> Just to follow up with Ray's response below, as a medievalist, I have
> there at any given time raises all sorts of difficulties. Should
> we then lump all of them together into one grouping, labelled as
> "Celtic Fringe"? I hope not.
Yes and no. It depends - in my opinion - mainly on what we want to do.
As far as I can see, those - in many regards definitly different -
societies shared a number of characteristic similarities as well, which
allows to group them together them in some regards, while they can't be
grouped together in others. As such, if one wants to work in a
compatative framework, grouping them together within the same group may
very well be valid, or it might not, depending on what one tries to
> Likewise with "tribal". Depending on how one takes this term, most
> medieval societies/polities could be described as such.
As could be - provided that we take a non-evolutionary definition that
is sufficently fuzzy to allow us to include early Celtic societies under
the heading "tribal" - all societies we know from classical Antiquity,
even the Roman Empire.
> Therefore, why should
> Celtic=tribal, when it might be just as legitimate to argue that
> Anglo-Saxon=tribal, Scandinavian=tribal, Frankish=tribal, etc.
> Even the Normans were "tribal" to some extent. It has fallen
> out of use because it is sloppy and generalized when applied to
> any polity at any time. For the same reasons, though, I might
> take issue with what Ray means by "state"...
Well, that's not necessarily what I mean by "state" - rather, I gave the
currently most commonly agreed upon definition in anthropology for the
evolutionary stage of policies, that would fit best with what we know of
ealy Celtic societies up to the middle ages. I personally am not
especially happy with such classifications alltogether, as I think that
such classifications tell us little next to nothing about how societies
classified within a certain classificatory group actually functioned.
But - if we want to use a "general" classification, then state is much
more fitting to any known Celtic society than any other such
classificatory group, with the possible exception of complex chiefdom.
All the best,