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CELTIC-L  February 2008

CELTIC-L February 2008

Subject:

Re: Thinking Celtic (was Re: Old list memories)

From:

Kevin Tolley <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Wed, 6 Feb 2008 22:14:21 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (249 lines)

Good morning John,

This is fascinating!  I have often wondered this same
thing, though not in such specific terms.  Here is my
thought, in brief though as I haven't had time to
think it out well...no dogs to walk.

Could your Celtic A and B be related to the concept of
Atlantic fringe one reads so much about now?  The
cultural expression of the Celtic A peoples would be
found in the indigenous monolith builders that hold
trade from Iberia to Ireland.  And the Celtic B would
be an elite that spread through the continent in
response to Greek money which, in a previous post, you
suggest started in Northern Italy.

Celtic A would then exist throughout the British Isles
and the continent and be overlain with a Celtic B
elite who find their cultural expression in in the
Eastern La Tene area of the Mosel and Marne.  The two
groups become like layers that have different though
inextricably intertwined, political, cultural, and
religious goals.  The situation might be likened to
England after the Norman invasion, two separate
classes sharing space and thus interacting but mostly
keeping to themselves.  

As an idle thought, I even wonder, if this isn't the
case with the Celtic languages.  Couldn't a certain
dialect or strain of Celtic been the province of the
continental elite?  Code switching and the spread of a
value-high language is a common enough occurrence.

