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CELTIC-L  February 2003

CELTIC-L February 2003

Subject:

Re: 'teuta' vel 'touta'

From:

Raimund Karl <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Thu, 13 Feb 2003 17:09:36 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (119 lines)

Hi Croman,

Croman mac Nessa schrieb:

>Sgrěobh [log in to unmask]:
>
><< > Gaulish "toutâ," like Old Irish "túath," means "tribe." 
> 
> Well, I strongly disagree. Gaulish toutâ, like Irish túath and it's
> <snipped my own stuff>
> "village, settlement community", English thorpe etc. >>
>
>Hallo, Ray.
>
>It cannot be translated as "tribe"?  From _Dictionnaire de la langue 
>gauloise_, by Xavier Delamarre, p. 249:
>
>"teuta, touta, 'tribu, peuple'
><snipped the Delamarre quote>
>I am given to understand that Xavier Delamarre is an authority on Gaulish, 
>and he seems to believe it *can* be translated as "tribe."
>  
>

Well, yes, yet I do disagree. If you want to, we can also continue this 
discussion over on con-celtic, if you want to, where Xavier is on the 
list and could comment.
Anyway, for the comfort of those who have been following this discussion 
here, or should you not want to take the discussion over to con-celtic, 
I will again say that you are giving a dictionary entry, at which 
Xavier, in this specific case, most likely has arrived by looking up the 
secondary literatury, i.e. older dictionaries and various linguistic 
analyses, which tend to give "tribe" for *toutâ since the earliest 
examples and have not stopped with this practice as of today. However, 
one needs to keep in mind how - under which social and academic 
paradigms - this translation was arrived at (Holder 1904, btw. 
interestingly gave not "tribe" = germ. "Stamm" for his entry teuta, but 
germ. "Gemeinde, Volk, Staat" = "community, people, state"). Under a 
modern academic paradigm, with the term "tribe" having, since the 
earliest translations of toutâ etc., been defined and redefined in 
sociology several times, and equally in common perception (tribes 
nowadays are even in common perception understood as something quite 
different from what they were understood as in the late 19th and early 
20th century), in my opinion, the translation "tribe" for toutâ is no 
longer appropriate, and thus should not - and can not - be used as a 
valid translation any more - regardless of what Xavier writes in his 
dictionary. He is not wrong in giving tribu as a translation - as this 
is a commonly accepted translation of toutâ - nonetheless I think it is 
misleading, and is, in the case of this specific discussion, misleading 
you to the assumption that "Celts" were tribal, in difference to the 
early medieval feudal societies (even though one of these early feudal 
germanic societies called itself diutisc->deutsch, and as such called 
itself by a cognate of the very term that you would see as evidence - in 
its translation - that Celtic societies were tribal in nature - where, 
BTW, you still have not defined what you understand with tribal, and the 
situation won't improove in this discussion as long as you don't define it.
Anyway, what you are doing is mixing a linguistic translation, i.e. 
toutâ->tribu, with a sociological interpretation, i.e. "tribal society", 
where Xavier, most likely, did never intend to give a sociological 
interpretation when using the term tribu as a possible translation for 
toutâ, but just wanted to give one of the usual translations as found in 
the linguistic literature. So, to state this as clearly as possible, 
tribal is not the same as tribal, if the one is understood as a 
translation of a term and the other as a sociologically defined 
description of the makeup of a society.

>As for Gaulish "treb-" (whence the reconstructed "*trebâ"), Delamarre has 
>"habitation."
>  
>

Yes, I know, I have looked up Delamarre's entries on the terms I use. 
Nonetheless, I would argue that the term that could most closely match 
the sociological meaning of the term tribe, which is what we still are 
discussing, is the term gaul. treb- (where you have correctly 
interpreted the reconstruction of celt. *trebâ as derived from) - or 
perhaps contreb(i)a - not the term gaul. teuta or touta. Now, I could 
endlessly explain why this is the case that I think this would be more 
appropriate, and perhaps, at some point, I will, but now I don't have 
the time for anything more than to say that there is little reason to 
assume that on the level of the toutâ a social structure existed that 
can be in any way compared to what sociology nowadays considers, most 
commonly, as a tribe, while this could, to some extent, be argued on the 
level of the trebâ (even though I personally would not at all see 
anything that really fits with what sociology sees as tribes in any 
Celtic societies, but if you want something, the trebâ as a settlement 
community comes closest to it).
Anyway, I, for one, use trebâ for the settlement unit (i.e. the single 
farmstead)  in my analysis of Celtic Social Structures, which is 
hopefully soon to be published, because I think of it much more as a 
single settlement unit than as anything else. But that's something 
completely different yet again.

Be it as it may, the point is, if you want to see Celtic societies as 
tribal, then <emphasis> please </emphasis> finally explain what you 
understand as "tribal" in the first place, as I have frequently asked 
you to do so, and to explain <emphasis> why </emphasis> that "tribal" 
nature of Celtic societies allows us to differentiate them from, e.g., 
early medieval feudal societies. If you can't come up with some sort of 
definition for the term tribal, this discussion becomes pointless.

All the best,

RAY

-- 
________________________________________________________________________

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: 
Lecturer in Heritage and Archaeology
Department of History and Welsh History, University of Wales Bangor
Ogwen Building, Siliwen Road, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2DG
ffôn: (+44 781) 6464861
________________________________________________________________________

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