Dennis King <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> Thanks, Lenore and David, for the valuable reporting!
> Any further?
I think it's up to Neil McLeod and Marion Gunn, both of whom I also saw
there, to add anything they feel might be of interest to us as a group.
I could perhaps just mention that of all the papers I attended, our own N.
McL's bore the bell away for public speaking: an excitingly intriguing
message, delivered at the easy pace of someone long accustomed to lecturing,
and with such droll humour as to keep everyone thoroughly entertained and
eager to hear more. No danger of falling asleep there. (I regret to add
that he had very little competition among the papers that I heard: all too
many of them were mumbled into the podium or droned through like Hail Marys
on the rosary.) Having gone this far I suppose I shall have to give a
precis, with due apologies to the author if I mangle the message. Briefly,
I understood it to say that the Invasion story of the Leabhor Gabhala Eirinn
is basically a tract on sovereignty and that many essential features of it
can be shown to illustrate Irish laws on sovereignty and land acquisition.
Elsewhere in the conference I heard Geoffrey of Monmouth's and Geoffrey of
Wales' works being similarly interpreted as works upholding the right of
conquest to a given land; they, too, were shown to have their legalistic
underpinnings, but in none of them did that go anything like as far as was
demonstrated for the Leabhor Gabhala.
Thanks, David, for your valuable additions to my comments. I didn't attend
the 'Pruners and Trainers' paper, unfortunately. Collis' abstract states
that our idea of a 'Celtic language group' may hinder more than help our
understanding of Iberian archaeology, but I'm afraid my notes, such as they
are, don't reflect any deeper development of this theme. He did say in
regard to language/ethnicity that there were peoples who spoke Celtic
languages whom the Romans considered Germanni or other things, but
unfortunately Collis didn't choose to give any specific examples. My own
feeling is that the whole debate about ethnicity is very much a product of
our 20/21 century obsessions, but since I am not at present a member of any
university, (nor at my age likely to become one any more) I can afford to be
unfashionable. As for Collis, he is an archaeologist who loves to be
provocative and shake apart theories, which is a very valuable function in
academic debate. Lord knows, we'd be in a sad way if there wasn't somebody
around to jump up and say 'but ---!'.
I had best go off and get breakfast and then I shall sit down and address
myself to catching up on our poem.
My best to all,