Have a good day,
Kevin


--- John Hooker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hi Fióna,
> 
> I thought I was going rather too slow in this
> discussion! The topics you
> have presented here are representative of the most
> knotty problems in the
> study of ancient Celtic culture. That time,
> everywhere, has huge problems
> still to be worked out but in Ireland the problems
> are magnified way
> beyond the minutiae of stylistic differences between
> Champagne and the
> Rhineland. Ireland is very much a Special Case. I
> think we can all be
> forgiven (at least I hope so) for dealing with this
> somewhat slowly and at
> great length.
> 
> My main thing, perhaps the very meaning of my
> existence, is
> Classification. I reclassified Coriosolite coins
> inventing my own methods
> to do so and I built an expert system as an aid to
> their identification. I
> read Michel Foucault's _The Order of Things_ for
> pure enjoyment. I am thus
> a very strange person! Depending on my mood, I
> sometimes think this
> interest of mine is a great quality or is a rare
> form of an
> obsessive/compulsive disorder. Fortunately, I do not
> sort the clothes in
> my closet by colours or arrange my food cans in the
> cupboards with the
> labels neatly facing forwards. I wash my hands once
> and step on cracks in
> the pavement with wild abandon.
> 
> I was thinking about how this discussion has been
> going as I took the dogs
> for their evening walk when it suddenly struck me
> that it is a
> classification problem. I should have thought of
> this years ago when I was
> engaged in a rather lengthy and embittered argument
> with Simon James about
> his (I think) flawed ideas about the Celts. I am the
> Canadian he mentions
> on his web site who accused him of genocide.
> Actually Vincent Megaw beat
> me to it but James prefers not to mention that --
> perhaps that mention
> might prompt some serious questions in some circles!
> 
> The very first thing you have to when building a
> proper expert system, is
> to divide your data into two aiming for a close to
> 50/50 split if at all
> possible: all of the first group has this and all of
> the second group has
> that. If you cannot do this, you (reluctantly)
> divide the data into three.
> By a proper expert system, I mean the type that is
> absolute YES/NO in its
> structure, not the type that is despised by purists
> and uses "fuzzy logic"
> where the answers are variable and weighted. Such
> systems belong more to
> artificial intelligence. Expert systems have been
> removed from the subject
> of artificial intelligence, where they used to
> reside, because they work
> and artificial intelligence doesn't work.
> 
> The whole problem started when some people thought
> the term "Celt" was too
> confusing (at least that's what they claimed) and
> started to replace
> "ancient Celtic" with "Iron Age". This was not a
> good solution, because it
> then forced evryone into imagining that the Celtic
> languages would be more
> recent than they could possibly be, and then you
> would have to include the
> Greeks, because they, too were an Iron Age people.
> The solution caused
> more problems than it supposedly tried to resolve.
> Simon James said that
> the word Celt was not used in books in britain prior
> to the seventeenth
> century and thus "Celt" was a modern term and the
> Britons were not Celts.
> From a classificatory point of view, there's a bit
> of a flaw in that
> argument. First, the numbers of books that have been
> printed pre and post
> mid-seventeenth century in Britain are not quite a
> 50/50 grouping! Second,
> what is it about pre mid-seventeenth century writing
> that suggests that it
> shows the truth while post mid-seventeenth century
> writing does not? Mind
> you, a certain sector of the population would make
> the claim that the King
> James Bible is absolutely and literally true -- and
> that God therefore
> must have spoke English and, furthermore, later
> opinions, such as Darwin
> were just the delusions of people who had parted
> from the Truth.
> 
> There have been attempts, even quite recently, to
> say that the Britons
> spoke some languge related to German and did not
> speak Celtic at all. That
> all the British coin legends are in Celtic is a fact
> they must have,
> somehow, missed. Perhaps I should have promoted the
> Celtic Coin Index more
> thoroughly. James said that British "Iron Age"
> houses were circular and
> continental "Iron Age" houses were rectangular. So
> he defined the Celts by
> the shape of their houses. He perhaps should have
> not only realized that
> there were exceptions, but also realized that round
> and rectangular houses
> go back much further than the "Iron Age". Can you
> imagine some ancient
> Celt having the thought "My God we have entered the
> Iron Age, I suppose we
> will have to change the shape of our houses!"
> 
> He also pointed to differences in agriculture and
> mentioned that most
> people though that the trunpet shaped belt mounts
> that started early but
> caught on and continued well into the second century
> A.D. looked Celtic to
> people and yet were found as far as Asia Minor. I
> still do not know what
> he was trying to prove by this. There seems to have
> been a workshop in
> Switzerland that made a lot of the things and sold
> them to vast numbers of
> Roman soldiers who lost them all over the place. But
> of course, this must
> mean that Celtic art does not exist, either!
> 
> Followers of the No Celts Cult started to put
> quotation marks around the
> word. It all started to get rather silly.
> 
> It was strange that a number of people started to
> say "there was no
> unified Celtic culture". If you substitute the name
> of any other culture
> for the name Celtic you can make the same claims and
> use very similar
> arguments. I wondered why Celtic had been singled
> out. When you start to
> deny a person's believed culture and lessen them so,
> then you have
> committed what the U.N. defines as "genocide".
> Happily, though, neither
> Britain nor the U.S. has ratified that convention so
> its O.K. to do that.
> 
> In order to make things a bit more workable, the
> term "La Tene" started to
> be used to denote ancient Celtic culture, although
> the term was originally
> intended as a broadly-defined artistic style. Those
> who commonly used the
> term, had no argument with Celtic languages that
> went back much further
> than the La Tene styles, but the term "Iron Age"
> still lives on -- we are
> just supposed to know what we really mean -- that is
> "Celtic" and not
> "Greek" or "African" or whatever other Iron Ages.
> 
> It struck me, as I walked the dogs, that we really
> need Celtic A and
> Celtic B. Celtic A could include genetic factors and
> elements of
> discussion that go back further than the La Tene
> period, while Celtic B
> could be the La Tene culture which can co-exist (but
> does not have to)
> with Celtic A. In other words, you can have a Celtic
> culture that can have
> a lot, a little, or even no aspects of La Tene, and
> these two cultures can
> co-exist in the same place and at the same time.
> 
> There is no need for an ancient person decked out in
> a torc and carrying
> an iron sword in a La Tene decorated scabbard to
> have to also use pottery,
> drive a chariot, have any particular style of
> accomodation 
=== message truncated ===



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