historical caution's there because the possibility of people being
'invented' (or the major exageration of individual exploits) to serve
certain ends is not unknown, and it's especially a feature of this time
(e.g. we may be seeing this with the character arthur). My point wasn't
whether Niall (etc.) existed, but whether it was valid to engender proof by
using scientific techniques to 'demonstrate' descent from someone we don't
/know/ existed. It'd be morally fine if, all the way through the process,
there's a (readily visible) caution by those taking the cash to these ends
that the dna can't 'prove' such descent, or that it can only demonstrate
descent from someone who was in a position to 'put it about a bit'. may be
this is the case?
>Someone in that era was
very prolific, and bedded many females, and he left many sons to
pass on his seed. In Gaelic society at that time a person who had
the permission of society to do that was a Chieftain of some
considerable rank and authority.
if people only bedded those for whom they had permission...
(can't _assume_ that, if there was an individual who fathered many, this was
necessarily a chieftan - other possibilities)
>Funny how that criteria never applied to Socrates, Plato, or
>Aristotle. So I don't think they existed either.
there's actual historical (i.e. verifiable) evidence for these chaps, i'm
3 people whose life span overlapped socrates - so there's eyewitness
accounts for his existence
aristotle - tutor to philip of macedon (there's pretty certain evidence that
his grave's been found, I think) or his son alex - (we have numismatic proof
etc. for their existince - subject to the acceptance of thousands). plus
lots of other accounts, apparently
cf eye-witness accounts for plato (both by people who agree & disagree, so
vested interest can be ruled out in some cases)
as my partner's a philosopher, i'd be happy if they didn't exist, though ;-)
I just urge caution - the sources in which niall appears were composed well
after his purported death. he is found in mythology (can't really claim that
myth is history!) and genealogies - which were more often than not composed
of inventions (as demonstrated by internal inconsistencies - by lots of
competing houses claiming the same descent!) to supported political claims
to land, often for new settlements of regions. he makes an appearance in the
irish annals - can't genereally be seen as accuarate when discussing events
before their composition (myth was used to 'inform' entries), which I think
was after the mid 6th? he also appears in the (medieval) Lebor Gabála Érenn,
which recounts the mythical origins of the irish (so, even if it weren't so
late, it would be a dubious source). and in Seathrún Céitinn - a 17th
century text. May be he did exist (i'd like him to have done so). But this
is slim 'evidence' on which to base claims that dna can 'prove' descent from
this hero. It takes one person around the fire in the 5th century to create
a myth (to take the least cynical approach), and a hero is born.
rather different to the sort of histroical _evidence_ we get for socrates et al.
anyway, the info i read in a message the other day re. early irish dna was
food for thought, and as i said then, maybe there's something in it...
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