested
phrase in a language that was most likely not spoken then, requires a
preassumption that the ancient British did not tell their names in
public and requires us to discard the existing evidence as being
ultimately meaningless. In fact, you have to construct, out of thin air,
every single element in your theory: the Roman who wrote that term down
did not have the slightest understanding of the language they spoke and
heard the term on a single occasion, had no reason and no possibility to
further inquire about that and thus never found out that it was not in
fact her name, but a term referring to her people, and in general had no
idea about customs and practices of the ancient British; they themselves
spoke a language identical to modern Irish in the meaning of the terms,
but pronounced in a different way to allow the Roman to transliterate
the term at all, and this pronouncation was not recorded in any other
instance by anywhom, anywhere, in any way, as it already had vanished at
the next contact between Romans and British. As such, your theory
operates in thin air, outside any attested evidence, with pure
speculation, implying that because one cannot directly disprove your
theory, it is more likely than a theory that can be backed up by massive
amounts of evidence. This hardly can be thought of as scholarly.

For more see part II

Which I will reply to in brief tomorrow.

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
Vyvyan  /|\

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